Diary of a Brokenhearted Baker…
Sometimes things happen in life and there are lots of words. Sometimes things happen and there just isn’t anything that anyone can say to make it right. Most days I am full of words, but lately things have happened that I just can’t define. It has taken me a week to even get my head around it enough to put into words, but I’m going to try. It’s so very hard to open up and share a deep hurt with others, especially knowing that the person who caused this pain could in fact, be reading with great satisfaction the hurt they caused, but I am willing to risk it to get this off of my heart.
Cookies weren’t really a a plan for me. Actually they were the furthest thing from it. They were really Divine intervention. In fleeting conversation, if I get asked this question, I don’t even bother trying to explain, because like all my stories, its long, but in the end it’s important because this story is my beginning.
I started making cookies in 2009. I will never forget because that is the year my Nanny passed away. She had been sick a LONG time and I knew it was going to happen so I felt like I was prepared, but when it finally did happen, I fell apart. I spent a month crying. Especially at night. The nights were bad. Then during the day, I spent most of the time at the cemetery. I don’t remember a whole lot from that time except for the day I decided that I was going to have to find another way. The cemetery trips were not good for me or my kids. As I laid in that familiar spot crying for all that I had lost, I suddenly felt a peace that I had not in a very long time.
I didn’t get a specific answer that day, but I knew from the bottom of my heart that I needed to find something to keep my mind off of my pain. Later that week I got my first call. It was from a family friend of ours that was on my Christmas cookie list. She asked for Valentine cookies, and from there on out, my whole life changed.
Cookies became my life, and what a wonderful life it was. Suddenly, I went from a SAHM to a SAHM with something more. I was the “Cookie Lady”. I had something that was mine, and that I was good at. It gave me an identity beyond wife, mother, daughter, sister, maid…I had what seemed to be the best of both worlds, a way to creatively express myself and contribute to my family, with the luxury of not having to leave them or miss any of those moments people hold most dear.
So, for a year and a half, that is how it went. I threw myself into my cookies, never worrying about anything else. I made cookie friends all over the world, and passed many hours learning everything I could about becoming better at my craft.
Then, about two weeks ago, everything changed. Unfortunately, in many states, it is illegal to bake from home. Texas happens to be one of these states. I never spent a lot of time worrying about it because where I live selling food items is so common, I didn’t ever expect to be noticed. It’s a way of life where I am from. There are cake ladies, bake sales, lunch benefits where people sell plates to raise money for medical expenses, the tamale lady who we eagerly await each fall, and wonderful Mennonite pastries and breads, just to name a few. We love and embrace these things as part of our “culture” However in my case, something else happened. Something ugly. Somehow, I attracted the wrong attention and was finally turned in.
I am old enough to understand that people have reasons for all the things that they do, but in this case it didn’t ease the sting. What was probably business to one person, was my whole life. The biggest non-family thing I had disappeared with one little visit from the Department of Health.
Since then, I have been on a roller coaster. Most days I feel hurt. Disbelief and hurt that I was singled out and also that someone felt the need to take away something so very important to me. Some days there is anger. I look at my kids and my shabby tires and I feel anger toward the person who did this, because in the end, its my kids who pay the price. I think of the suddenly shrinking Christmas budget, and I want to ask that someone, “Why? Was I really bothering you THAT much?” It seems so unfair. I feel like something meant for our good and support (The Department of Health) was used as a tool to hurt someone and knock them down rather than keep people safe. I want to scream from the rooftops, “If I am in trouble, why isn’t every bake sale and medical benefit, and tamale lady in town?” But I would never, because in the end, that doesn’t solve anything. It just multiplies the ugliness I experienced. All of the finger pointing would NEVER change the fact that I can no longer make cookies for people, something I loved. After a week of tears, I found myself right back where I started, kneeling at Nanny’s grave, asking what to do, and suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of peace.
Like all sad stories, I am slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I can think of a positive outcome of this every day. I like my newfound free time. I like that the cookies I make are creative and fulfilling. There is no question I am terrified and not sure where to go from here, but I have learned enough from this beautiful life to know that some of the best things that I have came from my worst experiences, and I believe deep in my heart that this is one of them.
I also learned what I DO have. I have a family that loves me. I have the most wonderful husband God could give. I have beautiful kids and have been blessed with an abundance of good things. I also learned a lot about people. FOR ONE BAD DEED, I saw a hundred good hearts. I never once cried alone and the outpouring of support in flowers, emails, and phone calls absolutely astonished and humbled me.
So, now you see why this story was so important. This is where I start again. I don’t know where I am going, or where I will end up, but I am taking a journey with friends and family, doing the only things I know how. Loving those who love me, making friends along the way, and every step of the way, making cookies.
*Home bakers everywhere face a dilemma. For many people, our current laws make becoming legal impossible. It takes a LOT of time and money. For others it is not even a desire. I CHOOSE to be small because my children will always be my number one priority. It’s a shame to criminalize and villianize cookie baking and I am ready for it to STOP! Currently there is a bill ready to hit the 2011 legislative session that will allow home bakers to licence their own kitchen. If you would like to help, please see the Texas Cottage Food Law web page and sign our petition. You can also like their FB page which includes many humorous and encouraging articles dedicated to this cause.
Love you, girl and Im always here for you. You'll find your way again. *HUGS*
I can't believe somebody would be so spiteful. In a way it's flattering though, they thought you were good enough to be a threat! Keep your chin up. Can you rent a friends kitchen to bake in? Then they technically aren't baked at home. In Canada, not only can we run businesses from home but we can claim part our household expenses in our taxes. Move here….then you also get free health care!
