What It's About
Sweet profits rise from the oven in the form of cinnamon rolls.
Words of Wisdom
Tyson and Christa began in a simple, low-risk way that was good for both them and their family. They simply saw something that they enjoyed doing and started a path to see if others would enjoy the fruit of their labor. They were very patient and that allowed them to see if this was a product that people really liked and would continue to buy, so they were able to grow as people demanded instead starting with a lot of product and needing people to come buy. This also created little to no pressure and that has helped it continue to be something they enjoy.
Tyson and Christa got inspired to start the business after one old college friend told them Christa’s cinnamon rolls were the best he’d had six years after trying them, and another friend asked if she could get a batch of cinnamon rolls to keep in her freezer. They thought, maybe people would actually buy these rolls, and that instinct has led to some pretty sweet returns.
Notes from Chris
The sweet smell of cinnamon wafts through the air as dough rises in the oven. Three kids race around under her legs as Christa Lee preps another pan of cinnamon rolls. What started out as a love of baking has turned into a way to bring in some extra dough on the side to the tune of $15,000 a year for this family of five. Christa has always loved baking, but after some high praise from friends who were big fans of her cinnamon rolls, she and her husband Tyson wondered if they might be able to actually sell the rolls to other people out of their home. To get this cinnamon-venture rolling, they made a Facebook page and an Instagram account and posted that they would be taking orders. Within the first week, they sold 11 pans, and LoveLee Rolls was born. The name is a play on the hashtag they had used at their wedding the year before—a LoveLee Wedding. Things grew quickly once the word started getting out about LoveLee Rolls. Perhaps a little too quickly for the small kitchen they work out of from home. With only one small oven, one refrigerator and one small freezer, the prep time could get very time-consuming. Currently, they are working under the Cottage Food Law of Mississippi, which allows them to work out of their kitchen without having to be certified by the health department. But it has a lot of limitations on how they are able to sell the product—capping their sales at $20,000 a year and putting strict guidelines on who they can sell to and how they can advertise. Despite these limitations, their business still grew through word-of-mouth and community events they attended. But Christa and Tyson did come to a point a few years ago where the Cottage Food Law hindered how they wanted to grow the business. They decided the next step would be to sell out of a commercial kitchen built in their backyard, where they could have more freedom but still have a home-based business. A local shop in town had recently done a Kickstarter campaign, so the Lee family thought this could be the perfect way to get the funding they needed to build a commercial kitchen in their backyard. Once that was set, Christa and Tyson put up a campaign on Kickstarter in October of 2016. Within a few months, they surpassed their goal of $35,000. They’re now just weeks away from finishing everything up and plan to fully launch as the springtime unfolds. Since the kitchen will be certified by the health department, they will finally be able to advertise online and are launching a new website with the ability to order online. Hopefully, they’ll send us a few here at Side Hustle School to test out! A love-lee story that shows following your passions, especially when it involves delicious cinnamon rolls, can be a great way to cushion your finances.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- LoveLee Rolls: Connect with this carb-friendly family over on their Instagram or Facebook pages
- Kickstarter | Lovelee Kitchen: The crowdsharing campaign that the Lee's used to fund their backyard commercial kitchen
- Cottage Law: Interested in starting your own baking side hustle? Here are the cottage laws in the U.S. by state
- High School Students Earn $10k in Profits Selling Bread at Farmers Markets: A brother-and-sister duo learns about entrepreneurship first hand when they create a side hustle baking and selling bread at their local farmer’s market. Each of them purchases their first car with the profits!
- Fidget Spinner Cookie Sensation Leads to Sweet Profits: A media producer receives national attention when she tries her hand at making edible fidget spinner cookies
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