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Elisa Marie Lords with Elisa Marie Baking

Podcast Episode #115 —

Elisa Marie Lords with Elisa Marie Baking

00:00 / 1:00:00

Elisa Marie Lords lives in Placentia, CA and sells southern-inspired baked goods with her cottage food business, Elisa Marie Baking.

Elisa spent many years as a professional pastry chef, and when the pandemic hit in 2020, she finally took the leap into starting her own bakery from home.

Although her sales were slow at first, she didn’t give up and now sells hundreds of products per week via local markets and wholesale locations.

In this episode, she shares how she built up a community of customers and business partners that have helped sustain her growing home bakery.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to deal with early business challenges and slow starts
  • The importance of self-education when starting your own bakery
  • How to foster a strong community and network that helps support your business
  • The significance of perseverance and passion in turning a hobby into a profitable business
  • Which social media techniques will build your brand identity and expand your reach
  • Why participating in fair competitions can help validate your product quality and boost confidence
  • The benefits of embracing your role as the face of your brand
  • How a multi-channel sales strategy will make your business more sustainable
  • The value of preparation and organization in managing a high-volume product output from home
  • How to overcome personal obstacles, like imposter syndrome, when growing your business
  • The importance of having a clear vision for your business and making decisions that align with it
  • How strategic pricing can attract customers without compromising the quality or profitability of your product
  • How to increase the chances of lucky breaks in business


Elisa Marie Baking website (Instagram | Youtube | Facebook | TikTok)

The Business of Baking by Michelle Green

California Cottage Food Law

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This transcript was computer-generated, so there may be errors

David Crabill: Welcome to the Forrager Podcast, where I talk with cottage food entrepreneurs about their strategies for running a food business from home. I’m David Crabill, and today I’m talking with Elisa Marie Lords.

[00:00:11] But real quick, I wanted to check, have you created a website for your business yet? And if you have, do you pay for it?

[00:00:19] A lot of entrepreneurs still think they need to spend money to get a good website, and that is simply not true anymore. I am a really big fan of Square Online. That’s what I use for my fudge business’ website. And I created a free tutorial that will walk you through how to set up a totally free website in less than one hour.

[00:00:37] And in case you think free also means cheap, it’s actually quite the opposite. I think Square Online is hands down the very best website tool for most cottage food businesses. So if you want to learn more, you can watch my free tutorial by going to All right, so I have Elisa on the show today. She lives in Placentia, California, and sells Southern inspired baked goods with her cottage food business, Elisa Marie Baking. Elisa spent many years as a professional pastry chef and when the pandemic hit in 2020, she finally took the leap into starting her own bakery from home.

[00:01:14] Although her sales were slow at first, she didn’t give up and now sells hundreds of products per week via local markets and wholesale locations.

[00:01:25] In this episode, she shares how she built up a community of customers and business partners that have helped sustain her growing home bakery and the many lessons that she learned along the way. And with that, let’s jump right into this episode. Welcome to the show, Elisa. Nice to have you here.

[00:01:44] Elisa Marie Lords: It’s nice to be here, David. Thank you.

[00:01:47] David Crabill: Well, Elisa, can you take me back to the beginning of this journey? How did it all get started?

[00:01:51] Elisa Marie Lords: Oh, wow. Uh, I’m like, how far back do you want to go? so I was a professional pastry chef in Chicago. I worked for a corporate catering company and my husband and I needed to move back to Southern California for family. So we moved back here right when the pandemic hit. So I wasn’t able to basically find work.

[00:02:15] And so my husband just looked at me and he’s like, you’ve always wanted a bakery, just do a bakery. So I took myself to school and taught myself cottage law and started the bakery. And that my first market was June during the pandemic.

[00:02:30] David Crabill: Yeah. So very early on in the pandemic. So it’s funny cause you probably know that a lot of people started in the pandemic and it was because, you know, they had all this newfound time or whatever, but with you, it sounds like you aren’t following trends or anything. It’s something that you’d been thinking about for some time, right?

[00:02:49] Elisa Marie Lords: Oh yeah. Years and years.

[00:02:53] David Crabill: So if it weren’t for the pandemic, do you think you still wouldn’t have a bakery today?

[00:02:59] Elisa Marie Lords: honestly, probably not. There was a lot of things going on at the pandemic. We had just moved. So a lot of things were up in the air and. not sure. I think, there’s a chance I may have put it off, but I’m really glad I didn’t. And that even though things were crazy, it ended up with this bakery that I love.

[00:03:20] David Crabill: Well, you said you dreamed about it for a long time. You’d worked for a bakery before. What do you think held you back from taking this leap earlier in your life?

[00:03:30] Elisa Marie Lords: honestly I’ve heard some other bakers on your podcast talk about it, but I deal with anxiety and imposter syndrome. So it’s very easy for me to Be kind of my worst enemy. So it’s been a really big growth for me to be able to do this and become the face of my company and even run. It has been really big for me

[00:03:52] David Crabill: well, you clearly have a big background in baking. So can you share a little bit more about that? you said you worked for a caterer, I think. can you just expand on that a little bit more?

[00:04:02] Elisa Marie Lords: So I started baking when I was three years old. We have pictures of me baking biscuits with my mom at three. And then I baked my whole life. I used to do dinner theater acting gigs to get money to bake on the weekends. Then My husband and I moved to Chicago and I was working an office job.

[00:04:22] it was not good for my soul. I spent every moment thinking about what I was going to bake when I got home. So I finally just asked my husband, I was like, Hey I think I’m going to quit. Is that okay? And he was like, I guess he’s like, let’s count the savings. So I quit my corporate job with no backup plan.

[00:04:40] And three weeks later I was hired as a pastry assistant. For a chain of bakeries in Chicago. And then from there, I just worked my way up. Every job I took a new position a little bit higher until I was a pastry chef at a corporate catering company. So I’m completely self taught, but I have professional background.

[00:04:58] David Crabill: I mean, it sounds like you’ve had quite a bit of experience. And the commercial food production world. What do you feel like that experience taught you that you’ve now carried forward into your cottage food business?

[00:05:13] Elisa Marie Lords: Probably the biggest thing that my professional background has taught me is Preparation. before I had a professional background, I just knew, oh, I’m going to bake a cake today, and then I’ll decorate it and whatever. But what my professional background taught me is, You know, we can make the cake on Tuesday, wrap that really tightly, get that chilling, then we can add a milk soak to it, then we’ll do the crumb coat to it the next day, and then we’ll decorate it on the last day and serve it the next day.

[00:05:41] So, instead of stressing out all day long trying to get this cake made, now I know the steps of what I can do beforehand to make my job at the end easier.

