ENTREPRENEURSHIP ECOSYSTEM STORIES
Over the past two and a half years, Marykate Kessinger has pursued her passions of baking and helping others create memories and celebrate through her custom cakes and cookies business, Marycakes Delights.
In our interview, Marykate told us more about her journey as an entrepreneur and managing her business while attending Beaumont School.
Tell us a little about your journey to entrepreneurship. Who helped you get started as an entrepreneur?
I began my journey with the help of my mom and my uncle. My mom is dedicated to helping me pursue my dreams as a young entrepreneur. Together we have navigated through the first couple years of growing a business. She is excellent with scheduling, communicating with customers, and preparing for orders. My uncle graduated from Boston College with a degree in business and now owns CrossFit Distinction. His enthusiasm for my business has taught me an extensive amount of business skills.
What is Marycakes Delights and how has it developed over the years? Where do you hope to see your business in the future?
Marycakes Delights is a small business that strives to captivate the joy in every celebration through custom desserts. My skill set and aesthetic has tremendously evolved in the past two and a half years. My passion for baking and meeting new people continues to grow with each handoff of my creations. I hope to graduate from business school and open my very own bakery in Cleveland.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an entrepreneur and how do you overcome them?
I am often asked how I manage balancing baking, a social life, and school. Although it can become overwhelming at times I have the greatest support system. I push myself to work ahead of my projects and schedule each detail on a calendar with my mom. I split each order into smaller, more manageable tasks that I can accomplish throughout the week. As Marycakes continues to grow and reach a wider audience, I have to cope with saying no to customers, which has always been tough. I have to remind myself that it is impossible to fit everyone into my schedule and that I have an entire future packed with opportunities to work with customers. Finding a cost for each product gets harder as I grow and increase my overhead. Doubt comes along with increasing costs, but I am constantly encouraging myself to take note of how much time and money I put into my work.
Have you participated in any Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum (VYEF) programs? How was your experience?
During my freshman year, I won second place in the Upcycle: Enterprise competition for my presentation of a business that would both help the community and bring people together. I was pleased to take part in such an encouraging program and I was thrilled to join other events.
Do you find value in using an entrepreneurial mindset in other settings besides your business?
I live in a world of incredible chaos. I use my patience and time management skills in most settings. My ability to handle highly chaotic situations has made me a great leader in sports, clubs, and outside jobs such as babysitting. My desire to explore new avenues of creativity has led me to discover many artistic outlets such as sewing, interior design, and sculpting.
What advice do you have for other students who are interested in starting a business or developing an idea?
My most valuable piece of advice is to have confidence and avoid comparing yourself to other, more experienced entrepreneurs. Comparing only causes a lack of confidence and a string of doubt that takes over your passion. Every entrepreneur has a unique process of creating their products. From communicating with a customer all the way to delivery, each person has found what works for them, so it is important to be patient and try new things. Stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing every fresh idea will prepare you for every hardship you face on your journey.