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!
CD: What are the biggest challenges you face as a female business owner?
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!
CD: Thanks so much for taking the time with us, Aryn. What advice would you give young girls who want to someday own a business?
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!
What a great message here, Eli for all young girls and definitely enjoyed learning more here about Aryn and how you started up up her cake business. Thanks 🙂
I love her story, Janine.
Agree! Hard work pays off every time – and trumps natural talent. Thanks for the interview. The cakes are INCREDIBLE.
Great to see you Amy. It’s like that on the soccer field and in life, isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed the interview!
Just think – I live near this place. I could go get something there today.
I love this so much. What a talent she is (and those cakes! My goodness, they look beautiful) and love that she developed that entrepreneurial spirit at a young age 🙂 Thank you so much for featuring her here (as someone completely devoid of baking skills, I admire those who do such a wonderful job of it!) 🙂
She’s built something amazing, Charlotte – glad you liked this interview!
i love to make cupcakes too, but not so good at it. i;m impressed!
She sells out almost every day!
Sweet, isn’t it?
Aryn, if I had a party I’d definitely want you to make cup cakes for it. The handbag and shoe cake is amazing. You are a very talented pâtissier. My granddaughter left school at fourteen (four years ago) when she was offered a job as an apprentice pastry chef. It’s good to know she’s in such fine company 🙂
It’s an art, isn’t it Lyn?
Oh wow, that car would draw my attention as well!
Love the Disney Cars cake, and my son would love it even more!
I’m not good with buttercream frosting, so I’d totally prefer to purchase my cupcakes at a place like yours! Let me know when you plan to expand to Switzerland 🙂
Can you run the branch out there, Tamara?
Those cakes are amazing and I love to hear stories like this! Thanks for sharing.
Glad I ran into Aryn, and that you liked this, Tiff.
Sorry, I got excited. But these cakes are amazing.
Those cakes look great! Very nice story.
I really wish I’d gone in and had a stormtrooper shoot in the shop and sampled the goods, Ellen.
I love peanut butter cookies! What a great start to a business.
Also.. CAKE!!! Also.. pear cupcakes? I’m intrigued.
Pear cupcakes seem like something your town would be all over, Tamara.
I absolutely love that you do this Eli! That is awesome your daughters have such a great dad. I pinned Aryn’s information on my Entertaining board because I want to keep her in mind for something I’m working on. My business partner and I have been considering a bloggers conference in Charlotte, but we are just in the very beginning discussions about it and it won’t be for at least a year. I would love to get her to speak to the bloggers about being a young entrepreneur since we work with a lot of new bloggers. Plus you know bloggers love cupcakes.
It’s been a blast! I do know the girls are awesome and the dad gets an A for effort. Glad you could find Aryn here!
Bloggers and cupcakes go together like bloggers and wine. And cheeseburgers, I suspect.
Let me know when this conference takes place? I’d like to peek in from the window and take notes.
You’ll have to join us!
I hope you controlled yourself Mate and didn’t lick the picture of the cupcakes on Aryn’s car. Trust you to spot a cupcake from across a vast car park. What an inspiring lady with a great talent.
No licking, just coveting. I once smelled bacon cooking from 43 kilometers.
Aryn’s got a great story, for sure, mate.
I’m glad to hear that Mate, I’d hate to see you make a spectacle of yourself. Just do it when nobody’s watching. Now bacon is another matter. My ex father in law used to smoke his own bacon. My goodness it was the best I’d ever tasted. She certainly has and talented too.