[00:05:51] David Crabill: I know a lot of professional bakers talk about the stressfulness and like how, demanding it is. Was that your experience?

[00:06:01] Elisa Marie Lords: One hundred and fifty percent. I went from, maybe making cookies on the weekend to share with my friends to making 700, 800 brownies a day. Literally overnight. It was definitely stressful at the beginning. a funny little story,

[00:06:16] day three on the job, I have made an entire sheet rack, full of brownies. it’s taller than I am, and every single shelf has two half sheet pans of brownies.

[00:06:27] So every single shelf has 24 brownies. We’re talking hundreds of brownies. I finish them all being made, I’m wheeling them to the cooler, I lose control of the speed rack, and it flies, and it hits something, and every single brownie flew out. All the brownies. And we had no time and no supplies to make any more.

[00:06:45] And I remember my boss just going, Oh God. And one of the dishwashers ran up and he was like, I’ll clean this up. He’s like, Oh, don’t worry. And I looked at my boss and I said, If you’ll excuse me for a minute, I’m going to run to the restroom and cry for a minute. And so I ran into the restroom and I just bawled.

[00:07:03] I could not believe that I had ruined all those brownies. And now none of the stores were going to have brownies that week. And I dried up my tears and I came out and I fought tears the rest of the day, but then I made my cookies and I went home. And later my pastry chef told me, he was like, I’ve never seen anybody do that. Hopefully, what people get out of that is, something’s going to go wrong and it could be really, really big. Feel everything you need to feel, do everything you need to do and get right back in. Just keep going.

[00:07:33] David Crabill: you feel like that has enabled you to approach your cottage food business with, I don’t know, a little more grace or just not stressing out about every little thing?

[00:07:44] Elisa Marie Lords: I think so. I, I think that, I mean, don’t get me wrong. Having a cottage law business has its own stressors because, you know, now I’m not just worried about my pastry budget. Now I’m worried about doing my taxes and all my permits. So it does bring a different level of stress. But I think it has definitely allowed me.

[00:08:02] Especially in baking, a little more grace.

[00:08:04] David Crabill: How important do you feel like your culinary background is in Okay,

[00:08:14] Elisa Marie Lords: I think it’s definitely important in the way that it’s part of what makes me, me. And I think that it’s allowed me to do much bigger orders than I think people sometimes can when they very first start baking. again, brownies, if you get an order for 300 brownies, and you’ve only ever made 12 at a time, it can be daunting.

[00:08:32] So I think that that’s helped me grow because I can absorb those amounts and those orders. And I think the other part of it is you know, when I was a pastry chef, people would come to me my head chef with pitches wanting us to sell their products. So I was able to be on the other side of that and see.

[00:08:51] what pitches look good, what pitches don’t look good. And I was able to carry that information in owning my cottage law bakery for me to be able to get the door open for me.

[00:08:59] David Crabill: when you started the cottage food business, not only were you a very skilled baker, but you also even had some of the sales piece too. That’s right.

[00:09:09] Elisa Marie Lords: Correct.

[00:09:10] David Crabill: So when you started it in 2020, what do you feel like you had to learn in order to get your business off the ground

[00:09:18] Elisa Marie Lords: Everything. You know, I was able to come at it with baking knowledge. I was able to come at it With some sales knowledge, but I was a full, absolute gap of every other piece of information. I didn’t know how to run a cottage law. I didn’t know how to apply for a cottage law. I didn’t know How to do my own taxes.

[00:09:36] I didn’t know what business permits I needed. I didn’t know licensing. I had to teach myself All of that. it was slow, very slow, but I’m glad I did it. And now I try to be, anyone that asks me questions, I’m like, what do you need to know?

[00:09:49] I’m not going to keep anything. I think that especially out here in Southern California, the small businesses, we really tend to stick together as opposed to compete. And that was invaluable. Being able to call up my friend and be like, Hey, how did you do this? So that helped with the gaps too.

[00:10:06] David Crabill: And you started the business shortly after you moved to Southern California, correct?

[00:10:11] Elisa Marie Lords: Correct.

[00:10:12] David Crabill: So do you feel like that added a whole extra set of barriers and that you didn’t necessarily have a network to lean on?

[00:10:20] Elisa Marie Lords: Absolutely. I grew up in the South and my family all still live in Kentucky and Oklahoma. And my husband’s family is very small. It’s, an aunt and a pair of cousins. That’s it. So I moved out here with no friends. No support system a very small family. I couldn’t, you know, rely on family to buy the baked goods to pay my bills. So, I had to build a community and even being an introvert, get out there and meet people that are doing it and meet people that, you know, want baked goods and artisanal goods and definitely a big hurdle when you don’t have like a full support system. You know, if I had started this in Kentucky, my family could have bought enough baked goods that I would be fine.

[00:10:58] But having to build that community while you’re trying to build a business was hard, especially the pandemic. So I couldn’t really make friends.

[00:11:06] David Crabill: So what did you learn through that? Like how did you end up finding customers or finding other business owners that could, Help you when you needed help.

[00:11:15] Elisa Marie Lords: Yeah. The biggest thing for me was when I started doing markets. luckily I live in Southern California, so markets are year round down here. So as soon as everything started opening up, we were allowed to do outdoor activities again. Then I literally just went on Instagram and searched markets.

[00:11:34] And I found one and I did that market for years. you get to know, Oh, hey, that’s the lady that has the coffee, but she also does a cottage law bakery. Let me ask her some questions. You know, and you’re seeing like the same customers, you’re seeing the same small business people, mean, Orange County is a pretty big place in my terms, but, I can almost go to any market in Orange County and see somebody I know, because we’re all doing this hustle together.

[00:12:02] David Crabill: All right. So you relied really heavily on markets. Did you also do many direct sales in the early days?

[00:12:07] Elisa Marie Lords: In the very, very early days, it was only direct sales. So times were fairly lean. randomly, someone would order for their office. You know, and what little family we had would order. So I did get direct sales from that. Then moving forward, almost all of my direct sales came from being at a market.

[00:12:27] And then now most of my direct sales are either from my, wholesale accounts where people are selling my products or from my Instagram or YouTube show. That’s where almost all my. New sales are coming from right now, but in the beginning it was very much markets.

[00:12:42] David Crabill: So I think you said that you started selling in June of 2020. Was that when you started the markets or did you start markets later than that?

[00:12:52] Elisa Marie Lords: I did my first market in June of 2020 .

[00:12:57] David Crabill: Then did you start selling before June even?

[00:13:01] Elisa Marie Lords: I had a bakery, but I wouldn’t say I was selling. It was probably like the week or two before the pandemic shut us down. Cause I remember visiting my parents and being like, I’m going to do this. So I would say I was open for sales, but sales were not there.

