I’ve always told Marie I had a feeling she’d own a business someday.
I’m not sure what kind of business. She smiles when I say it. She’ll bring it up, out of the blue. Whether she does or not, I’ll be proud of her. I just hope she hooks her dad up with discounts.
Today’s guest built her own business.
Meet Aryn Keogh, owner of Delish Cakery in Charlotte. We met in a Walmart parking lot. She was loading her cupcake painted car with cookie containers. Automobiles with food depicted in their paint jobs tend to draw my attention.
When I learned her story, I knew she’d be a perfect subject for the #GirlsRock series. Please give her a warm CD welcome. If you’re in the Charlotte area, come check out Delish Cakery, at 9009 J.M. Keynes Boulevard.
Courtesy of Aryn Keogh
CD: Aryn, what did you think you’d be when you were little?
AK: Really great question! I grew up in a very creative family (mom and sister are both accomplished painters and my dad does carpentry) and was always working on some type of crafty project. I’m not sure as a child that I ever dreamed of being something in particular but always imagined being something in a field that allowed for some artistry.
My mom is the first to admit that she is not a fan of cooking, so I grew up with a kitchen all to myself! The first thing I learned to make were peanut butter cookies (which are totally addicting) and as a child, I would sell them to neighbors door to door. It’s funny looking back on those days of mixing up cookies in the kitchen and to think about how I’ve come full circle right back to baking for a living!
CD: What did you do in between those days as a kid entrepreneur and today?
AK: Lots! I have had all kinds of jobs from working in a hair salon, to a photography studio, and even as a stable hand at various equestrian centers. I guess I have never really been one to sit still!
CD: So how did this childhood hobby reemerge as a business for you?
AK: In between all the different jobs, I would still find time to bake. The company actually started when I made cupcakes for a neighborhood gathering, and afterward, family friends began to place orders for various baked goodies. Soon people I didn’t know began calling and it snowballed from there!
CD: What was your signature cupcake then, and has it changed since?
AK: Wow that’s a tough question! The first recipe I learned (and the one that started me baking) was actually a peanut butter cookie, which we still make using the same recipe in the store today. One of my first cupcakes that I made for neighbors was pear flavored (we don’t still make that one), which was a total experiment.
Today it is hard to pinpoint a signature cupcake because we bake fresh daily and usually sell out. I really try to make each flavor recognizable, and the best of what it could possibly be, so it really just depends on what flavor you gravitate towards! One of my favorites is our chocolate cheesecake (chocolate cake with a swirl of cheesecake baked in), or our carrot cake which is to die for!
Gosh, there are so many challenges that every business owner faces! I think starting out most people thought I was crazy, or that it might never work out, which is probably one of the toughest things to deal with – it takes a lot of effort to believe in yourself and keep pushing towards your goals! I feel like now since the storefront has opened I am finally validated, I am not a crazy person after all!
CD: Was there a time you felt like it was a crazy idea, too?
AK: I think as an entrepreneur you are always questioning yourself. So many decisions need to be made each day and no path is ever clear cut. I think part of the reason I have been successful to date is because even if I think my ideas are crazy, I am stubborn enough to stick to it until it works! When I first started I never imagined I would make it to where I am today so I guess I still think it’s pretty crazy!
I would say make sure you are really passionate about your field of business and be ready to work extra hard to reach your goals. Growing a business is a journey so try to learn as much as you can along the way, take baby steps to get where you need to be, and keep on going!