My passion has always been baking and sharing the love stirred in with family. As a teen, I spent many hours next to my mother as she baked. She was a phenomenal cook, and though I didn’t want to cook myself, I was in love with watching her and learning from her. My forte was being a taste tester. The memories of the gooey melted chocolate texture and sweet, buttery flavors lingered with me. My Mama’s Choco Chip cookies are derived from my childhood, my attempt to recreate those delicious moments. And now, I’ve found a way to share that experience of savoring each bite with others.
“I dreamed of one day having my own bakery.”
I have always been a multitasking mom, balancing the schedule of raising five children, serving as president for the Mary Casey Black PTA, all while working from home. I worked in the mortgage industry, eventually going into inside sales. The kids would nap, I would make cookies. A little break in the day from working, I’d whip up a cake. My family thoroughly enjoyed all the cookies, cakes, cupcakes, scones, and brownies I would regularly serve up. I loved the fact that they devoured my baked goods and raved about them to all their friends. It gave me so much pleasure. I dreamed of one day having my own bakery. The feeling inside I get when I see people react to diving into one of my products, is the driving force behind me wanting to bake for a living. There is no substitute for that level of satisfaction.
My family has known the Little family that own Sip and Scoop California, for about ten years. We attend the same church; we love their family and their hearts. Vicky Little was looking for a baker for her establishment, and my family was encouraging me to fill the order. They were persistent and kept insisting I let her try my chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bread, and banana bread. My feeling was that my stuff wasn’t good enough to sell. One day, on a whim, I snuck over to Sip and Scoop without telling anyone and left Vicky some samples. She immediately contacted me with, “Girl, we gotta talk. You need to get your licensing and get your products in here.” After wiping away the tears as I realized my dreams were becoming a reality, I dove in head-first and got my Cottage Food business up and running in a matter of weeks. I secured a B Permit which allows me to sell wholesale and retail. It was a whirlwind of testing more products, researching packaging, branding, and preparing for our debut. My company, CHURN’D, launched on September 7, 2019, during the Farmers’ Market at Sip and Scoop. It was so amazing and reassuring to witness everything selling out! The very best part though was seeing the joy on people’s faces as they sampled the goodies. Vicky continues to carry CHURN’D cookies and breads at her cute location, while also being a great mentor and supporter.
“CHURN’D doesn’t make any health claims, it’s not gluten free, vegan, fat free or anything of the sort. It really is Just Plain Good… that is the tagline, for every reason you can imagine. ”
CHURN’D doesn’t make any health claims, it’s not gluten free, vegan, fat free or anything of the sort. It really is Just Plain Good… that is the tagline, for every reason you can imagine. Every bite should remind you of your mom’s or your grandma’s home baked special treats. I use brands I know and trust for quality control, but the shelf life is not as long as the products you would buy at a grocery store. I do not add any preservatives to my desserts. They are made to be eaten within a few days but will last several if stored at room temperature in the heat-sealed packaging. This additional process takes considerable time and money, but it guarantees my customers the freshest and safest product.
My entire family is behind the business now, pushing it along and helping it to grow. My husband Ken had a huge part in helping to create the logo and tagline. He markets me, reaching out to various coffee houses in the area. My son Jordan works for Apple and has been an integral part of my business, helping in more ways than I can list. My daughter Morgan helps with social media and edits all the photos we take in our home kitchen and my nine-year-old son is my personal taste tester!
My husband’s diligence paid off as my products are now carried at Inklings Coffee and Tea in Pleasanton. Jonathan Louie, the General Manager for Inklings, requested biscotti for the shop. I now provide three different flavors of biscotti as well and some cookies and breads. All of my products have been a welcome addition to their great location and unique style. Future aspirations include doing a lot more catering for parties, events and weddings, or even having my very own brick and mortar. Distribution is also on the radar. We are looking to be inside of many more locations shortly, so keep an eye out.
My passion project is a business in the early stages, and we are still working at getting our legs under us. I have been fortunate to participate in some charity fundraisers that my products have been part of, like Helping One Woman and various school organizations. I would love to do more but will have to work up to it. Right now, I am enjoying working on new flavors and products. My personal guilty pleasure is biscotti. I love it. But rolling out a Lemonee Loaf, Chocolate Loaf and English Toffee, along with specialty popcorns are the focus right now. We are looking forward to a sweet future.
Photos By Melissa Van Ruiten