[00:13:18] David Crabill: Okay, so there were a few months there. Obviously, pandemic made it more interesting, but were you frustrated for those three months or so? Did you expect to start getting sales faster? Can you just walk me through what those few months before you started doing the markets were like?

[00:13:36] Elisa Marie Lords: Oh, absolutely. I think when you, take the step to start your own business. You kind of have, you know, heart eyes. You very much are like, well, I have good stuff and I have a website now and I’m going to get sales. And that was not what happened with me at all.

[00:13:56] And I was very frustrated for those first few months. During that time, my husband came up with my personal slogan that I use. And he said to me, he was like, just quit, quit a hundred times a day and then wake up tomorrow and get in the bakery. And that’s kind of been my motto ever since.

[00:14:12] but those first few months were very frustrating and disheartening

[00:14:19] David Crabill: Do you think that because the pandemic was happening at the same time that you were able to justify The fact that you weren’t getting sales, like if the pandemic wasn’t happening and you had three months of non existent sales, do you think you would have and not started the next morning?

[00:14:39] Elisa Marie Lords: honestly, probably yes. my husband and I have every cent that started this business came from us. So we sat down and we figured out how much we had. And how long I could be without work. And the pandemic definitely extended that for me. if the pandemic had not been there, I probably would have quit.

[00:14:59] David Crabill: Well, it sounds like the markets helped turn things around. So what was your first market day like?

[00:15:05] Elisa Marie Lords: so I had gone probably the week before, I had taken the two fire departments in our town, some cookies and hand pies. to kind of get my name out because I wasn’t making any sales anyway. So I took that to them and one of them goes, Hey, we’re doing a fundraising market next week.

[00:15:23] Do you want to do it? And I was like, sure. So then that gave me a week to scramble and get signage, props, tents, everything you need for the market. And then I was still packaging like 30 minutes before I had to leave. real quick did my hair and makeup, showed up, and I was the only vendor. None of the other vendors had showed up at all. So, I’m just by myself, just, you know, this little 5’6 girl trying to put up a 10 tent she’s never seen before. So luckily I was there with Fireman and they helped. But, I was just terrified. I was like, this is the litmus test. I think my stuff is good. My husband thinks my stuff is good. But like, this is the test and luckily people liked it.

[00:16:00] So yeah, my first market was just me by myself at a fundraiser at a brewery in the middle of Orange County, but I sold out, so not all bad.

[00:16:11] David Crabill: So that was a one off market. Is that why you moved into markets? Or did you delay moving into markets because the pandemic was happening and maybe markets weren’t as prevalent? When did you actually commit to going to a market on a consistent basis?

[00:16:25] Elisa Marie Lords: I think that was definitely my entry point. Up until that point, I knew there were farmer’s markets that were run by the city that they’re in, and I had applied to a few of those, but had not gotten any responses back or was told they had too many sweets vendors already. So doing that market was like, huh, so it doesn’t need to be a farmer’s market. And that’s when I started searching for other markets. And I’ve done,

[00:16:50] the markets that I enjoy and that are profitable.

[00:16:55] David Crabill: So did you find that a certain type of market worked really well for you?

[00:17:00] Elisa Marie Lords: Absolutely. Funny enough, I do worse at food markets than I do any other markets. If it’s labeled like a foodie market or a sweets market, I do not do as well. I’ve been doing the downtown Fullerton farmer’s market. This is my third year now, and I love that market. I will always say yes to doing that market.

[00:17:22] David Crabill: So you said you don’t do as well at a foodie market. Why do you think that is?

[00:17:28] Elisa Marie Lords: You know, I’ve thought about it and the simple answer that I want to say is it’s oversaturated . by the time they get into the foodie market, already walked by six or seven sweet vendors before they get to you. And your stuff may be Absolutely killer, which I hope my stuff is, but if they’ve already had three ice creams, it’s harder to sell them a cookie to take home. So I think that would be easy answer. I think it is just, they came to eat, they eat. And if you aren’t the first thing they eat, it’s hard for people to get to you. It’s hard to sell them.

[00:18:00] David Crabill: What do you think differentiates your products from other vendors?

[00:18:03] Elisa Marie Lords: I use absolutely no mixes, no shortcuts at all. If I give you a strawberry pie, I cut those strawberries and made the filling myself. I made that pie dough. If I baked you a cake, I’ve literally baked you a cake from scratch. No preservatives, no shortcuts, no mixes ever. Everything that I sell has a personal story to me. I sell the chocolate chip cookie that my mom made me when I came home from school. And I use my pastry chef knowledge, to bump it up, to make it, you know, I may not make it the same way my mom did, but I’m using those same recipes.

[00:18:36] It’s my grandma’s recipes, my great grandma’s recipes. You know, my husband’s family’s recipes. Everything has a personal story and an attachment to it. my motto is fresh baked love because that’s What I do, you know, when I get in my kitchen, I put on my headphones, turn on a podcast and just bake from scratch from my heart,

[00:18:55] David Crabill: well, we haven’t actually really talked about what you sell. Can you just give a quick rundown of what’s on your

[00:19:04] Elisa Marie Lords: absolutely. was raised in the South by a very Southern mother. So everything I sell has my short elevator speech is it’s southern style baked goods. So it’s scones. My bestseller is my brownie by far right now between markets and selling directly wholesale to businesses, I’m doing 300 brownies a week and that’s actually going up.

[00:19:29] That’s my bestseller by far. Chocolate chip cookies banana bread I do enter the fair a lot, so I have a lot of fair items, blueberry tarts, apple pies I do jams and jellies as well, but yeah, I just specialize in that sweet treat. That if you go to your mom’s house or your grandma’s house, she would always just have there.

[00:19:51] David Crabill: You were definitely the first person that I know of who Their most popular item is brownies, because I feel like brownies, they have such a low perceived value, generally speaking. I’m sure you sell them for a pretty good price, but why do you think your brownies work so well?

[00:20:08] Elisa Marie Lords: I literally start every batch of brownies with a pound of butter and a pound of chocolate. I don’t do any shortcuts at all. And I think that the mixture of my dark chocolate and, semi sweet chocolate gives it a little bit of depth.

[00:20:22] It’s also a gooey brownie. I’m not a cake brownie girl, so I wanted to create a really great gooey brownie, and that’s what I did. And I think that’s why they’re so popular. They tend to be a more grown up brownie. tends to be just a little bit more refined, but it’s still just a brownie. that’s the answer I should say, but the real answer is, I don’t know. They have blown up. I am so grateful, but all the time I’m just saying, it’s just a brownie. But I’ve gotten so much business from those little brownies.

[00:20:52] David Crabill: So I’m curious about the pricing of these brownies, and then also how big are they, maybe in terms of ounces.

