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Hidden Gems: Meet Ashley Starnes of Baked by Ashley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Starnes.

Hi Ashley, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I started Baked by Ashley in 2019. I have always been into art and enjoyed baking from time to time. I was in middle school and having the summers off, I would be bored at home and bake. When my parents would get home from work I’d be so excited for them to try what I made and of course, they always told me they were good but come to find out, they were not. They later got dumped in the trash. Now they’re always asking for extras and mess ups so I guess you can say I’ve perfected my recipes!

I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do after high school. I tossed around being a sports medicine doctor, veterinarian, elephant trainer or sports and entertainment marketing. After 1 year at a community college, I came across a LeCordon Bleu ad and clicked on it. That week I had a meeting with one of the directors, enrolled that week, and started a few weeks later in their Baking and Patissiere program. After 9 months of school, I graduated and started a job at a restaurant called Bixby’s in the St. Louis History Museum.

After a few months at Bixby’s, I was given the opportunity to make my own special desserts which really expand my creativity in the kitchen. My chef and sous chef, Callaghan and Erik, were a huge party of my 3 years there. They pushed and challenged me to better myself in this industry. When I felt my time was up, I accepted a job with Butler’s Pantry. I started working as a pastry assistant making desserts with them and their sister bakery, Piccione’s. During this time I worked with a great group of girls who were extremely creative, outgoing, fun, and welcoming. I learned a lot from my coworkers during this time and have taken away a great wealth of knowledge. After a few years there, I moved on to 801 Chophouse and After a few months being the executive pastry chef, I had to step away to be a caregiver to my 96-year-old grandfather who passed 3 months later. Because I was unemployed at the time, I took the opportunity and started my own business.

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 has not always been a smooth road. Starting your own business is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work, late nights, commitment, dedication and a vision of what I want my business to be. It’s a one-person production which is hard and stressful sometimes. I’m taking customers’ orders, baking and decorating, packaging/delivering orders, running social media, and answering e-mails.

Because I do not yet have a storefront (delayed due to COVID-19), I rely heavily on social media and networking to grow my business. The storefront would give me an opportunity for walk-ins which is currently difficult to accommodate right now since all my items are made fresh for orders and I don’t keep any items in stock.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Baked by Ashley ?
Baked by Ashley is an at-home bakery that specializes in decorated sugar cookies and cakes (wedding, birthday, retirement, etc.) but also make anything from cheesecakes, brownies, cake pops to cinnamon rolls and banana bread.

I’m known for my artistic design and delicious products themselves. I like to know that people can give me a small idea of what they’re envisioning and I can make that come to life for them. I don’t repeat the same cookies for every themed order, I try to do different creations for every client. In this industry, I’m constantly learning new techniques, seeing new ideas, and watching tutorials every day to better myself, product and artistic ability to make sure my customers are always 100 percent satisfied with the order they’re receiving.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Pricing varies with product, size, and design. 7-10 day notice is greatly appreciated on all orders!

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  1. Kathy L Starnes

    September 17, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Great job Ashley. I’m so proud of you! Your products are extremely creative and delicious!

  2. Mary McBride

    September 23, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Ashley, Great seeing you at the Macklind Market a few weeks ago. The butter cake I
    purchased there was delicious, You can tell you use the best quality of ingredients. The photograph cookies you made & shipped for my sisters 95th birthday were wonderful & she was very happy with them. One of a kind for someone who has everything. Made it easy for me, Thanks for the suggestion.Can’t wait until you get your storefront….

  3. Georgia Paul

    February 19, 2022 at 1:47 am

    I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying many of your beautiful and yummy creations thru the years!! We were at your grand opening today in your new location!!! The cookies we bought were amazing!! Cannot wait to come visit soon and try more goodies!!!💝

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