If you've had the chance to take one of Mindy Sepeti's Cookie Decorating Workshops in our studio, you already know that Mindy has one of the most contagious smiles around town! In addition to sharing her passion through teaching, Mindy and her newlywed husband, Kenny, own and operate Mindy's Bakeshop—a from-scratch bakery and dessert catering company in Austin. As another local boss babe, we wanted to sit down with Mindy to find out more about her inspiration behind everything cookies, cakes and small business! Plus: don't forget to check out the awesome video we put together of Mindy's decorating skills in action👇🏼. We know we can't be the only ones obsessed with clips like these!!
When/How/Why did you open Mindy’s Bakeshop?
After several years of baking on the side while holding full-time kitchen jobs, my husband and I decided to take the big leap in June of 2015! We quit our day jobs and put everything we had into making this our reality because we were equally passionate about a) producing the highest quality bespoke baked good around and b) working in our pajamas every day!
What is your favorite thing about what you do?
Oh gosh, there are so many favorite things to choose from! Doing what I love on a daily basis is maybe the most significant. Watching people go nuts over a cake or a set of cookies. Getting the emails saying that their guests raved about the desserts at an event. It’s so satisfying to know that you’re making people happy on some small level. The working in pajamas part is a close second!
Buttercream or cream cheese frosting?
This feels a little like choosing a favorite child! But generally, unless it’s carrot cake (which just happens to be one of my most favorite things in life... and using anything other than cream cheese frosting would be an abomination) or red velvet, I’m a Swiss meringue buttercream gal.
What's your proudest small business moment?
I think the biggest moment for us came last year when Instagram invited us to participate in a small panel of local business owners at their Austin Headquarters. It felt like such an achievement for this tiny home-based bakery to be recognized by such an important platform
Do you have any advice for those looking to start their own small business?
Save save save!! Be prepared financially. Taking that leap is scary and you need to be able to support yourself during the slow seasons (and, there will be slow seasons). So going in with a safety net is really important. Also, get out there! Meet as many people as you can and build a network of support. Community is everything as a small biz owner and having good relationships with the people around you is important from both a business aspect and an emotional aspect.
What’s your process for choosing new flavor combinations and ideas for your cookies/cakes?
We pay attention to everything! You never know when inspiration will strike. When it comes to cake flavors, we keep a running list of ideas that we add to pretty regularly and then on our days off will play around with what works + what doesn't.
Are there any Instagrammers you seek inspiration from or think we should be following?
Always! I’m always inspired by @glitterandlazers (her use of color and her perspective on life makes me smile every single day), @fujifiles (her posts always inspire me to pursue new challenges and perspectives, plus her dog is SUH CUTE), and @maggiegentry_ (her feed is somehow calming and exhilarating all at the same time and her words always motivate me to keep on keepin’ on when it comes to small biz ownership).
Who are some of your favorite local makers?
I cannot get enough of Benjamin Soap Co. (best candles in the city, imho) and I loooove Confituras for all things jarred and pickled! When it comes to jewelry and clothing, I’m a huge Nina Berenato and Daisy Natives fan. But really, have you seen the talent in the city?! There are too many amazing makers to count.
What’s your favorite dessert spot in Austin?
Elizabeth Street Cafe for the caneles, Blue Dahlia Bistro for the creme brûlée, or Amy’s Ice Cream for a scoop of Mexican Vanilla with crushed up strawberries. All three are like a little piece of heaven on earth! (Also, I obviously have a thing for custard…)
Any exciting plans for Mindy’s Bakeshop in the next year?
We just launched our seasonal and custom DIY Cookie Kits, so that’s been a lot of fun, and we’re also so excited to focus more on cookie decorating workshops around the city (...and maybe even state!) Other than that, we’re keeping our heads down and working hard in the hopes that we can move this home-based bakeshop into an actual house next year. Operating out of a tiny apartment comes with challenges and, while we love it, we’re so ready for a home to call our own with room for Mindy’s Bakeshop to flourish and the ability to serve more clients!
*Photo of Mindy + Kenny by Chelsea Laine Francis Photography