[00:20:58] Elisa Marie Lords: they’re probably two inch by two inch. But I don’t, remember the ounces or grams off the top of my head. But wholesale is cheaper, of course, but I sell the brownies for 3 a piece and I make a pretty good profit on it.

[00:21:13] David Crabill: And it doesn’t sound like you’re dressing these up at all, or is the packaging anything fancy?

[00:21:19] Elisa Marie Lords: It sounds crazy, but it’s literally just a brownie in a clear cellophane bag. They did win third place at the Orange County Fair in 2022, and so the front label does say that, but other than that, it’s just a brownie in a clear bag and a label that says it won an award, and my information’s on the back. That’s it.

[00:21:40] David Crabill: And you are in SoCal, so, you know, $3, although it might sound really high to the average listener, it’s probably not exorbitantly high for your area, I would imagine.

[00:21:51] Elisa Marie Lords: It is very low. I am the lowest priced brownie on the market.

[00:21:58] David Crabill: Do you think that’s part of the reason why they do well then? if you’re actually going low on them?

[00:22:03] Elisa Marie Lords: I think that probably factors into it, especially on the wholesale side. Definitely I think that that has a, a bit to do with it. ‘ cause you know, I know other parts of the country and I’ve lived in other parts of the country where I would never pay $3 for a brownie. That’s ridiculous.

[00:22:18] But out here it’s like that brownie’s only $3. Wait, this is really good. That was only a $3 brownie. I sell out every time.

[00:22:26] David Crabill: So if you are going low on it, and they’re so popular, why don’t you bump up the price to what everyone else is selling brownies for?

[00:22:34] Elisa Marie Lords: That is actually in the works. We’re redoing all of the food costs after we just did all of our taxes. So it will be unfortunately going up, but probably not an incredible amount. And especially with inflation.

[00:22:46] David Crabill: So if you’re low on the brownies, do you also feel like you’re low on everything else you sell? Compared to other vendors?

[00:22:55] Elisa Marie Lords: I think that the short answer is yes, I think I am lower. I think part of it is. One perceived value, my chocolate chip cookies. I personally love them. I think they’re absolutely amazing. But perceived value is I’m not going to pay 3 for that cookie. when my neighbor has, a giant cookie that’s The size of a small dinner plate that they’re selling for four dollars.

[00:23:19] can’t charge three and a half dollars for my regular size cookie. You know, so part of it is perceived value. And part of it is, I know that there are a lot of vendors, probably all across the country, I would imagine, that package more items together for a higher sell. You know, obviously a dozen cookies.

[00:23:36] It’s going to cost more than one cookie . But I think in specifically a retail or a market situation, which are the two situations I’m in frequently, sometimes people just want a cookie after dinner. And I have been at retail locations. I have been at markets where I get the sale just because I’m one cookie. That’s really well made. And I think that that has affected it a lot too.

[00:23:59] David Crabill: Well, one reason why a lot of businesses won’t do those individual sales is just because it’s so much work, right? So much packaging. Do you feel like you ever get burned out from all of the baking and packaging and selling that you’re doing?

[00:24:12] Elisa Marie Lords: I don’t get burnt out of the baking. I actually had someone ask me the other day, they were like, if you weren’t baking, what would you be doing? And I was like, baking. So the baking part, I don’t get burnt out on. When you’re on hour four of packaging, I definitely would say I get burnt out on that.

[00:24:28] And when you’re, having to deliver or do a market in drizzly rain definitely can be burnt out by that. But I think that, again, going back to being able to have the pastry chef skills to be prepped and prepared, I hav. dough that I’ve made from scratch that I have in the freezer, because I know how to properly scoop it and freeze it and prepare it where it’s not, it doesn’t affect it. And I move my, stock out enough that it doesn’t get freeze or burned.

[00:24:56] You know, I have those skills that I can rely on. So if somebody literally wants to order one oatmeal craisin cookie, I can make that happen. So I think that has helped me a lot as well. Because the worst is like, somebody orders one oatmeal craze and cookie, and you don’t have any on hand, and you have to make a whole batch of oatmeal craze and cookies.

[00:25:12] David Crabill: You mean a direct order of just one? You might get that from your website?

[00:25:17] Elisa Marie Lords: I have a 20 minimum, so that doesn’t actually happen. But sometimes at a market, somebody be like, I really love that thing you made. Can you bring that next week? I’m like, ah, sure. Of course.

[00:25:32] David Crabill: Wow, that is interesting. I mean, I feel like most business owners would say no to that request. Do you feel like you say yes too much? Or do you feel like That kind of people pleasing is what makes you successful.

[00:25:45] Elisa Marie Lords: I think it definitely, people pleasing has a big part in my success. Absolutely. I don’t think I say yes too much because I feel like, that now I know what I can handle. I have a better grasp on that. So, I don’t find it as hard to say no. But if somebody really loves something that I make, And they want a cookie. It takes me no time to make a cookie, of course. You know, I worked customer service for a long time and I do tend to be a people pleaser. So that factors into my personality and which factors into my business. But I am really big about fostering relationships with your clients. I feel like sometimes that’s missed in businesses.

[00:26:25] I have a customer that came to my farmer’s market and bought one blueberry scone. The only reason they came to my booth was they went to another booth and somebody was mean to them. They came to my booth. I was nice. They bought a blueberry scone. She told her brother. Now, she buys one blueberry scone every week and her brother buys 16 blueberry scones every week. He told his son. I did his son’s child’s birthday cake. So, I think that fostering these relationships, you know, it may seem like a people pleasing thing in one moment, but it could be something really long term. I mean, I have clients that I’m at their house once a week, you know, not to hang out, but I deliver and we, talk a little bit and they recommend me for everything. Another instance. is I was contacted by a PR company and they were doing an opening for an office space in South Orange County. And They wanted me to donate some cookies and some brownies. And I was brand new. still wasn’t doing great business. So I was like, sure, it’ll get my name out.

[00:27:21] People see me. So I did. And now every single time this PR person has any openings or parties, I donate cookies and brownies. And in return, she puts me on I don’t know if you know what a step and repeat is, but if you see an awards ceremony where there’s like a giant sign behind the celebrities and it has logos on it, that’s a step and repeat.

[00:27:42] So She always puts my logo on it, so every picture that hits any newspaper from that event has my logo. She always does a free news article on me that she sends out to all of the press. My last one was picked up by Associated Press as well as WGN and Fox Affiliates. also, Her assistant, who I met doing these parties, was the one that built my website and she did it for free. And all it cost me was a couple dozen cookies and about five brownies.

