Small Business Spotlight - Julie Reed // Sweets by Julie
This interview was conducted as a part of YourLocalBizPro’s Small Business Spotlight. Julie Reed, the owner of Sweets by Julie, was gracious enough to participate and include an exclusive promotion of 15% off your next order when you mention this post!
What inspired you to open Sweets by Julie?
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007 and have struggled for a long time to find great baked goods. Before opening Sweets by Julie, holidays would make me “food sad” - especially at Christmas. I remember growing up sitting in front of a huge tray of cookies with my family eating and sharing memories. I hated that I couldn't enjoy Christmas cookies with them anymore. WHO DOESN'T LOVE CHRISTMAS COOKIES!! Some of my favorite cookies are thumbprints, snowballs and sugar cookies. Also, my aunt used to make homemade fudge with rainbow marshmallows, oh how I miss eating them. Ever since I was diagnosed I have always baked for myself. I had a career in the eye care field and just lived like everyone else - without! I didn't eat so many of my favorite foods anymore. Once I became a stay-at-home mom, I had some time to really try different gluten free flours and a stack of recipes that I collected over the years. The first cookie I mastered was a Christmas sugar cookie with buttercream frosting. I couldn't believe how good they were! I ate the entire dozen and decided at THAT EXACT MOMENT I was going to try and make this a business! I was going to give my community somewhere they could order AMAZING gluten free baked goods!!
Is there anyone from your childhood who encouraged your entrepreneurial spirit?
My parents always encouraged me to do what makes me happy!
Who in your adult life inspires and encourages your entrepreneurial spirit?
My husband is my number one supporter. He is my taste-tester, even though he does not have to eat gluten free. If he says something is amazing, then I add it to the menu! He encourages me to keep moving forward. We are currently in the process of turning our playroom into a dedicated gluten free baking room! I also have a group of women, The Power House, who have helped guide me in my baking journey. They are women who always have your back in any way you can imagine! I'm so thankful to have them.
What made you decide to include gluten-free treats as part of your business model?
I am a dedicated gluten free baker because of Celiac Disease. I do not bake with regular flour because of the risk of cross contamination. I have not bought regular flour since 2007. I'm lucky that my family supports me and eats gluten free with me. My husband gets upset when I tell him he can't bake a regular pizza in the oven. Only gluten free food is allowed in our oven!
What is your favorite thing to bake?
Hmmm......there are so many things to bake. So many new recipes to try. Ummm.....I would have to choose between brownies and chocolate chip cookies. The reason I would choose one of those is to eat the batter! Who doesn't like to eat batter? Uncooked batter is not advised to eat due to raw ingredients, but it is yummy and it brings back childhood memories of baking with my mom.
What is your business mission and why is it important to you personally?
My mission is to provide everyone in our community, regardless of food restrictions, a chance to eat homemade, quality baked goods. I also bake some recipes dairy free and soy free too. I want everyone to have a chance to enjoy food again even though they have food restrictions. I want to make that possible for them. I want to make sure that 5 year old Sally can order a professional homemade gluten free birthday cake and have the best birthday EVER! I can relate to my customers because I also can't eat certain foods just like them, and it sucks!
*Originally posted on January 17th, 2021*