How did you start Sweet Laurel and why?
I co-founded Sweet Laurel with my dear friend Claire Thomas in 2015. After struggling with an autoimmune disease for years, and then discovering healing through food, I changed my diet overnight to be completely grain free, refined sugar free and dairy free in order to overcome my illness. Very quickly I discovered clean and wholesome baked goods were not available, and thus Sweet Laurel was born.
What made you take the leap from home baker to professional?
I was making all my own food, and really missed brownies, cookies and cakes of course. So I began testing our recipes using grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free ingredients. Very soon, I realized delicious and clean baking did not need to be complicated. I started baking for friends and family, and one day I brought a chocolate caramel cake to my friend, now business partner, Claire Thomas. She took one bite, and loving it, took another, and I told her, ‘BTW this cake is paleo.’ She took one look at me, and asked, “Laurel, what are we doing with this?” This was a delicious, wholesome cake, made with 5 ingredients. Claire knew we had something special, we teamed up and the rest is history!
The pandemic was a time for many businesses to reassess, change, and pivot. How did you as a boss and Sweet Laurel grow and change during this time?
My goodness it has been a challenging time. As a business we made a quick pivot, and that was to invest into our e-commerce business, and keep things interesting for our community by launching new and exciting products that they could enjoy from the comfort of their homes. Our baking mixes, kits and cookie doughs were our top sellers last year, and it showed us that people want these baking experiences. We began our journey into the CPG space and are working on a new line of products for grocery stores. As a leader, if the last year and a half taught me anything, it is to be flexible yet strong. Flexible, as everyday brings a new set of challenges and tweaks are a reality, and strong mentally, emotionally and physically to keep moving forward.
What are 3 tips you have for being a boss?
1) Find a mentor who inspires you, and who can coach you. 2) Check in regularly with your goals 3) Make sure you don’t run on empty. Yes, you will need to work 7 days a week, however find time to renew and refuel with the things that bring you joy.
If we don’t live in LA, how can we try your amazing treats? www.sweetlaurel.com Check out our ‘Cake’ tab for our cakes that ship nationally and our ‘Products’ page for our mixes, kits, cookie dough, etc. Stay up to date on our social @sweetlaurelbakery as we announce our grocery placements in 2021 and beyond!
You can also make your own Sweet Laurel creations by purchasing Laurel and Claire’s cookbook!