[00:28:08] David Crabill: I was going to ask you about the press thing, because I saw you’ve been in a lot of press, including the Associated Press. And of course, I’m sitting here going, how did she do that? it’s really amazing that you’ve had so much news. So it just sounds like your generosity and maybe being in the right place at the right time. Is how that’s worked out.

[00:28:29] Elisa Marie Lords: Absolutely. And I am well aware that a good portion of successful my business is currently. Was I just was the right person with the right attitude there at the right time. kind of a funny story. I do wholesale. I have a wholesale account with the Anaheim Marriott at the Anaheim Convention Center and they sell my stuff in their Starbucks. Which is huge, huge for a company my size. But that all happened because I was doing a market. It was a two market day. So I did a market in the morning, came home and slept for an hour, and then went to the second market. And I was just grumpy. I was angry. I was hot. I didn’t want to do the second market. I couldn’t believe I had signed up for it.

[00:29:08] So we finally get there. We’re running late. My husband’s with me to help me set up. I finally get there and there’s someone literally laying in my spot where I have to set up my tent. And I’m a very calm, very patient person, but I was just not in the mood that day. so I was just like, excuse me, I need to set up my tent here.

[00:29:25] And he was like, Oh, okay, I’m sorry. So then my husband, of course, being gracious, Smooth it over and was like, Hey, sorry about that. You know, it’s our second market today. let’s give you some baked goods to make up for it . So that’s what I did. I made a little bag and I took it over and I apologized.

[00:29:39] I was like, not my best attitude, not my best foot forward. I’m really sorry about that. Here’s some baked goods. I see you’ve got some kids. Please share, please enjoy. He gave me his card, and he is the general manager of that Marriott, and he had had a conversation with his chef the day before about bringing in local artisan bakers to their Starbucks, and it just happened to be laying where I was setting up my tent. And within two weeks, I was in.

[00:30:05] David Crabill: Well, that’s fascinating. I mean, you make it sound like it’s luck and I know it is, but you’re also putting yourself out there a lot, right?

[00:30:13] Elisa Marie Lords: I try to put myself out there in every way possible, as much as I can.

[00:30:19] David Crabill: And you also talked earlier about creating a community, where you’re fostering relationships, where you’re making connections, and I recall you talking about yourself as an introvert. So. I’m trying to kind of put that piece together because it sounds like you’re pretty extroverted.

[00:30:37] You put yourself out there, you make these connections, but you still think of yourself as an introvert. can you shed some light on how you’ve been able to put yourself out as much as you have when it sounds like that’s not necessarily comfortable for you, or it doesn’t come naturally.

[00:30:53] Elisa Marie Lords: So not to get too, into it personally, but I had a therapist once. And I’m talking to her and she looks at me and she goes, do you have any idea you’re an introvert? And I was like, what? No, I’m not. She said, you are what is called an omnivert. I can put on my extrovert and I can be nice and I can be jovial and I can be friendly.

[00:31:16] I can do all the tough stuff and I can talk to people I don’t want to talk to. I can make phone calls I don’t want to make. But at the end of the day, the way I recharge my battery. is sitting as quietly as I can with no one around but my husband and I that’s where I get my energy and that’s where I get my rest I can go out and do all of these things but, at the end of the day, I need to Just be quiet somewhere.

[00:31:40] David Crabill: Interesting. So I’ve seen one of your YouTube videos. You’re very extroverted. You’re very personable. You know, you’ve got a lot of energy. Does that feel put on to you? Is it exhausting, or is that just part of who you are and you just really can go both ways?

[00:32:00] Elisa Marie Lords: There are some days that it’s exhausting. You know, if you don’t have the capacity for something and you are pushing for it anyway, it can be exhausting. But what allows me to do that on the show is I’m in my regular bakery.

[00:32:12] So I’m in my comfortable place. I’m in my comfortable pants. The only person filming me is my husband and I’m just in my comfortable place and I just kind of let my weird out. So, I mean, some days it can be exhausting. Some days it’s not.

[00:32:27] You know, after we film, I’ll just be quiet for a couple days.

[00:32:31] David Crabill: So you had mentioned that you now do a lot of wholesale and you also don’t get tired of baking. So do you feel like now that you’re doing more wholesale, the business is easier for you or is the business just more sustainable?

[00:32:49] Elisa Marie Lords: Definitely I love doing wholesale. It is far more sustainable, it’s far more reliable and even though, It can be daunting when you first start because your prices do have to be lower than what you would charge retail or at a market. They’re ordering so much more that it’s making up for it. So it’s sustainable for the business in the long run. Me personally, I get an email, they tell me exactly what they want, how much they want. I send an email back saying, thank you. Here’s your invoice. And then I put my headphones on and I bake quietly by myself. And then I package everything up while I’m watching my British crime dramas. And then I am friendly and personable and extroverted for five minutes while I deliver. won’t ever stop doing markets and personal appearances in the show and things like that, but doing more wholesale has definitely given me a more of a work life.

[00:33:37] Balance, I should say as far as that goes.

[00:33:40] David Crabill: you do quite a bit of wholesale. So Can you just walk me through a quick trajectory of how your business has grown over the last four years? Obviously you started out not really selling anything. Then you moved into markets. When did you pick up wholesale? What, how has that all gone?

[00:33:57] Elisa Marie Lords: So the first year I kind of call it my trial and error year, just trying to see what sticks and what makes money. The second year I got into markets and that almost tripled what I brought in the year before. Then the next year is when I started doing wholesale and it doubled over again. And this year I started more social media.

[00:34:19] I did the television show. Thank you for having me on your podcast. I’ve been doing podcasts and personal appearances and focusing on competitions. And if the numbers in Q1 are any indication, I will double again what I made last year. I have been lucky, but I’ve also put the work in that I’ve just done nothing but grow so far.

[00:34:37] So it’s been very great.

[00:34:41] David Crabill: So are you trying to expand your wholesale locations and phase out of most markets or in person selling?

[00:34:48] Elisa Marie Lords: I am focusing much more on like wholesale and business to business. The main reason is. There’s a lot less guesswork. It’s just pure money. when you go to a market, let’s say, you prepare X amount of goods to sell at this market. And you need to sell X amount of those goods to make back your booth, your TFF your time, your, products, ingredients. And sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes it happens plus a whole bunch more, For my opinion, from a business perspective, it is not a long term solution to help keep my business growing. I’ll do the markets that I enjoy, that I know are profitable as long as I can.

[00:35:29] But as far as being very secure in my business and bringing in money, That’s all on the wholesale side and I’m going to keep growing that as well. I think that that is kind of the trajectory my business is going right now.

[00:35:42] I’m right on that precipice where I’m growing. And then you’re having to take stock of which way am I growing? What, am I trying to achieve? And that looks different for the person that wants to make custom cakes out of their home, you know, for people that buy it directly. That’s a different trajectory than people that only want to do markets.