It's sad when someone believes that causing another pain could bring them joy, pathetic really. I am confident that this is but a mere bump in the road for you it might take a little while before a new path makes itself seen but when it does it will be brighter than ever. With only 1 against you and hundreds with you how could you fail? Hugs Marlyn
I am a huge fan of your work. One thing that we see popping up here more and more — for bakers and cooks just like you — are kitchens that can be rented out on a daily or hourly basis. It allows the "little people" who can't finance, or don't want to open, a huge facility to cook/bake in a certified kitchen.
Don't give up; your work is genius. You have passion and talent, and you can NOT lose with that combination.
All my best to you! Fight the good fight and don't give up.
I was preparing to encourage you to "scream to the rootftops," when I saw your footnote. It DOES make a difference. I didn't always believe that, but in our recent elections, I found out there are others like me who believe enough is enough. More and more and more government always leads to less and less and less freedom, as well as a perversion of the original intent of the rules, even if it were once noble (and you won't find me saying that it always begins with a noble intent).
It is wonderful to find the peace in your situation. But you are also right to question why you have been singled out to the exclusion of so many other groups and events. Keep asking, and ask others to ask.
Your cookies — execution and creativity — are amazing. Far and away the best I have ever seen (and I'm an amateur who follows a LOT of cookie bakers). Good luck.
((hugs)) I admire you in so many ways and am so grateful to be able to call you my friend. Thank you for sharing your heart and taking us along on your journey. Many (like myself) share the same passion for cookies and enjoy sharing the gifts we have been given with others. Although not all of us have gone over the speed bump that you recently crossed.. we constantly fear that it may be just up the road. You are strong, beautiful (inside and out), extremly talented and loved. God has BIG plans for you! Love you!
More hugs coming your way. 🙂 You know that this is just a stepping stone to AMAZING things that God has planned. He's gonna give you the direction and guidance (and love & grace) you need to move passed this. I'm anxious to see where you are in a year…..in five years….in ten years. This is certainly not the end of your cookie journey. You are too FABULOUS at it to not continue to pursue it…..but for now….you are going in a different direction. I'm right along side ya…..and love you to pieces. :))))))))
Hang in there! It's because your good, and yes there are plenty of people out there that will find things such as this to put you in your place in the hopes of making it easier for them. Love your out look about it all. I too belive that this will only lead to biggger and better things for you!!! Your very, very good at what you do and it will take you far!!! Good Luck!!!
Wow. That is so unfortunate. And really sad that someone would turn you in. I hope something really amazing comes your way. I've really enjoyed seeing all your amazing cookies. And am SHOCKED to see you started only in 2009!!
Huge hugs. I have the same problem here in WA. Have you looked into using the commercial kitchen at a local church? You probably have, but I just thought I'd throw that out there. Karma…Don't stress, don't revenge, Karma will deal with it. I think you have plenty of good cookie karma 🙂
As I read your story, I kept thinking – I'm going to send her a message about the current legislation, she has to get in touch with Kelly!
I'm so glad that you already know – you should pour the heart and love that you put into those cookies into getting this law passed. I HATE that someone turned you in, its nothing but spite and a testiment to how amazing your cookies are.
I wish I lived in Texas and could do more for your cause – currently I'm in Florida trying to do the same!
Good luck and Best Wishes on getting back on top.
OMG this is so sad, I am so sorry that some bitter-unhappy person had to rain on your parade. They were probably jealous because your cookies are by far the best I have ever seen. Fortunately in CA they allow small businesses to operate out of home (including baking) but I have feared that law to change. I looked into renting a commercial kitchen, which I think you should totally look into. You could rent one for minimal hours and the health department could not say anything then because it is legit. They are pretty affordable as well. The other thing you could do is look into "using a kitchen" at a restaurant. A lot of restaurants are only open in the afternoon and would allow you to use their name as your baking area. I know you dont want to be away from your kids and family, but these are just some suggestions. Let me know if I can help, I signed the petition in your link, it is a stupid law that needs to end! If you get a chance I would love for you to stop by my blog, it would mean a lot!
I'm so sorry to hear this. You have such a talent. I too live in Texas and will definitely be going to the link you posted. One of my friends that is a baker had the same thing happen to her. It's ridiculous. I'll be praying that God will intervene, provide and show you where to go from here! Keep your head up!
What a huge bummer!!! Don't let this be an end to your beautiful work and creativity!!!! Some people are just not happy unless they are making others miserable. I agree that this is a law that needs to be changed – across the whole country.Keep your head up, and it will work out for you in the end. You can see we are all with you and praying for you!!!
This is my first visit…your cookies are simply amazing! I'm sorry this has happened to you.
I'm very proud of you for the way you are handling the situation and I also feel privileged to call you my friend!
Know that there are many of your fans out here cheering for you to the One who makes lemonade out of lemon every time.
Does the Texas law refer to selling your home baked cookies? What would happen if you asked for donations rather than asking for a set price? How about mail order? With your incredible skills I'm sure you could build a huge mail order business faster than you could say 'scat' (whatever that old saying means).
Until I found your blog I never considered decorating cookies like you do… thought that was only done by pros… but I went to Michaels Saturday and bought a pretty cookie cutter, some tips and bags and have plans to start. If you can do it I can, too.
Your work and joy in baking cookies inspires lots of us.
God bless you and yours.
Jealousy is an evil monster! You are an amazing person and not just the cookie lady, but the AMAZING cookie lady. We are all so sad that someone's jealousy has taken away our cookies. However, you have great things ahead of you, I just know it!
I'm very sorry to read this.
Your cookies are amazing, I'm always waiting for another picture, they are the best of Internet for me.
If the person who did this to you reads this, the only thing that could see is people who loves and supports you.
Hugs from Spain
I am so sorry this happened to you. People can be hateful. They must have been jealous of you and threatened by your talent! Keep your chin up Callye.
