Philadelphia, PA - PhillyBite Magazine's Contributing Writer Karen Macaraya recently sat down with Elizabeth Miles, the woman behind Sweet Ladybug Baked Goods to spotlight this small business owner at: .2570 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, PA 19020
Interview with Sweet Ladybug Baked Goods - Elizabeth Miles
Where are you from?
A: I live in Willow Grove PA. I grew up in the Northeast section of Philadelphia, in Mayfair.
How long have you been baking?
A: I’ve been baking forever. I probably started when I was 10yrs old. I used a recipe from a cookbook in my grandpa’s collection, and I’ve been baking ever since. He loved to cook and cooked for our family. I’ve always been in the kitchen next to him. Baking is something I’ve always been around, and it’s something that I love.
When did you decide to pursue baking professionally?
A: It has always been a dream. When I fell in love with baking, which happened immediately, I’ve always had a vision of owning a little coffee shop with fresh baked goods. As I got older and had kids, I decided to go for it.
What difficulties have you experienced as you opened your bakery?
A: I’ve had a couple. With social media, it was learning the technology and how to use it effectively. Secondly, I would honestly say as a woman sometimes people don’t take you seriously. I’ve been to events where my husband came with me, and people automatically assume that it’s his business. Sometimes they seem as if they’re not willing to talk to me. My husband has even said, “she’s the boss.” That’s been a struggle. One of the goals for this location is to use the space for networking. I want to be able to have meetings held for groups of women that can share stories, tips and be a type of support for each other. It’s hard for women, no matter what profession.
Do you have any signature items?
A: We have our gluten-free coffee cakes and our gluten-free lemon cookies. For our non-gluten items, we have cinnamon rolls, and cinnamon chipped coffee cake. Those are top items.
Which item do you enjoy baking the most?
A: The cinnamon rolls. I love anything like a bread item. I love feeling the dough. It’s relaxing for me to have my hands in there, kneading it.
What would you consider the essential tip for baking?
A: There are so many! Take your time, measure properly, read through your recipes before you get started. I’ve been in situations that I thought would be easy. Then I get to a step and realize I should’ve prepped better. When we teach classes here, one of the goals is to educate people not to be intimidated. It’s ok if you make mistakes. Sometimes the best things come out when you’re not expecting a particular outcome. It’s important to have fun and go with it sometimes. When it comes to cookies, they’re going to be great no matter what!
Do you teach classes for adults and children?
A: We do both. We have a couple of kids scheduled, and we have some for adults as well. I want to make cooking and baking accessible to everyone. I want to make it simple. I want to let people know you don’t have to be afraid to be in the kitchen. It doesn’t have to take a million hours to prepare something amazing, and it's with delicious ingredients.
Where can the information be found on the classes held here?
A: You can visit our website at www.letsbakecookiecompany.com or on our Facebook page as well at Sweet Ladybug Baked Goods LLC.
Are there any skills or techniques that you’re currently trying to perfect?
A: One thing is the high-end custom decorating. I haven’t mastered it yet. We make some custom cakes, but when it comes to wedding cakes or something that detailed it’s not my skill set.
If you could have anyone in the world bake for you, who would it be?
A: Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. One of my favorite cookbooks is a Nigella Lawson cookbook. I would want to have anyone who focuses on simple and natural ingredients and a comforting recipe.
Do you have any advice for someone who’s wanting to bake professionally?
A: Just do it and have fun with it. It does take time to build your brand. Everyone isn’t going to want to buy your product. There’s also a health-conscious demographic out there. Try to pick a lane and go for it. It’s much fun, and it's gratifying. I love what I do. You get to see the smiles on people’s faces. The expression you get when you know someone likes your product is a happy moment. Whether it’s baking or anything else, do it.
Where would you like you to see Sweet Ladybug Baked Goods within the next five years?
A: We’re going to continue to expand the gluten-free product line. We want to do a few farmers markets and events this year. We will sell in this location and try to grow. I want people to know that gluten-free can taste amazing. There’s a look that people sometimes get when they’re hesitant to try something after hearing it’s gluten-free. We want to help conquer that fear and know that it can still taste good. For Sweet Ladybug and Let’s Bake Company, we are one company under two names. For Let’s Bake, we want to get the word out that Sweet Ladybug is here for events and push the education and classes available.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
A: Everything made from scratch. We use simple ingredients. We want to get back into doing farmers markets. We’ll pick up things like apples and zucchini or peaches from the farmers market. For here in the store, we also want to focus locally. We’ll feature a Maker’s Space for local one of a kind, handmade items. We have handmade candles, dreamcatchers and even dog cookies from small local businesses. We’re looking for artists to come to put some of their artwork up as well. We want to make this a community space. It’s more than just the cookies and cupcakes. We’re here to do it, and we want to help other small local businesses get their word out as well.