[00:35:59] And that’s a different trajectory than people that want to go the wholesale route. I don’t know if you’ve read Michelle Green’s book, The Business of Baking. It’s a great book. If you guys haven’t read it, please read it. But in it, it’s kind of a work and in those really lean months, when I very first started, I was reading this book and she has this part where she says, when you create your business, decide what your end goal is. and even if you do nothing else, every decision that you make for your business, have that end goal in mind. if your end goal is to own a brick and mortar bakery, that’s going to be different. responses to every question along the way than someone that wants to be a huge manufacturer, famous Amos type company.

[00:36:38] That’s going to be completely different paths. So, I really love that advice to know what you want in the end and everything you do is working towards that. And I think that for me, that led me through to wholesale.

[00:36:51] David Crabill: So what is your end goal?

[00:36:52] Elisa Marie Lords: My end goal is I want to have a big enough empire that I’m making money on that. Well, I am in a beachside town with the windows open towards the beach baking and selling right there. So I guess that’s kind of a weird two part answer, but that’s genuinely what I want to do. I want to be able to have the income coming in and still be able to set up my little bakery by the ocean and bake and make people happy and see the smiles on their faces.

[00:37:22] David Crabill: That is a pretty specific end goal. I mean, I don’t know if I’ve heard anyone say An end goal, quite like that. so was that your end goal when you started the business?

[00:37:34] Elisa Marie Lords: My end goal when I very first started the business was own a brick and mortar bakery. And then it became the dream of owning a bakery by the ocean.

[00:37:45] then as you now know, in had no idea that wholesale was even possible for me. Like, it never even crossed my mind until it just dawned on me one day, why aren’t they selling my stuff?

[00:37:56] So being able to do wholesale. a new addition, but it was always a brick and mortar in a place that I love. When I do decide to get a brick and mortar, it will be an Old Town Orange in Orange, California on the circle.

[00:38:10] It’ll be vintage style and that will be my first brick and mortar That’s step one. Step one is to get in the orange circle, be profitable. Step two is get to the beach somewhere.

[00:38:20] David Crabill: When you started doing wholesale, do you feel like you had to adjust your business? Like either what products you were selling, what products you weren’t selling, how you were making them? Were there any adjustments that you had to make in order to transition into that wholesale model?

[00:38:38] Elisa Marie Lords: Definitely. I went in very bright eyed and thought that every wholesale place would sell all of my stuff and every single product and this has been my experience. I can’t say for everyone, but for me, when I get a new wholesale account, they make huge orders and a lot of, a lot of different items and huge orders.

[00:39:00] And then they see what sells and what’s the most profitable. And then they make orders from those choices. I went in with big old eyes being like, I’m going to sell hand pies to everyone in the world. And not one of my wholesale accounts has kept hand pies because they didn’t sell. Because, the markup uh, when you make something with 100 percent butter and you live in California, it’s really expensive.

[00:39:21] So I think that that happening has helped me when I go into new wholesale places trying to get business, that I have my pricing, I have my items that I do wholesale, and there’s items I don’t do wholesale. I don’t do my bread loaves wholesale. I don’t do, like, my banana breads and things like that. I think it’s definitely led to two different menus, so to speak,

[00:39:43] And I had to look at my recipes, do baker’s math, which I do not enjoy, but I will do, and, you know, figure out what recipes can be bumped up. My specific scone recipe, I can double it very easily, but when you start trying to triple and quadruple it, It no longer works. We have to reformulate the entire recipe.

[00:40:03] So there was a lot of that happening too. Like, what can I double? What can I not double? What do I need to rewrite the recipe for if we’re doubling and quadrupling it?

[00:40:12] David Crabill: So it sounds like, you know, you spent the early first couple of years sort of dialing in your business model, and now you’re more focused on scaling it up. Have you faced too many pressures there or has your background Made it so that you can produce quite a lot from your kitchen.

[00:40:31] Are you thinking about moving to a commercial kitchen at some point?

[00:40:34] Elisa Marie Lords: that’s kind of a crazy question. Because I think that having my background in pastry has helped a lot in being able to stay where I am because I bake everything out of a 1950s Wedgwood oven. I can only bake 12 cookies at a time. So I am at a point where I am bursting at the seams. I am looking at having a larger industrial style oven brought in to my kitchen space.

[00:41:02] I am lucky and blessed enough that I do have a designated kitchen area, so I’m not in my, You know, where I make dinner, kitchen. I am looking at a commercial kitchen because I will be adding a new product line of dog treats and things for dogs, because I have a little chihuahua that I love.

[00:41:18] But in the state of California, you cannot bake those in your home. They must be made in a commercial kitchen. So I think the next step for me is. We’re getting the bigger oven and I’m going to stay in my home as long as humanly possible. Because I love it. working in both the commercial kitchen and my cottage law kitchen, I can tell you the benefit of rolling out of bed, putting on your chef’s pants, and wearing your comfy socks with your chef’s shoes.

[00:41:42] is invaluable. And if I need to bake, you know, 16 hours to make an order come through, I’m still at home. I can run and go make dinner really quickly. So I want to stay in my kitchen as long as humanly possible. and wearing my pajamas.

[00:41:56] David Crabill: I know you’ve made hundreds of baked goods per week. If you can only make 12 cookies at a time in your oven, why has it taken you this long to get a bigger one?

[00:42:08] Elisa Marie Lords: I think part of it is just stubborn on my end. It’s working. Why, fix it? Why change it? It’s working just fine. And then of course I’m running myself ragged. This last year really opened my eyes with the more wholesale accounts. Being able to be like, okay, I need to decide, am I going to move into a commercial kitchen or am I not?

[00:42:28] I don’t want to, and the way to keep baking out of my home, something has to change and that has to be the oven. I’ve got, I have a freezer and two fridges. And I’ve got as many mixers and tools and the oven’s the last thing. It’s like my last stand.

[00:42:46] David Crabill: And is it all you? Does your husband help at all?

[00:42:49] Elisa Marie Lords: He is not allowed in my kitchen ever. I do have my Darling, loveling, amazing baking assistant, Sophia

[00:43:01] As we had discussed about burnout before, I, don’t get burned out by baking, but having to fit everything else around the baking that involves running a business that’s growing, I was just completely burnt out. I wasn’t sleeping. My work life balance was non existent.

[00:43:16] I didn’t see my husband unless he came to a market with me. And finally he was like, you need to just get some help, just get some help. I was like, fine. Cause it’s, it’s also different hiring somebody for a job when they are coming into your home. So, I very reluctantly put up on my Instagram that I was hiring, and Sophia answered immediately, because she had come to some of the markets that I had worked at, and she had bought my products and knew them.

