We had the good fortune of connecting with Jocelyn C Chambers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jocelyn C, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I always have multiple ideas buzzing in my head at any given time, and I am therefore always pursuing multiple forms of creativity. I have hundreds of notes with flavor concepts, cake designs, music melodies, apparel ideas, and even a list of places I want to own real estate. Not creating isn’t an option that I have in my DNA, so the way I see it, I had no choice to pursue a creative career. One of the things I love most about being an entrepreneur is that I’m not limited in my creativity, which is why I bake on top of writing music for film and ads. I get to express my multifacetedness in the way that best serves me when I work for myself. Creativity is who I am.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I describe myself as a Composer-Creative because I pursue multiple creative endeavors. I primarily write music for film and ads and I run a home bakery called Sweets by Jocelyn. I’ve also written and published a book about adolescent experiences titled The Era of Mixed Feelings, and I host a podcast called The I Am Loved Podcast that dives into healing and recovery after breakups.
My journey as a composer began when I was 13. I had been playing piano since age 7 and was very interested in film. Even as a child, I resonated so strongly with film music that I found myself crying in the movies! Once I learned about film scoring, it was clear that was the career I wanted to pursue. Everything I have done since that choice has been in pursuit of film scoring. I studied music composition in college, and later moved to LA from Austin, TX to earn my graduate certificate in film scoring and launch my industry career. I’m happy to say that in almost 3 years of living in LA, I have become a full-time composer and I score narrative long-form films and television ads.
My journey as a baker began much sooner. At age 4, my mom taught me how to make the Southern classic Lemon 7up Pound Cake. At 9, I founded Sweets by Jocelyn with the intention of donating my profits to my parents’ church. I ended up selling my pound cake to my community for many years and even had a standing weekly popup at a local art gallery.
Once I decided to pursue film scoring, I placed Sweets by Joceyn on the backburner. Instead of baking weekly, I decided to only fulfill orders by request. Though I deeply enjoyed baking, I believed that experience was unique to my childhood. I didn’t expect myself to revisit it as an adult. I’m so glad my expectation was not my reality.
In the summer of 2020, when Covid was running rampant across the US, baking returned to my life in a big way. I baked a Bourbon Cherry Pie for my friend’s birthday. Mind you, I hadn’t baked pie before, but it seemed easy enough! My aunt (one of my in-house taste-testers) posted my pie on social media, and within 1 day I had almost 20 pie orders to fulfill for July 4th. The overwhelming success of the Bourbon Cherry Pie convinced me to relaunch Sweets by Jocelyn on the west coast. I branched out, experimenting with my love of unique flavor combos, creating recipes like Lemon Rosemary Cupcakes and Peach Thyme Cobbler Pie. I now have a Pie of The Month Club that provides subscribers with a new pie every month. I serve people of multiple dietary preferences, including those who are gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, and soy-free. Sweets by Jocelyn’s mission is to treat food as a love language. We can honor generational traditions and create new ones, all through the power of cakes and pies. My growing community of loyal customers are just as excited about my desserts as I am. Now that I’m running Sweets by Jocelyn again, I cannot see my life without it.
One of the most challenging (and rewarding) aspects of entrepreneurship is learning how to run a business. Sweets by Jocelyn is a one-woman home bakery. Every element of baking, marketing, and selling is fulfilled by me. When I relaunched, I ended up losing money because I had no idea how to streamline orders or track my business expenses. I needed to price my products in a way that would honor my time and support my bakery. I needed to build a website and market myself so people knew who I was. I needed to create a separate business account so I could remain organized. And, of course, I had to sharpen my skills as a baker. Through the power of Google, YouTube, and the insight of fellow bakers, I learned the basics of running a business.
The strategy I used to build Sweets by Jocelyn is the same strategy I used to build my film scoring business. I had to create a website, submit my work to multiple directories so prospective clients could know who I was, and open a business account to maintain order. Writing music and baking are very similar as they’re deeply creative processes that require my whole heart. I put my everything into the things I create.
The most challenging thing I deal with as a Composer-Creative is comparison. It’s very easy to be intimidated by composers or bakers who are near my level of expertise and creating similar things to me. When I look at people’s work and I see their strong following, I sometimes get discouraged. I wonder if my work is worthy enough to garner the same amount of recognition, and I wonder if I’ll ever get there. To combat my feelings of unworthiness, I tell myself 3 things. 1. What is for me is for me. 2. There is room at the top for everyone. Another person’s success does not negate my own. When others succeed, we celebrate with them. 3. I don’t know where another person is in their journey. I may be seeing their finish line without knowing what the race was like. Perspective defeats comparison every time.
The main insight I would share is to be confident in your niche. There are so many shiny, fresh, and exciting trends around us. It’s so easy to get off track in order to stay relevant. If “trendy” is your niche, good! Stand proudly in that world. I know my niche is creating eye-catching, heart-swelling, mouth-watering flavor combinations that push the boundaries of traditional baking while honoring the traditions that came before me. What is for me is for me, and what is for you is for you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friends Amani and Aisha were visiting LA, this is where we would go:
– Lettuce Feast
– Happy Ice
– Gokoku Ramen
– Monty’s Good Burger
– Stout Burgers & Beers
– Forman’s Tavern
– 25 Degrees
– Yifang Taiwan Fruit Tea
– India’s Oven
– LBK Pizza
– Angel’s Tijuana Tacos
– Las Perlas Tacos and Mezcal Bar
– Sweetsalt Cafe
– IXLB Dim Sum
– Mashti Malone’s
– Bludso’s BBQ
– Jesse Boy
– Night + Market
– The Henry
– A Little Salty Pie Co
– Baked by La Mala Sol
– Point Dume in Malibu
– LA’s many drive-in theaters
– Rodeo Drive
– Grand Central Market
– Hollywood Bowl
– Hollywood Forever Cemetery movie nights
– Manhattan Beach
– Soulful of Noise
– Chocolate Sundaes at The Laugh Factory
– Malibu Wine Hikes
– Moonlight Roller Rink
– Jetski to Catalina Island
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my parents Robert and Jeri, my Uncle Q and Aunt Mary, and my day ones Amani and Aisha.
Instagram: @sweetsbyjocelynLA @browneyedjo