Missy from facebook
That just breaks my heart; Im so sorry someone would do that to you! You do such amazing work and I know that you will find a bright spot in all of this pain.
I say, keep on baking and selling!
We've never met, but after reading your blog I wish I could give you a big hug. Your cookies are absolutely amazing. I have no doubt that jealousy was a huge factor in why you were turned in. Please keep baking, it obvious you love what you do and you're talented beyond words.
My sweet friend – I am so very proud of you for having the courage to open your heart in such a poignant and honest way. You brought me to tears…in sadness for your heart and in thankfulness for being able to share this journey with you. Even though it is a painful experience, it means that we are special to one another. Someday, you will thank this anonymous person for the gift they thrust upon you. Love you so much.
first time commenting…
you are a creative, sensitive & obviously a very genuine soul. may this mark a new beginning for you & your family & may you find all the courage & strength to continue doing what you love.
wishing you all the best.
This absolutely breaks my heart. Its terrible that someone did this to you. To lose your creative outlet, your soul fulfilling, life sustaining passion is unthinkable. And unfortunately, for many, myself included, a risk we take. I dont live in Texas, but Im pushing for you. You're too talented not to continue on. Hopefully this country will recognize the value of home bakers, and how great it can be for everyone!
Sending you loads and loads of love and encouragement! I know its cliche, but everything happens for a reason right? Who knows, maybe you will be America's poster girl for home bakers!
Home Bakers Unite!
That stinks! I think all you would have to do is take your pictures into a bank and they would give you a loan. You are amazing and I hope you can figure out a way to do what you love and still be available to your kids. Good luck!
I am a long time reader/blog stalker. Your work is inspiring and almost unachievable on my end! I still continue to bake even though I now I won't master the cookie as you have.
It breaks my heart that it has come to this. I am in Texas as well, and have often wondered HOW to order from you. I'm sorry for this and hope you are able to still have your business.
I "liked" the page and will sign the petition if I can figure out how to do it! You are so talented and I know there is a bigger plan in store for you. Your grace is an inspiration and will only take you bigger places in the future!
Yesterday I read your Mom's blog… and after reading yours today, I know a thing for sure: you will get through this, get stronger and leave this behind… you have the courage, the talent, and love from family and friends to support you and take you to the next level…
great things are coming your way!! xox
I've been looking at your cookies for months and every single picture amazes me! You are so talented! I hope you will be able to find a way to keep doing what you love – and keep inspiring me and other cookie makers.
See, not one negative comment in the bunch. Must just be something about me that draws the lunatics out.
I'm sorry about your kitchen. I know in MA, if you can close off your kitchen, you can bake from there. And Vermont, well, so many scary places are licensed because they are "grandfathered". I wonder why Texas has such strange home baking laws.
Whoever did this is just a jealous, bad person.
*Hugs* to you. I know you'll find a way like you always do. You're stronger than you think you are! 🙂
I'm sure you'll get over this, "hugs" and "luck" for you.
So sorry to hear you are going through this. I know it doesn't seem fair, but I am sure that God has a greater plan for you! I am sure it will all make sense one day. (((HUGS)))
I went through the same thing. With your talent, open a business. You cannot bake from HOME, but you CAN bake out of a business. It would take dedication and time, but you CAN continue to follow your passions!
Chin high, it hurts, I cried too, but people sometimes dislike what they are jealous of. (You were probably cutting into their business).
Thanks SOOOOOOOOO much for kind words. I have been thinking about this for over a week. It took me a long time to get my feelings into words, and after I did, I was TERRIFIED that someone would chew me up and spit me out. This is a hazard of the internet, and voicing an opinion, or putting yourself out there.
I am not sure what I want to do at this point. There are other factors affecting ow much I want to invest in something that would be a long term thing.
The health inspector gave me many ideas, and I had not even THOUGHT of the church! I live in a little town, and if I wanted to have a commercial kitchen, I would have to build one, or buy a building and build one, which is not te kind of investment I want at this point…put a church, or the MOW/senior citizens kitchen, WONDERFUL IDEAS.
I am getting my bearings back, and kind of deciding what will work for me, and I can also see a LOT of good from this.
I am hoping for now the baker's bill passes, and enjoying my free time! Thanks EVERYONE FOR TAKING THE TIME TO COMMENT! It's so very encouraging!
Cookies are your passion and you will find a way to continue because you MUST!!! You are an amazing talent and I'm sending support and hugs across the miles….now let's find the silver lining! (Also, what goes around comes around to the person who turned you in);)
Callye, I am so sorry to hear this…and it angers me as well! The nerve of some people who have nothing in their heart but evilness and jealousy shall be bound by their own actions! Like many have said before you will PERSEVERE, I claim this for you! I am sending Huge HUGS and PRAYERS your way!! To the person and/or persons who thought turning you in gained them something…just the label of being a jealous hearted person…and I hope they make sure they sweep around their own back door before they try to sweep around someone else's…what goes around comes back around! And once Karma makes her way inside their life…all I can say is Umph, umph, umph! Hope their ready for it! I wish you the best
Did the health inspector do anything but tell you to stop? Was their a fine?
What other ideas did the health inspector have?
Again, I am so sorry that this happened. I am glad to see that the health inspector gave you the idea of the church. Doors will open for you, Callye. You have far too much talent for them not to. I am excited to see what is on the horizon for you and your immense creativity and talent!
OH Callye, my heart breaks for you! Please don't let this be the end. You still have so much talent to share. Have you thought about teaching classes or having decorating parties….or even hosting your own show on the Food Network??? Yes, you are THAT good! When one door closes, another opens. Good luck!
callye this breaks my heart to read this people can be so thoughtless . i really feel your pain and tear up when i read this because i lost my business recently and i had a nervous breakdown that down i couldn't stop crying its like all your hard work and everything is taken away in an instant your really inspiring how your dealing with this your a fantastic person and i wish you the best with everything!