[00:43:43] So she applied and a couple of other people applied. But as soon as she and I got on the phone, like I knew, that she was perfect.

[00:43:50] She is in high school, and she comes in once a week sometimes twice, she is in her culinary program at her school, so she walked in already having the basics, and I just had to be like, awesome, this is how we do it. We get along like gangbusters. She tells me all the cool phrases I need to know. I tell her all the old stuff she needs to know. But she is amazing and she gives me time that I need to run my business so that I’m not baking all day. I can step aside and do Emails and invoices and things like that. She’s amazing and I don’t think I could do it without her. She’s been here for almost a year now.

[00:44:30] David Crabill: Well, I wanted to ask you about social media. I can see you’re pretty active on social media, and you said that you are trying to put more focus into social media this year. What have you learned about social media and what advice could you give?

[00:44:45] Elisa Marie Lords: Full disclosure, my husband is in marketing, so I do have an inside scoop. I, I do get help on that but one of the biggest things that he’s taught me that I’ve learned is consistency.

[00:44:56] Absolute consistency. If you’re posting once a month on Instagram, there’s so much time between your posts that people tend to forget about you.

[00:45:04] posting two to three times a week, not only helps your customer base to see you. Not only helps get the word out about you, the algorithm picks you up better. And we’re constantly, I’m constantly playing with the algorithm. Like stories are really in right now, so I’m trying to do more stories. A while back it was reels with certain music. So consistency, knowing what the trends are, I think both of those things are really important. But I also think that as a person, a business and a brand, You can really get what you need to post, when you need to post it, am I doing the trends, do I do this Tik Tok dance, do I need to do this. I think staying true to yourself is important as well. My content is not like a content that goes viral. Because that’s not who I am or who my business is. So once you kind of know your brand and know you and know what your business is, post two or three times a week.

[00:45:53] Here’s a picture. it at least keeps you on the forefront of people’s minds and it can be fun. My husband and I do These silly videos for markets that are just ridiculous. And it’s a blast, and I think that interacting on social media is important as well. One of the things I’ve done in the last few months is I’ve really, when I’m on my And if I have downtime or if I have cookies in the oven and I have a few minutes, I go on to either Instagram or Facebook or TikTok, and I’ll add a friend of someone that I admire, or someone that, you know, I saw one of my friend bakers do an article with this interviewer, and I’ll just go and friend them, that’s it. And I’ve had Three or four offers for collaborations this year just because now they know who I am. And that’s it. You know, I go through stories and, Oh man, I haven’t talked to Drew lately. Oh, let me, let me check out the stories. Oh, her stories are so cute. Hey, Hart. And they’ll be like, oh my gosh, I haven’t heard from you in so long.

[00:46:47] I need your scones. into an order. So I think it’s a very useful tool, as long as it’s not your only tool.

[00:46:56] David Crabill: One thing that struck me looking at your Instagram feed is, You are featured in at least half, probably closer to 75 percent of your posts. And this goes back to the introvert extrovert thing. Like, a lot of times I’ll see a cottage food business that their face is in almost none of their posts. So, is this an intentional way of you trying to market better? Is that just who you are when you’re on social media?

[00:47:26] Elisa Marie Lords: It’s actually intentioNal. in my experience, in a market situation, people don’t come to your booth when what you have is cookies and brownies, if that’s all they see.

[00:47:35] But if they see me, and I’m friendly, and I’m nice, and I’m engaging, and I’m charming, that brings them in. And that brings them back. You know, a lot of my clients consider me a friend. 100%. And so, me being the face of my company is fairly intentional. It’s funny that you say that, because actually, one of my goals is to feature my baked goods more on my social media. yeah, so, it is me. I am the face of the brand. I am the brand and it’s very intentional that my face is out there a lot.

[00:48:05] David Crabill: With you saying it’s very intentional that you are the brand, does that affect your kind of newer focus on wholesale? Where obviously with wholesale, you know, you can’t be there to sell the product yourself, but you have a very personalized brand. I’m just wondering if there’s anything there where you feel like your brand Maybe it’s limiting your wholesale or maybe it’s working even better because your brand is personalized.

[00:48:32] I mean, I don’t really know. I just wondering sort of that wholesale piece and how branding plays into it.

[00:48:40] Elisa Marie Lords: The biggest way that branding plays into my wholesale is in order to get the wholesale account, I’m there giving them my baked goods. So the people that are making decisions are getting a piece of my personality, which draws them in. And then they try my stuff and it’s delicious. And then they see my prices and they’re like, Oh, so it definitely helps me get my foot in the door.

[00:49:01] And I think part of it too is I have a product that I’m very proud of that I make to the best of my ability. That I think is absolutely delicious and that people want to eat. And at the end of the day, I could be the face of the company all day long, but if I don’t have anything to back that up, it doesn’t mean a thing on the wholesale world.

[00:49:19] So I think part of it is it does help me get my foot in the door with these companies. But then there’s something good to back it up, if that makes sense.

[00:49:29] David Crabill: Well, you’d said that you have won a number of awards at fairs for your product. So we know you have a good product, but, That sounds like you’re pretty involved in the fair and festival scene. is it just a hobby? Is it something that you do for business purposes? What have you learned from trying to win some of these fair competitions?

[00:49:49] Elisa Marie Lords: Well, I am an incredibly competitive person. But again, kind of talking about imposter syndrome. I literally started doing the fares as kind of a way to justify what I was baking. You know, I wasn’t baking somebody else’s recipes. I wasn’t. baking for a chef. I had no quote unquote safety net. one day I just said, I’m going to enter the fair. That sounds fun. My husband was like, okay. And I entered the fair. I entered a jam and a jelly. That’s all I did. And my jelly won the blue ribbon in division that year. And that was all it took, and now I have eight ribbons from the Orange County Fair over the last three years. I just got a little bite of it and I love it.

[00:50:35] I don’t know if all cottage law bakers feel this way, but especially with the restrictions in California of what I can and cannot bake and can and cannot sell as cottage law. a lot of things that I love baking and I loved selling in the past as a pastry chef that I am not able to do. As a cottage law baker. So doing these competitions kind of keeps my creativity alive and allows me to use those mediums I’m not allowed to use and allows me to indulge my chef side and come up with crazy combinations.

[00:51:05] That the general public, I won’t be able to sell it to them.

[00:51:09] David Crabill: I know it hasn’t always been smooth sailing in your business, especially towards the beginning. where do you feel like you are right now? I mean, do you feel like. You’re very excited about where you are in your business journey. Do you feel like you’re not where you’d hoped you would have been when you started four years ago?

