Today we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Norder.
Hi Carrie, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
As a child, my family never had much money. My brothers and I had a very difficult upbringing in many ways. My husband has eight siblings and grew up very similar to me. I believe growing up with little money has actually made a positive influence on where and who we are today. We learned to be frugal, as well as understanding that your food may not always come from a restaurant or grocery store.
After meeting my husband nearly 20 years ago, we had very similar beliefs in how we would raise our family. We have always spent time together as a family. Fred and I do our best to have our date nights, but we have never looked at our children as an inconvenience, therefore we have often taken them wherever we go, which is why I sincerely believe that is why they are so very well behaved and respectful to others. That being said, one of the most important activities as a family is spending time in the kitchen. Each of our children know how to make their own meals and they know how to make good decisions on what to eat.
I have always had a love of baking and definitely wanted to pass this on to my children. Ever since I can remember, I have loved being in the kitchen making something, either from a recipe I was following or making my own.
Fast forward a few years and I was diagnosed with Scleroderma (among other things). This is a debilitating and life-altering disease. It made me working in the public sector very hard. January of 2021, we decided to make the jump of me leaving my job at that point and start baking full time. What began as a hobby several years ago, has evolved into a fully time and very rewarding job.
Without a passion for baking and the support of my family, I would certainly not have continued with our business. My hobby quickly turned into a business when people continued to order from me and would refer me to others. I found myself going from an order or two per day, to upwards of a dozen orders or more.
I had initially specialized in making and decorating cookies, but would occasionally be requested for cupcakes or cakes. I then found myself having to diversify my baking. I will admit, entering the realm of making cakes, especially wedding cakes, can be challenging, as I want them to be just as perfect as the bride and groom want them.
Through word-of-mouth and social media, the business ultimately exploded where I would have to close down an entire month due to the amount of orders to be filled. This will always be a family business, but there is only one baker…me. There were many days where I may start at 4:00 a.m. and not end until 11:00 p.m. or even later, but I still find it to be a blessing, even through the exhaustion.
I would have never guessed that making a few cookies for friends would have turned into such a success.
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?
I don’t believe it should ever be “smooth.” If it has always been smooth, I don’t think I would have learned as much as I have.
Along with ruining and having to remake what I was baking, whether it was because I was attempting to do too much at once or I had messed up the recipe, I have found that baking was only a fraction of my business. Working with customers’ specific orders, scheduling and deliveries can sometimes present certain challenges. In addition, we used to reside 10 minutes from a store, but after moving to the country, we are now 25 minutes from the nearest store for quick runs and one hour away from the store for specialized needs, therefore I have to be deliberate when purchasing supplies, as each trip takes away from my baking and deliveries, although most of what I make is from scratch, so I can’t have a large amount of supplies sitting on shelves due to the potential for spoilage which can also be a challenge.
We’ve been impressed with Carrie’s Sweet Treats, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Carrie’s Sweet Treats is a small family-owned home-based baking business nestled in Grayson County, Kentucky, which specializes in providing cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.
We offer a variety of baked goods specific to the customer’s needs, to include gluten-free and sugar-free orders.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
I wish to continue with providing for our phenomenal customer base, but my ultimate dream and goal is to develop baking supplies and utensils.
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