I was so sorry to read this post. I have your page bookmarked and check it regularly. I think yours are some of the best cookies I've ever seen, anywhere, and it would be a shame for you not to be able to continue creating them. Best of luck to you from Canada.
I am so very sorry some jealous person did this to you……..This will only make you stronger and better and that nasty person little and shallow! You are by far the most talented person out there. I've been following you on Flickr for months and have just now joined your blog and read your post. How terrible! I'm a SAHM too and sell cookies out of my home in Tennessee. My cookies help pay for extras for my kids too. I have a son who is dyslexic and my cookies help pay for all of his extra tutoring he needs to help him through school. I also have two daughters who are very busy with sports.
You are meant to make your beautiful cookies and I have no doubt that you will find a way to get your cookies out there for everyone to enjoy. Can you sell on Etsy out of your kitchen? Lots of people do this. I'm not sure what the laws in Texas are for this either. This sight seems to be set up for homemade goods.
I will be saying many prayers for you! Just remember that you ARE the best out there…..us mere mortals just try to emulate you, but don't even come close! :o)
Was thinking some more about you………have you ever thought about having a "Premium Cookie Blog" where you have paid memberships to your blog. I know there are so many of these out there……..don't know of one that centers around cookie decorating. You could still do what you love and share with the world and still get paid for it!!!!!! I would definitely join! :o)
WOW! Your story really hit home for me. Imagining that someone would have issue with your cookies is unimaginable! Stay strong and know it will all work out. I can't wait to see what you come up with when you have no one ordering specifics from you! Let the creative juices fly!
Ack!! It's illegal in Washington DC, where I live, too! But not in Maryland, one mile from my house. I'm so sorry for all of your struggles… And thank you for sharing your story!
Hey Woman… Everything happens for a reason and I have to say that maybe, just maybe, you have some time now and you can channel your energies into getting the word out about the Texas Cottage Food Law AND AND AND maybe put together a book! Do some tutorials, share where your inspiration comes from, etc… Your work is AMAZING and I know that with your faithful followers, we'll all be lining up to get one of your amazing books. I don't even do cookies routinely as cakes are my thing… but I still find myself drawn to your work and your amazing cookies. Your photography is excellent and I'm sure that with your skills, you could find a publisher. Chin up!
Bye the way… I was drawn to your post because of the adorable cookies. How perfect for someone in pain. They make you smile and yet aren't soooo happy that it makes you mad to look at them when you are feeling horrible. Such a cute idea for someone going through a difficult situation.
I happily stumbled upon your blog this morning. After reading your story, I just felt like I wanted to add a little comment in hopes of brightening your day. Your cookie creations are BRILLIANT!! Seriously, I don't think I have ever seen anything better – and I never pass up a cookie!!! I hope things work out well for you – and I know they will. With talent like that there is no holding back! Good luck.
I love this post! Sat here & laughed my ass off at work just great stuff! And let me say I LOVE these when they are hot out of the oven. But do not let them sit. They get dry and crlubmy and taste like something from the bakery (which is not my favorite). Thanks for the laughs!
Here in Portugal we have the same problem, everything is forbidden!
Do not give up, your work is too good to miss. To me you're an inspiration.
kisses and hugs from Portugal
I like Courtney's idea! You could have a membership for your blog and do tutorials and share lots of cookie decorating ideas and techniques. You are the most talented decorator I have ever seen and I would totally pay a fee to learn from you! And while I realize that most of what you have is natural and can't be taught, I still think you have quite a lot you could share that could help those of us not nearly as talented! Good luck with whatever path you choose!
I am so, so sorry that happened to you. I know your ENTIRE TOWN must be heart-broken! You make some of the prettiest cookies I've ever seen in my entire life!!!
This is so unfortunate to know that someone (who is probably blog stalking and reading all these comments!) would take the time and effort to turn you in….jealousy rears its ugly head….someone who was jealous of your God given talent. Karma bites. Something good is going to come out of this for you though. Keep on making your lovely cookies for others to enjoy and wait on what is much larger to come. You inspire me so much! Your designs are so fun and always look forward to seeing what you create! HUGS to ya!
You poor thing!!!! I'm so upset with whoever turned you in! I don't know you but I have a cake friend who follows your blog and she gave me this link.
I'm a legal home baker in PA (its very easy here) but I was "illegal" for awhile while I figured out if I wanted to invest the time and money and insurance to do it "for real" or not…here, too, we have alot of Amish and etc….and before that, I lived in SC and made cake for friends not even thinking about whether or not it was breaking the law.
People have too much time on their hands to go around turning people in. And I hope they read this comment too.
Take care, and best of luck…your cookies are AMAZING.
So sorry to hear this. Why must people be so mean. Jealousy is a nasty thing. I agree with Mama Muhs. You should start some tutorials and charge a small fee. I'd certainly be interested.Thinking of you. Take care
BTW I second the idea of publishing a book!!!!
That’s 2 clever by half and 2×2 clever 4 me. Thskan!
Aquí en España tenemos el mismo problema. Somos muchos los que empezamos a intentar crear leyes que nos amparen, pero de momento es muy difícil. Para trabajar legalmente hace falta muchísimo dinero.
Las persona o personas que te hayan hecho esto deben tener una envidia terrible de tu trabajo, y como son incapaces de hacer cosas tan maravillosas como las tuyas, simplemente intentan hacerte daño.
Sigue adelante, nunca dejes tus creaciones porque son lo más maravilloso que he visto nunca. Estás destinada a hacer algo MUY GRANDE en ésta vida.
