Today we’d like to introduce you to Tricia Eshleman.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I would say my story started back in my childhood when I used to sit in my bed drawing for hours in my sketchbook. I liked to bake, but Art was something I enjoyed even more. I’ve also always been an entrepreneur and had many “businesses” growing up. My first time selling cookies was at ten years old when my best friend and I made Christmas cookies and sold them to our neighbors. We ended up making $12 each! The recipe we used is very similar to the one I still use today.
Darlin’ Designs Baking Co. came to be many years later, in 2009, when decorating cakes turned into a hobby and eventually a business. My husband and I had a small budget for our wedding and to save money; I decided to make a faux wedding cake out of styrofoam. Obviously, it wasn’t edible but we served sheet cakes and no one knew! After that, friends and family started to ask me to make wedding cakes for their weddings the same way. I made a few of those but eventually decided to give real cakes a shot. People ended up loving the real deal so I found tutorials online and taught myself how make tiered cakes, 3-D cakes and decorated sugar cookies. Through word of mouth, my hobby turned into a business and I quickly found myself spending many nights and weekends making edible creations after being an art teacher by day. I eventually resigned from my art teacher position to stay at him with our son and to grown Darlin’ Designs Baking Co.
After having our third child, I decided to put my business on hold for a few years. I still baked occasionally for friends and of course our kid’s birthday parties. I quickly discovered I missed having a creative outlet so I began to take a few cookie orders here and there. As a busy mom, I found that offering just cookies to my clients, not cakes, was a better option for me and my stage of life. Decorating a wedding cake with three kids running around was not ideal! So I switched over to just offering cookies in 2018. I started my IG and Facebook page and within a year, my business grew to a full-time job! I think niching down to just cookies actually helped my business grow. I still do cakes, but just for my kid’s birthdays.
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?
My health has been one of my biggest obstacles and challenges. I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease, 12 years ago. I also was diagnosed with depression/anxiety when I was 18 and it is a daily struggle to deal with both of these obstacles. Thankfully, I have found ways to manage them. Decorating cookies is a creative outlet for me and has, in turn, helped with my depression.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I create decorated sugar cookies for every special occasion. I also offer DIY cookie kits, cookie decorating classes and children’s birthday parties.
- Decorated Cookies start at $36/dozen and go up depending on detail involved
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.darlindesignsbakingco.com
- Instagram: www.Instagram.com/Darlindesignsbakingco
- Facebook: Darlin’ Designs Baking Co.
Tricia Eshleman (cookies) KJ photography (portrait)