We had the good fortune of connecting with Marisa Zaremba and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Marisa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I think that uncertainty was a big factor in starting my own business. When the world was put on hold in March 2020, I found myself bunkered up in a trailer away from my family in the middle of the California desert. Little did I know during this strange time the concept of my small business would begin to blossom. My fear and creativity would be channeled into baking. All of my interests, values and talents were like ingredients and for the first time I started combining them together in the same bowl, creating Minns Baked Goods. In the preceding months of the first Covid-19 lockdown I was in overdrive mode, curating my own art show to culminate the past two years of art classes I was taking at a local community college. I had decided I didn’t want to pursue my degree in elementary teaching and the part time food service jobs were getting old.

Instead of being at the opening night of my very own art show, I was instead using rationed trailer ingredients to bake vegan peanut butter cookies out of a toaster oven for my now ex boyfriend. Not exactly what I had envisioned.
At this point not only was my life path uncertain but the state of the world added a whole new layer. I love this quote by Hedi Wills, “We can choose to be affected by the world or we can choose to affect the world,” and this energy is what motivated me forward. My thought process was that I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless and using my talents I could bake and sell vegan cookies. I truly believe you can choose both compassion and mouth-watering goodness, and I felt called to give others in my community a choice as well.

After a month of living in the trailer I went home to Simi Valley, CA and having access to more amenities allowed me to really start experimenting and connecting with my community even in such uncertain times.

Recently my mom came up to me with a big smile and said, “Hey Minn, when you were about 5 years old you told me when you grow up you want to be a cooker and a baker,” and my heart felt full knowing that I had finally found my calling.

What should our readers know about your business?
I operate as a permitted home-based Cottage Food business. I bake and sell vegan cookies and donut holes. I believe that selling made to order vegan baked goods sets me apart from others especially in my town because there are not many plant based options. I am very excited about my goal to one day be the first vegan establishment in Simi Valley, CA. Recently I started selling my cookies in local cafes/restaurants and  an animal sanctuary, which I am very proud of. I started off baking for friends and family then began researching how I could sell to others. I went through the process of getting a Class A cottage food permit in California and started doing contactless pick up/delivery through Instagram. I then got a spot at the Simi Valley Farmers market and have been a vendor there for a year and a half now. The Market has really allowed me to build a web of connections and I enjoy meeting people in person and having a “storefront” for pick up. This past summer I went through the process to obtain a Class B permit and now sell to local establishments as well. I am looking forward to being a part of the upcoming Simi Valley Street fair, baking for a wedding, and doing holiday boutiques. I believe I am where I am today because of determination and consistency. There have been many small moments I could have said, “Screw this,” especially since no one is above me creating my clock in schedule. This business is not only my creative outlet but the essence of who I am, and I hold a lot of pride in all that goes into creating a delicious product. I have learned that if you are doing what you love, everything will flow and happen when it is supposed to. I have also learned that finding time to eat is the most challenging part of running a business, lol. I would like the world to know that when I started I had no idea how to run a business and even now I am still always learning as I go. If you have a dream or idea go for it, I believe in you. It may seem scary or overwhelming but if you have passion and determination you can overcome any challenges that come your way and it’s such an exciting and fulfilling journey along the way.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think one of the coolest things about where I live is the location and its proximity to a diverse variety of locations. Simi Valley itself is a very quiet, family oriented community nestled in the hills of southern California. We will be staying in the suburbs for your stay to relax and recharge at night but get ready for a week of adventure and driving, lol. Hopefully you packed your hiking shoes because we will be going on some amazing morning hikes here in Simi Valley, especially white face which on a clear day you may even see the ocean. After the hike we are going to drive over the hill into the valley to eat at a vegan restaurant that has been around since the 70’s. After lunch we will take a cruise down the famous Topanga Canyon until we wind down through the Santa Monica Mountains to the pacific ocean. Up for checking out the Santa Monica pier? it’s only 13 min along the beautiful coast, on the way home I will take you to this little ramen spot that has the best vegan ramen ever. The week has just begun, we still have planned a day trip up to the small beach town of Carpinteria where they have my favorite coffee shop called Lucky Llama and we can play volleyball on the beach and boogie board, I’ve been camping there since I was a little kid. One night we can go into Hollywood and check out the night life, hope you also brought your dancing shoes. Wanna hit up a theme park? We have Disney, six flags, knots berry farm, take your pick I will get the tickets!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank my hard working parents for teaching me determination and for always supporting my creative endeavors and providing me with the security to take risks. I am grateful for my grandma who believes in me and invests in my small business. Lastly, I would like to thank friends and my community for showing so much love and support since day one, Minns wouldn’t continue to grow without you guys.

Website: Minns.co

Instagram: @minnsbakedgoods

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