TRADUCIDO POR GOOGLE TRANSLATOR
Here in Spain we have the same problem. Many of us began to try to create laws that protect us, but for now it is very difficult. To work legally need a lot of money.
The person or persons who have done this you must have a terrible envy your job, and since they are unable to do things as wonderful as yours, just trying to hurt you.
Go ahead, never let your creations because they are the most wonderful thing I've ever seen.
You're destined to do something very big in this life.
I have been so beeldierwd in the past but now it all makes sense!
Thank you VERY much everyone. I feel so much better now that a little time has passed, and I am enjoying creative freedom! Thanks so much for all the support. It keeps me positive on the days I want to give up.
Like I said I was SOOOOOOOOOOO terrified to write this. I was afraid I would make someone angry, but I am glad I did.
I read your story also because I am a big fan of yours and your talent. I hope the bill passes. We have the same situation in NY too with residential kitchens. I too am looking to rent a kitchen but there is one I found close to my house which is pretty expensive. I also am looking to the churches, but one church told me they only allow non-profit groups to bake there so I am still looking. Good luck to you – I believe things will work out in your favor – you have a lot of fans out there who support you!
I am SO sorry someone would even consider doing this to you. You are the best cookier I have ever seen!! In a small town someone must have felt like you were a threat to them or some other crazy reason!! This is NOT good. I know your small town my daughter has a very good friend who lives there. This is awful. Did not know this was a problem in Texas and will go and sign the petition for sure. You should teach classes, I for one would travel and take from you, and I am 4 hours away or more. You should consider the church or community center to bake, and could you decorate from home? Or do you have to decorate from the "cooking place" also?? You will be in my prayers!!! This is the most horrible thing I have heard in a long time. FANS UNITE and support her!! As a group we have a voice!! Keep on moving forward, we love to see your "talent" that is amazing!! Remember anything in life that is worth having is worth fighting for………prayers going up!!!
My heart is aching for you, but as you have realized better things are on the way!
I have thought long and hard about commenting on your post. Let me start by saying that your cookies are amazing. You have a wonderful talent and creative mind.
I doubt that the person who turned you in was being "mean." I'm sure it was a business decision. Anyone who is your direct competition has a right to be upset if they are operating legally. My sister & I have a cookie business in Minnesota which has, what sound like, similar laws. We have taken the time and money to take required classes to get a license, apply for a license, learn we need a secondary vehicle license, find a licensed kitchen to rent, apply to the state to be an official business, and get both state and federal tax IDs (not in that order.) It has taken a year and hundreds of dollars as well as a lot of screaming and ripping hair out at the frustration of trying to work with the government.
We would LOVE to be contributing to our families financially but so far we're in the red. Both of our families were struggling financially before we started this journey. Both husbands would rather we just “GET A JOB!”
Looking at it from my side, I'm sure you can see why I am upset that you are playing the game but not following the rules. Do what it takes to be legal. I’m sure you’ll do very well. It is hard and it isn’t fun to go about doing business the right way, but it is the legal and ethical way to do it.
You were worried that you would be attacked for posting your story. I hope you don’t think that I’m attacking you, because I’m not. I just wanted to give you another viewpoint. Now I’m the one worried about what others will say in response to what I’ve said.
I actually, do understand. It takes a lot of guts to go against the crowd My husband has a job that requires a licence. It's very frustrating to pay the money and see others slide by. But, never once has it occurred to us to report someone. We just don't know their circumstances. What if that was the one job that put food on their table that evening. Usually we laugh and say, I hope they dont break something.
As for me, it's not about being legal. A bakery is not in my desires or cards. It actually is the complete opposite of what I want to do. Long hours, resrticted creativity, and mass production are against everything that I believe in. I believe in handmade, one of a kind, personalized art. I don't want a business I just wanted an outlet. It is stressful that a hobby would require at least a $10,000 dollar investment. Especially because I cannot pay for it. That's just too much to justify so I can make 10-12 dozen cookies a week.
I'm a mommy first and that is what is most important to me. I don't have family around to help with kids, or a sister to work with. Its just me. As for rental space, my closest option is 80 miles one way. Availiable town places are the curch, which can only be used for non-profit, and there is a local bakery, but I wouldn't feel right asking for that because she has a 9-5 job (baking is not paying the bills in this area) and it would almost be crazy to rent to competition especailly since she is up there all hours of the night working on cakes. Taht leaves buying a building or putting one in my back yard(a zoning nightmare) So, basically what I am saying is that after daycare, no reasonable rental options, having to purchase a workspace and make it into a kitchen,licences, equipment, ect., Its tiring. I don't want to kill myself, just to keep the lights on, especially when I don't have to, or at the expense of my kid.
I wasn't arguing principal. Law is law, and it's that way for a reason. What bothers me the most is that it's not consistent. It should be all or nobody. I don't like it that something meant for good can be used as a personal agenda. Also, it doesnt make sense for baking cookies to be a crime. Especially for those of us who are doing it just to give us an outlet when we are pulled in so many other directions.
It's sad, but the bottom line is I respect what you said,so, I stopped, but that didn't lessen the hurt. And I am HOPING that you are saying this having never charged one cent for a cookie until you were LEGAL.
Kudos for courage. As for me, I know something better will come.
I've been a lurker for a long time and admired you. I understand your hurt and know that your story is very similar to mine Don't give up- there will be another opening. Just wait and the answer will come to you. And don't ever give up on your craft- you are WAYYYY to talented to settle!
My story is very similar except that I explored the requirements early in my cake decorating dream days only to have the local council crush them (I live in Sydney, Australia). I currently ask my "customers" to donate to my favourite charity as payment (and I suggest an appropriate amount). However, I am very lucky that my husband is able to support our family and my hobby comfortably. I know that not all are as lucky. I hope that one day you will look back at this as a blessing as it changed your direction and led you down a path you wouldn't have imagined (maybe a book deal or guest spot on tv, who knows?!)
