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Exploring Life & Business with Amber Tomlin of Bebes Bake Shoppe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber Tomlin. 

Hi Amber, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I didn’t always have a love for baking, like this article it was a hidden gem in my life that I discovered while living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Back in 2013, my boyfriend (now husband) got a job offer to leave St. Louis and work in Santa Fe, New Mexico under a two-year contract and asked if I wanted to go along for the ride. Scared to death, nervous, skeptical about being so far away from everything and everyone I’ve ever known, but also really young and in love, I decided to go. I grew up in the Christian faith, but I had not belonged to a church, and the older I got the more important that became to me. While in New Mexico we joined a local church, gave our lives to Christ, got married, and created new friendships. One woman in the church took me under her wings. She told me that for Valentine’s Day a few of the women in our church would be putting together gift baskets for all of the single women in our church and asked if I wanted to help. Of course, I agreed having no idea that this one act of kindness would open the door to my future career choice. When I arrived at her house the next day, some women were putting together gift bags already and she was in the kitchen baking and asked me to assist her. She was aware that I had zero experience, but she was so patient and kind and walked through each step with me. The final product was amazing and left all the recipients extremely grateful and raving about this pastry that we created. Now of course the recipe belonged to my friend Danielle, and she did majority of the work, but the initial reaction people gave to the pastry made me fall in love with the idea of baking. I thought to myself that if something so simple and made from pure love and passion could bring people so much joy, then I definitely wanted to be a part of it. And just like that, I was in love with the idea of baking. After spending two and a half years in Santa Fe, my husband’s work contract was over, and we had to move back home to St. Louis. I didn’t want this to be the end of my baking journey, but in 2015 we didn’t have access to Zoom, and I didn’t have an iPhone so I couldn’t quickly FaceTime my friend for help with recipes, so I decided to go enroll in the Baking and Pastry Arts program at Forest Park in the spring of 2016. I baked what my program instructor called, “black market cakes” the entire time I was in school to help pay for books and my tuition. I completed the program in Spring 2018 and launched an online bakery called Bebe’s Bake Shoppe in 2019. For the past two years, my company has offered custom cakes, cookies, and treats for all kinds of events. Recently I have discovered that my passion for baking has become focused on decorated sugar cookies. My customers love them, and they help me to express my creative freedom in a beautiful and yummy way! My company will be changing to a cookie base operation in the fall of 2021. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It was definitely not a cakewalk! (Ha, see what I did there) I guess I forgot to mention when my husband and I moved back to St. Louis it was 6 weeks after I had just given birth to our first child. Becoming a mom, understanding that I am now responsible for another human life is an exciting and scary thing all at once. Naturally, I wanted to be better for my daughter. She is the reason I decided going back to school was non-negotiable. Deciding to go back to school after having a child to establish a career while my husband already had a career required some sacrifice. My husband, being in corporate America worked the standard 8:00 am- 5:00 pm hours, which meant I went to school from 6:00p-10:00pm 4 nights a week, and then going to work overnight from 11:00 pm – 7:00 am. It was struggle to tell myself I was doing this for my daughter when I was away every night missing so many milestones as she grew older. Missing out on important events in her life made me start to explore the idea of entrepreneurship. Creating my own company would allow me to be active in my family’s life and still be able to do what I love with flexibility. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I like to think of my company as tiny but mighty! Recently I have decided that my passion has grown for decorated sugar cookies, and made the bold decision to shift the focus of my company to that area. I create hundreds of custom cookies each week for occasions of all kinds including birthdays, holidays, promotions, baby showers, weddings, gender reveals, and staff appreciation. I allow my customers’ full creative freedom when choosing a set. I allow them to choose any shapes, colors, or designs they would like me to use. I invested in a 3D printer to begin printing my own custom cookie cutters to really put the customer in the driver’s seat and watch their ideas come to life so that each set I produce was made extra special just for that customer. I always hated going to the grocery store as a kid and noticing everyone had to choose from the same photo book for birthday cakes and the only thing, we could change was the color of the icing or the name on the cake. With our cookies, you are 100% in control! 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
In May 2021 I partnered with the Cupcake Fetish Cafe located at 2286 McKelvey Rd. Maryland Heights, MO. 63043. I provide cookies in-store daily so even if you don’t have an event coming up soon, stop by the cafe to try one whenever you’re in the area. 

Pricing:

  • Standard Cookies Ex:(Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Back to School) Cookies include items specific to the holiday or theme but include no custom colors or personalization. 3.25 per cookie
  • Custom Cookies (Customer chooses shapes, colors, adds personalized names or ages) $4.00 per cookie
  • Characters/Logo (Hand drawn logos or approved characters, edible image cookies) 5.00 per cookie
  • All cookies are individually bagged and sealed and can be mixed and matched between categories.

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Amber Tomlin
Deva Williamson

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