Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenae’ Criswell.
Jenae’, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started Tink’s Sweet Shoppe out of a love for baking and wanting to work for myself. I really started taking it more seriously after gentle and loving pushes from family and friends. I started off only making cookies and cakes for people close to me and branched off to serving the public during the pandemic. I was one of the many that were laid off during the business closures and used that time wisely to get materials and practice. The business really started picking up in August 2021 and it’s been steadily growing ever since. I now have holiday sales and participate in various vendor events throughout the city. I love the freedom and flexibility that are allowed when working for yourself!
I chose the name Tink’s Sweet Shoppe to honor one of my grandmothers that passed away some years ago. My siblings and I affectionally referred to her as Tink (which was also my nickname given to me by her). I just knew I wanted to use Tink in the name which led to the birth of Tink’s Sweet Shoppe. Now when I’m in public and I speak about my business, I sometimes get people that say they’ve heard of Tink’s which makes me smile!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The main struggles that I experienced during the initial phase of starting my business were putting myself out there to the public, finding the finances to start, and having the time. I was working basically two full-time jobs (my main job during the day and baking at night) which tended to be exhausting at times. I found a balance while I was working, but since leaving that position to bake full-time, it has allowed me to take on more and do something that I truly enjoy. I’m always a little nervous when being in the public, but the best thing I’ve done was join some Facebook groups and constantly promote and respond to requests within those groups. I get a lot of my business from being a constant presence on social media as well as word of mouth. I think any journey that is worth anything has its ups and downs. It allows for learning experiences, growth, and appreciation of where you were, where you’re at now, and where you’ll go in the future.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I own and run my business, Tink’s Sweet Shoppe. I am a home-based bakery specializing in custom desserts, specifically decorated sugar cookies, cakes, and cupcakes. I think I am most known for my custom sugar cookies because of the details and designs that I can recreate on a cookie, especially the writing, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on that aspect in particular. I love to be able to use my artistry to be a sweet part of someone’s special day. I make desserts for any and all occasions, the majority are for birthdays. I do weddings, graduations, baby showers, and gender reveal. I use both fondant and buttercream depending on preference and I do basically any design except for copyrighted images (I do an inspired theme instead). I think what sets me apart from other businesses is that it is just me. People tend to think it’s multiple people within in Tink’s Sweet Shoppe, but I am a one-woman show. I also make everything from scratch from start to finish. I am the baker and decorator of all things that come from my business. With my brand, I am most proud of how far I have come within the year of my business growth outside of just making items for family and friends. Being home-based, I was a little worried that people would be hesitant and would prefer a licensed bakery, but I’ve received a lot of love and support from the public. I’ve devoted a lot of time and research to make sure I can provide the best desserts and service!
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
My biggest supporters have been my family (my husband Bryan and son Bryan Jr., my mom Madeline and dad Jarrod, and my siblings Jocelyn, Jayla, and Joshua)! They have been there since the very beginning when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. They’re the ones that stay up late at night helping me a package, deliver products, prepare for vendor events, and more. I also have my ladies at my previous job that were the best cheerleaders! They would see my designs and get to see the behind-the-scenes pictures along with giving me encouraging words. I still stay in contact with a couple and they’re still supporting me! Lastly, I have a few friends that have seen me working or been my taste testers, they’ve been the greatest in perfecting recipes, putting them into my business, and supporting me.
Now that my business is growing, I’ve gotten to join a network of other businesswomen, especially bakers, that give me great advice on how to more proficiently run it and just be a listening ear because they understand the highs and lows of running a baking business. I’m now getting to the point where I am getting repeat customers and they are the absolute best because it lets me know that my desserts are being enjoyed. I love getting to make new creations for them. I also enjoy getting to meet new customers, especially ones that have been referred or have been at a party or event and gotten to taste my desserts and now want some for their own. It really warms me when I get feedback on my products.
- Cookies start at $50 per dozen
- Cakes starting at $65
- Cupcakes starting at $36
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.tinkssweetshoppe.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/tinksweetshoppe
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/tinksweetshoppe