Keeping baking and we will all keep watching with amazement.
I understand everything your saying, the best advice I ever received was from a restaurant owner. He told me, if you love baking, never make it your job, you will hate it. Thanks for sharing your story. Bless you and everyone (ps-Thanks to your TX Rangers for beating those Yankees!)
I don't know you at all….this is the first time I have ever been to your site but I just needed to say how amazingly talented you are!!! I have really enjoyed looking at your beautiful cookies and I will gain a lot of inspiration from you and your site.
Second…I am so sorry you are experiencing this. Please keep doing what you are doing though…you truly have a gift and it needs to be shared!
I am so very, very sorry this happened to you.
Shame on that broken, terrible, bitter, obviously jealous and lost soul who turned you in.
But you know what? You WILL find a way to bake and create your cookies. And, when you do, your enterprise will be even stronger and busier than ever before! Everything happens for a reason and I believe this is your reason… You just needed an excuse to go Global, my friend! 🙂
I bake most of my cookies for sale in a commercial kitchen. I have a friend that manages a very busy cafeteria who lets me come in and mix up my dough, roll and bake my cookies after they close for the day.
Not only does this assist me in complying with any Laws that might exist, (I'm not sure it's illegal in my state to bake from my home but I'll be checking that out today!) but it also helps me mix up large batches of dough and bake ten times the cookies I normally could at home in half, or a quarter of the time!
So do some checking in your area… You'll be surprised by how many small catering companies, (or even a large cafeteria in your area) might be interested in not only lending you their equipment and space but MAYBE, selling your cookies too! I got the idea to borrow a commercial kitchen after I called for information about a used Hobart advertised by a restaurant supply store. I'd been asked to create 600 cookies for Aveda and started thinking of a bigger mixer – any way, the man selling the Hobart offered to let me come use it for FREE after I told him this project would likely be a one-time deal. Long story short, I didn't use his mixer but his suggestion that I could borrow it gave me the idea to ask my friend if I could borrow his kitchen!
I hope this helps you… And, I wish you all the best in this world.
Your blog is a treat and I look forward to visiting Every day!
Wow! That was jealousy on their part. Okay, so what do you need to have a kitchen that is okay with the Health Department? What do you need to be able to hold classes? Let's support you and help you out, legally, any way we can! I want to come down there and have classes with you. You can tell us what the Department said. Maybe it is impossible to do there. Is there a fellow baker in your area that would let you work there? A church? Don't give up! In the meantime, create YOUR line of cookies. Hey, can a bunch of you get together and cook at a kitchen, share the cost? There has to be an answer!!!
Okay, after reading this from your blog's comments section, "
As for me, it's not about being legal. A bakery is not in my desires or cards. It actually is the complete opposite of what I want to do. Long hours, resrticted creativity, and mass production are against everything that I believe in. I believe in handmade, one of a kind, personalized art. I don't want a business I just wanted an outlet. It is stressful that a hobby would require at least a $10,000 dollar investment. Especially because I cannot pay for it. That's just too much to justify so I can make 10-12 dozen cookies a week.", I got an idea! What not do classes on how you create your designs? Do a class on how to do the icing, the packaging, talk about the requirements needed. Who better than you? You have been there and done that. Take all the subjects in the Cookies R Us and write your own syllabus. Teach people how to create their own gifts. You are not cooking for anyone. Hand out the recipes. Bet you would be great with this!
I want to have an outlet, too. I want to bake and make just wonderful things. I even want to develop a "logo" to put on the box, so that my gift looks as special as any of them. I think that this is a great way for you to go. Teach this!!!
WOW. As a fellow cookie decorator/caker, I admire your strength and courage to post this. I too, live in a state where it is illegal to sell baked goods from home. And I too, think it needs to STOP now! I realized my talent and love for baking many years ago, but only recently decided to sell after I decided to stay at home with my young children since my entire check was going to daycare costs. Then my husband's hours at work were cut.. and I had to find a way. I think about this every day.. about getting "caught". How ridiculous that I'm trying to do what I love, as you are, and we have to worry about those who may be jealous and turn us in. I wish you all the best, and hope that your state and my state will one day make it legal for us to do what we love to do.
I just heard from a friend who lives in Texas that the bill passed! You have been strong through all the many ups and downs in your life! Good luck moving forward!
Callye, you posted this so long ago the hurt is probably greatly diminished…but as I’m sure some of your responders probably have already stated, YOU ARE A GREAT TEACHER!!! I have only known about you for a few months, and you have already taught me soooo much. You are my first source of reference on questions that arise…I’m a huge fan. I am so grateful for your teachings, your sense of humor, and your committmant to your fam. When you look back, do you see how God has steered you? He never steers us wrong, though it sure feels like it sometimes. Your willingness to share, your passion, your gifts and talents…these will hold you in good stead. The one who tried to stop you will eventually suffer loss, of that you can be sure. Keep on going girl…you’re doin great!!!
I wish this was similar to Facebook so I could “like” your post! 🙂
Oh, Sugarbelle. I wish I could give you such a big hug. Baking is my escape from the chemical depression I have been facing for years. Through your entry I can feel your hurt and anger, and I feel it with you as well. I will be praying that the Texas Cottage Food Law passes. Please pray that one will pass here in California someday. Hang in there 🙂
I read this yesterday and didn’t comment and then had a weird dream last night kind of about it. I don’t make treats for the public either because of the exact same kind of ruling over here. I’ve noticed a number of people stating that you would make a killing selling cookies to the public, and it’s true that you are pretty much the cookie queen with few of comparison, but I imagine each piece of sugar art takes a while to make and that you would be way better paid at any other job once you take into account an hourly rate. I know for me it would take years of work and thousands of cookies to pay off a new kitchen, plus really who get sick from eating a cookie (allergies exempted)?
