Like most teenagers, Emma Catlett goes to school, hangs out with her friends and navigates the world around her. But at 13, she’s already begun to look ahead to her future.
At first glance, Emma is an introverted, mild-mannered teenager with an eye for detail. While she isn’t one for small talk, she’s found a way to express herself through her passion for baking, with her creations telling another story.
With intricate patterns, bright colors and creative concepts, her confectionery feats have caught the eye of many King William residents — so much so, Emma has begun baking several days out of the week and selling them out of her home.
“She’s quiet and reserved in certain environments. So baking really allows her to express herself,” Emma’s mother, Lindsey Catlett said. “She has a lot of fun doing it and it helps build her confidence.”
With demand high, Emma, with the help of her mother, launched her own baking business, EmmAzin’ Bakes and Cakes in October — a decision that has helped her grow and learn valuable life skills.
On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Emma focuses primarily on her school work. She goes to classes, finishes her homework and then goes to cheerleading practice. On those days, she makes sure to finish all of her work so that she can spend the next few days working on her baked goods.
After finishing her chores Thursday and Friday morning, she wastes no time putting on her apron and getting to work. Taking each order into account, she pours ingredients she’s purchased into her stand mixer and brings her creations to life.
“I really like making the farm animal cookies and the ombre cakes,” Emma said.
While her business has only been open for roughly a month, Catlett said her daughter sees on average three to four cake, cookie or cupcake orders a week; many of whom are repeat customers.
For Lisa Moody, it was the quality of work that drew her in. But, it was the taste that kept her coming back for more.
“The cake we ordered and received was just as delicious as it was beautiful,” Moody said.
After ordering her first cake, Moody said she needed to try the cookies. To date, she’s ordered 150 cookies for Thanksgiving and to give as Christmas presents and she plans to order more in the future.
“Good things always happen to good people and I know Emma and her business will grow and prosper because of that,” Moody said.
Kick-starting her business just in time for the holiday season, Emma just ended her Thanksgiving cookie preorders. Offering both pre-decorated and DIY kits, Emma’s cornucopia of turkey, pumpkin pie slices and maple leaf-shaped cookies proved too big a best seller with more than 400 cookies sold.
While Emma stays busy, Catlett said the life lessons learned are worth the time and energy.
“She has to manage her time wisely. But it’s been working so far,” Catlett said. “We did tell her that the moment that we felt that her grades were slipping, then we’d scale back but she’s really stayed on top of everything.”
It isn’t just time management, Emma is learning. According to Catlett, she’s also learning money management.
Every week, the family sits down and looks over a spreadsheet outlining every order, the costs associated and Emma’s profits. Everything she makes, she earns. But, she has to put some of it aside for college with an additional portion going toward Emma’s big-ticket item — a car.
If sales remain steady, she plans to purchase the car of her dreams by the time she’s 16.
According to Catlett, Emma has her own debit card and she shops for supplies on her own.
“She shops and pays for her own supplies,” Catlett said. “It gives her that sense of adulthood.”
While Emma’s baking business might have begun this year, her love of baking began earlier than that.
At 8, she began helping her mother in the kitchen. Here and there, she’d stir a pot, gather ingredients and pay close attention to how it all worked.
But her baking career began when she received her KitchenAid mixer as a 9-year-old. Honing her craft, she spent countless hours watching cooking shows. Since then, she hasn’t stopped, Catlett said.
While Emma said she doesn’t know what she plans to do in the future, whether it be becoming a full-time baker or trying her hand at culinary school, she said she doesn’t ever plan on stopping. Regardless of what her future brings, she knows she has a community supporting her.
“The community has been helpful and encouraging. They’ve donated cookie cutters and continue to order things,” Catlett said. “I don’t think she’ll ever stop baking. It is so important to her that she makes sure she has everything finished because it’s what she likes to do.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/EmmAzinBakes.
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