We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Leyesa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
The idea for Foodologie Baked Goods was actually an “accident”. During the height of the pandemic last year, around March 2020, I decided to finally learn how to bake; something that had been on my to do list for quite some time. I have always had a passion and deep interest for all things food, but due to my always busy lifestyle, I never really found myself with the opportunity to learn. Well, that was up until I found myself with more free time than usual due to the “stay at home” order.
My initial goal was to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe out there. After many, many failed attempts I finally got the hang of it. Everyday after work I would go into the kitchen and pull up a new recipe to follow; think I tried a total of 10 or so different recipes. With lots of practice, I began to get the hang of it and was able to understand the purpose of particular ingredients and the reason for certain techniques. Once i felt confident with cookies, I began experimenting with cakes, brownies, tarts, and even pasta.
Fast forward to a couple months into learning how to bake, friends and family became interested in my creations and inquired about purchasing. I initially kindly declined as I was more than happy to share my creations for free, however before I knew it, more and more people continued to ask for more.
On my 29th birthday I finally agreed to make my first sale with a friend who lived nearby; I will never forget the moment we exchanged my baked goods for her cash. That very first first transaction was my realization that this could be something. So, I would have to say that my idea for my business began there in that very moment. Although, I initially never had the intention to sell, the demand only kept growing and continues to do so today. Here we are a little over a year later and I am still shocked and amazed by the support and loyalty of my customers and all the hard work i’ve done.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I want to first say this is the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever felt, but on the flip side this has also been the most tired, stressed, and challenging experience I have ever gone through. So, no this has been far from easy, however I have never been so excited and fired up about anything!
I am most proud of all the work I have put into Foodologie and the continued support and love I get in return. At this point, the possibilities seem endless. I recently released my ice cream menu and it has been such an incredible hit. I even had a small release of Foodologie Merch and that also sold out too! I truly have the best customers!
Lessons i’ve learned along the way (the hard way): rest is most important, don’t sweat the little things, and the only way out is through!
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.
Long Beach is new to me as i just moved here a few months ago, but i am loving the vibes already. Matiki BBQ has the best takeout hawaiian food I have ever had outside of Hawaii! Rose Park Roasters has incredible coffee, tea, and baked goods. 39 degrees sushi is hands down top 5 sushi restaurants i’ve ever been to and for sure the best in Long Beach. Also, if it happens to be that special Sunday out of the month and the Long Beach Antique Market happens to be going on, it’s an absolute must!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out my dear friend Sarah. She’s not only a colleague as she is also a fellow occupational therapist, but she helped me get organized and cheered me on from the very beginning. I will forever be grateful for her friendship and support.
I would also like to shout out my mom who was the original taste tester of all the things. She is the inspiration behind my best seller, the ube brownies.
Also, shout out to my husband Tony, who has helped me through late nights with packaging up all the baked goods, washing the dishes, and encouraging me during some tough times.
Lastly, all my friends, family, and loyal customers who support all my endeavors with foodologie. They’re truly the reason why foodologie even exists. THANK YOU.