I’ve been over it and over it in my head, Linda. I really really do see both sides. I had a friend that was turned in also, and I watched her invest in a bakery to save her craft. It has been expensive and nothing but a nightmare and only reinforced what I never wanted to do. In the beginning days I dreamed about it, but it didn’t take long until I realized, that working day and night, I could MAYBE produce forty dozen cookies a week, and at that rate, there was no quality of life. I missed T-ball games, and dinners, and was generally unpleasant. If I had a brick and mortar store, I could not control what came…basically, what I am getting at, is that I am glad that I got to learn what cookies were really about, before I made a huge investment. I have no regrets, and in hindsight, it’s easier for me to understand that even though I may not see it yet, this IS for a reason. The thing I am thankful for most, is that my hobby is still a hobby. I didn’t let the idea of mass production spoil a good thing. I am also glad I opened this door and met others like me. It’s funny how heartbreak can lead to the best next step, huh? PS…my bother calculated once. I made about $1.87 an hour in my selling days. I told him immediately to keep future calculations to HIMSELF, LOL!
Callye…I’m sitting here with a mixture of emotions, so I can only imagine the pain and anguish you must have felt at the hands of a malicious individual. I thought I’d been to every page on your blog (I’m a SUPER fan!) and then stumbled on this one. My heart truly breaks for you. But you have the right attitude…rise above. You are a beautiful, caring woman loaded with talent, couple that with your generosity and you are a force to be reconed with. You share your knowledge and inspire me, and many, many, others I’m sure, to be better…to practice…and most of all to create. That in and of itself speaks to your character. Something the person that turned you in obviously lacks. You are a shining star and no one can keep you down…so you just keep on shining bright.
As the old saying goes, when one door closes another opens…and if it doesn’t…use the freakin’ window! You will make your way in this world because you are that shining star and because you give so much. The Universe gives back what it gets. Keep smiling…you’re the best there is and you are my cookie hero!
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Hi, Your cookies are amazing, and don’t worry, you will come back even more blessed than before. And I really hope who ever turned you in is reading all the comments from your blog.
P.S. I think I met your mom at our inservice at Andrews in August.
We have an issue like that now in Chicago. I keep reading about some ice cream business being driven out of business by something stupid like this. And supposedly San Francisco’s former mayor, Gavin Newsom, got into politics because of health inspector requiring him to have a sink for mopping floors at his carpeted wine shop.
Sigh! I got the sanitation license because I used to be the director of food and nutrition services at a hospital and I DID learn things I thought were valuable during the 1 day course. It would be nice if they just made people take the sanitation class (serv safe) to make sure they know what they’re doing and then allow them to make their own arrangements accordingly.
wow amazing! I was just thinking today how you should open a shop! Your cookies are amazing and delicious. I know great things are headed your way
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this is so encouraging thanks SSB!
I am so sorry that you are going through this., While my profession was an accountant, I took a chance and opened a baby shop – lost the lease after 2 years, so went back to accounting but was able to continue my baking in a home kitchen, because Virginia fortunately allows home baking. I hope that will change for Texas and you. BUT in the meantime – Your tutorials are absolutely fantastic. You should market THEM . Your talent is incredible- You can continue to make cookies but sell the HOW TO DO THEM. I would be the first to buy them — really.
Wishing you the best
Kabbie’s Kake Studio
some people just needs to mind there own business, what goes around comes around.
Thank you so much for sharing your passion with us even after this terrible experience. You are a great source of inspiration for me and I LOVE YOU!
I like you, am from Texas and I find this VERY VERY helpful! Thanks so much for taking the time to share!
As far as this bad experience you had, I totally understand. Same thing happened to me last year except I wasn’t selling the same thing you were. But you should look at its bright side, it wasn’t that you were “bothering them” it was actually that you were BETTER than them at doing what you do. They saw you as a threat and if they couldn’t copy you, screwing you over was the best choice for them. Unfortunately, there IS people like this all over the place and REALLY, they should mind their own business (literally). With all that time they spend trying to get other people in trouble, they could be improving their skills instead.
You should start your cookie business again and do your best to follow “the law”. I bet they would be really pissed knowing they CAN’T do anything to you anymore =)). You’re GREAT at what you do and such a HUGE inspiration.
I had a similar experience in South Carolina (mine was with cakes, not cookies) but it was my WORLD. A place where I was more than a mother and wife…a place where I was a ROCK STAR. A just like that *snap* the bubble was burst. And why?! I felt like I was reading my own story, and thank you so much for sharing. They JUST passed a Cottage Food Law in SC about 2 weeks ago, and I’m in a tizzy! I LOVE your blog, again, thanks for sharing!!!
I am a baker/decorator with very little talent, but I enjoy creating SOMETHING! Hearing my family and friends praise my efforts makes me happy. I wish I had just a little bit of creativity as you. Since I have found your site I am hooked and amazed! Thank you so so much for sharing part of yourself and your talent! I agree with the other comments, you are amazing and there are some who are just jealous that they do not have your talent,personality and great attitude! Keep up the fight, we love you and your work!!
I had a pretty successful online (etsy) business selling custom applique shirts. I LOVED doing this! I also live in Texas and right before my busiest time of year (football season!) I found that my right hand was going numb…eventually the numbness went to sharp, stabbing pains affecting my fingers, wrists and elbows. My doctor said I had to stop using my hands to cut my applique pieces. Without a $10,000 laser cutter, my business was suddenly halted. It was a blessing and a curse – when I finally looked up from working 18 hours a day, I saw the weeds in my garden, the closets that needed cleaning out, the kitchen table that needed to be cleared off and so on. Now let me also say, I hate to cook…but I really like baking…so I started baking some desserts. Then I moved on to cookies…and I thought “I could decorate these and make them so pretty!”…and then I found you! It’s amazing to me that I can squeeze an icing bag without pain in my hands, but I can! I won’t ever sell decorated cookies, but just being able to look at your cookies and try to decorate them like yours is so much fun! Thank you for continuing your tutorials and blogs. It has been keeping me sane!!! 🙂
God bless you! What a beautiful story full of love, passion, and inspiration! I have been trying to find something to do from home, something I love, something I’ve been doing since I was five years old. Now I know I have to try. The information you provided is wonderful! Now I know I can bake and make a business out of it here in Texas. Thank you so much!!!
I have never posted on a blog before, and I realize this is a very old post and your circumstances have changed since then, so more power to you. However it is an issue that really strikes a chord with me as it’s something I deal with daily and my comments are directed at anyone out there in a similar situation. I also live in an area (far from you) that requires any food-based business to be operated out of a licenced commercial kitchen. I took the plunge a few years ago, quit a stable well-paying job of 18 years, and opened a bakery specializing in cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. It was a huge risk and has been extremely challenging – physically, emotionally, and financially. I complied with every law and regulation, jumped through every hoop to make it happen. People who bake from home, put up a facebook page or website, and call themselves a business undermine everything I have worked for. If that’s what you’re doing, don’t be surprised when someone calls you on it.
When a client comes in to my shop (or e-mails me), I will spend the time with them (often a LOT of time) working out a design & quote for them. When they balk at my prices, then place an order with a home baker, that affects my livelihood, even if the home baker just sees it as having some fun making cakes and a little extra cash. It’s also amazing how rude and disrespectful some people can be – seems like having a business suddenly means they don’t have to treat you like a person. And they’re knowing they can go somewhere else for less just magnifies that. (That being said, I do have many clients who are wonderful and really appreciate the quality of my work). I’m not getting rich doing what I do by any stretch of the imagination. I work long hours and make excellent products. I need to make enough money every day to pay my bills and hopefully have a little left over to take home so I can pay those bills too. Anyone who does the math will quickly realize just how many cakes, cupcakes, and cookies that is. It’s quite overwhelming. My prices can never compare to someone who has taken a shortcut, has no overhead to cover, and can spend more time on each project – similar to comparing a hand-made cookie to a mass produced one. There’s just no comparison. So for every client that orders from a home baker, that’s a lost sale for me, affecting my ability to pay for my facility and make a living for my family. It’s no wonder small businesses struggle to stay in business. And the time I spent with that client could have been spent on another order or with my family. And believe me, time is precious – working til the wee hours is not uncommon just to make ends meet. I also have a small staff of 1 full time person, one part-time, and a weekend student. They are also depending on my business for their income. Not to mention my landlord who depends on my rent cheque each month as part of his income. Please realize that someone’s little hobby can have more impact on more people than you might think.
The fact that someone reported you does not make them malicious, hurtful, or jealous. Nor was it a “bad deed”. It’s them saying something’s not fair here and you need to play by the rules. Every time I lose an order to a home baker who is undercutting my prices, it devalues my work and I really don’t appreciate that. It’s hard enough already in this industry to justify my prices to clients who don’t understand the time and effort it takes to create my products without having someone else cheating the system and doing it for less. It also sets me up for clients having unrealistic expectations and less appreciation for what it really takes to provide a specialty service like this to our community. Operating a small business is stressful enough without adding that to the equation.
I have no issue with someone baking for their friends and family. Being a SAHM is definitely a luxury for most families and it’s a choice. If you don’t want the work, commitment, and stress of a business, then keep your baking as a hobby. Bake for friends & family, take pictures, write about it, give cookies away. When you start to advertise and SELL your product, that’s when you’re crossing the line and you need a business licence. Of course it’s easier to skip that step and just collect the money, but anyone with a real business has managed to get a licence. It’s not impossible. There are always choices and options. It has nothing at all to do with how good you are at the job. Your cookies are beautiful, but that doesn’t mean you should be able to make them without following the rules just because you’re good at it. Just like a lawyer needs a degree to practice law, regardless of whether he knows his stuff or not, or the best contractor in the world still needs a permit to build a house, if you’re going to operate a buisiness, you need a business licence. Laws are there to keep things fair. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for someone who breaks those rules and then expects everyone to feel sorry for them. I’m quite offended actually. If you don’t like the laws where you are, take the steps necessary to have them changed or move somewhere with laws you like. Again, there are always options, whether they appeal to you or not. Disregarding the law (and then whining about it) is offensive and disrespectful to all the legitimate business owners out there. I don’t wish anyone any ill will, I’m just saying if you’re going to play, play fair.
I can understand where you are coming from, but for a lot of us, opening a brick and mortar store front is not an option. I don’t see a reason not to be able to sell from my house. I think that saying the customer has to come to my house is ridiculous, I don’t want people coming here. I’m not sure what the reason for that part of the law is, but it puts more restrictions on the home baker. Moving is not a viable option, not for a home baker, that’s sort of a silly suggestion. If there is a license to allow you to bake in your home, then sure, buy it, no big deal. I have a tax exempt ID, it’s free and easy to get.
As far as the person she is speaking of as being malicious, you have no idea what the circumstances are, maybe they were being malicious.
Your comment really sounds like you have issues…..maybe your skill need to be improved them people wont go to a home baker as you say. When people love the work, they will pay anything…so, just saying. There are plenty of malicious actions all around us, why feed them??? I hope your business succeeds, if it doesn’t, don’t blame the home baker!
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Hi! I was curious about how to go about paying taxes. I literally have no clue. I just started the cookie thing. Thank you in advance!