[00:51:29] Elisa Marie Lords: I’m actually very excited where I am. my business has grown way more than I ever thought it would, especially those first few months and that first year when I was asking my husband, can I take money out of the joint account to bake these cookies? Because I need going from that to being self sustaining to my profit’s going up.

[00:51:48] you know, and I’m looking at more wholesale accounts. And then this year has been fantastic with, podcasts and the YouTube show coming out and being able to, you know, expand my business. I like I am standing on the edge of something really awesome that I’m not sitting around waiting for it to happen.

[00:52:05] I’m actively going out and trying to get it, which makes me feel very powerful that I’m going to find it. Iit’s here. I just got to get it.

[00:52:13] David Crabill: Well, I do want to ask you about your YouTube show. What led you to start that? And can you explain it a little bit?

[00:52:19] Elisa Marie Lords: Yeah. So what actually started it is I was at the Fullerton Farmer’s Market. A person from the OC register came up, saw my booth, saw my award, from the fair, interviewed me, put it in the OC register. The next day I had a producer calling me for a TV show for people that win fair awards. It would be baking competition. And I went all the way through the casting process, made it all the way to speaking to the culinary producer. As of yet, the show has not aired. So I do not know if it was filmed at all, but I made it all the way to the end. And it was kind of a switch in my husband’s head.

[00:52:56] And we were like, well, obviously there’s something here that people want to see. You know, if I’m being scouted and taken that far in the process, and you know, there’s always like little girl dreams of, I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be Martha Stewart. I’m gonna be Ina Garten.

[00:53:08] I’m gonna have my own TV show. So that factored in as well. And so we just said, we’re gonna do it. We didn’t tell anybody we were doing it. I came up with the recipes. I do all the mise en place. We set up a camera and the lights that we bought on Amazon for like 20 bucks and we film it and then my husband edits it in his spare time and then we just kind of released it with no idea what was going to happen. I mean, it’s definitely not like gone viral and hasn’t gotten me a TV show or anything, which is fine with me, but like the response was really great. I am so proud that we did this thing and we made this thing happen. and that people actually liked it. people tell me that they watch my show and they bake my stuff and I’m like, what?

[00:53:50] That’s awesome.

[00:53:51] But yeah, it’s a lot of fun. It’s silly. I make up songs uh, there’s accents, but along the way, I hope that I, give you just a little bit to up your game, and give you that little bit of professional advice.

[00:54:05] that’s what I hope that it does.

[00:54:08] David Crabill: You did six episodes. Was that always the plan to only do six episodes and then take a break?

[00:54:15] Elisa Marie Lords: Yes. So I didn’t tell anybody that we were doing it, just in case it bombed but we filmed six episodes and released them in February. I said it gets a good response, we’ll keep going. So yeah, we’re going to be doing supplementary episodes like tips and tricks. Uh, We’re doing a new thing called baking with buddies where I teach somebody how to bake something and they show me what their skill is.

[00:54:37] And then we’re going to do the fair files, which will be following me to all the competitions this year. And then we’ll be filming a second season that will be dropping right around the holidays.

[00:54:48] David Crabill: So I have to ask, what’s your end goal for the YouTube channel? What’s motivated you to start it, and what are you trying to accomplish with it, ultimately?

[00:54:58] Elisa Marie Lords: I mean, pie in the sky dream somebody somewhere sees it and I’m the next Ina Garten. But more realistically it’s twofold. Of course we want to monetize it and, so that I’m getting some passive income for the business. That is definitely a goal. Uh, And the other one is We were talking about communities and people and family. I have a big community of friends and clients here in Southern California, but my personal family friends community is much bigger and spread out all over the country. So one of the reasons we wanted to do this was to be able to reach those people. My mom can’t try my baked goods because I can’t ship them, which might be coming this year as well.

[00:55:37] So like my mom can’t try my baked goods. My aunt can’t try my stuff. And all of them have watched the YouTube show and baked from it. And it, has built an even bigger community, I think,

[00:55:48] David Crabill: so I’m not hearing, really, that this YouTube channel is to help boost your local business, right? Your local sales or get you into more wholesales. Like that’s not a motive at all, right?

[00:56:01] Elisa Marie Lords: Correct. That’s not a motive. if it’s a byproduct, I will embrace it 150%,

[00:56:09] David Crabill: It feels like you’re doing so much with your cottage food business. How do you find the time to prioritize what’s In many ways, kind of like an extra side business.

[00:56:23] Elisa Marie Lords: it’s not easy. And some days I don’t do it successfully at all. We had dates that we were going to film that just never, it just never happened because I was making orders and I was baking. It just couldn’t happen. If I have an order due in two days, a wholesale order, a regular order, somebody picking up, doesn’t matter, that’s top priority.

[00:56:42] Second priority is making sure that all of my business side of the stuff is done, taxes, things like that. Third priority would be sleep at some point. And then fourth priority would be, okay, I have time, energy, space. You know, sometimes it would be one day off and we would film two episodes that day I guess it’s not quite prioritizing a side business as much as it’s fitting in a side business.

[00:57:08] David Crabill: Well, I’m just thinking about your journey and it’s a fascinating one which is encompassed a number of different directions and looks like you’re on an upward trajectory and it’ll be very interesting to see where you are in. The next year or two. As you think back on all that you’ve done, what advice could you give somebody who’s just starting out today, who doesn’t have a few years of business experience under their belt?

[00:57:33] Elisa Marie Lords: I think the advice I would give somebody just now starting out, just starting their cottage bakery is, I guess, to allow for. The strange things that happen, you know, as we’ve talked in this podcast, you know, especially when you cram it all together, there are a lot of things that have happened in my business career that are just random, that just kind of happened. So I would say, always be open to that.

[00:57:53] The second thing I would say is, Make sure at the end of the day that what you are giving out, you are proud of. That what you are selling, what you are handing out to people is something that you love, that you are proud of, because that’s what’s going to matter.

[00:58:09] David Crabill: Well, Elisa, thank you so much for coming on and sharing all of that with us. Now, if somebody would like to learn more about you, where can they find you, or how can they reach out?

[00:58:21] Elisa Marie Lords: Absolutely! So, my website is www., and Elisa is spelled E-L-I S-A, My Instagram handle is @elisamariebaking. My Facebook is @elisamariebaking. My TikTok, which I don’t do a lot of, but there’s some fun things on there, is @elisamariebaking. And lastly, my YouTube channel is Elisa Marie Bakes.

[00:58:52] always feel free to send me a DM, send me an email. Ask a question. I am not a gatekeeper. The only reason that my business is doing well right now is because I had a good community of people that helped me. And wherever you are, send me an email and I will give you as much information as I can.

[00:59:10] David Crabill: Well, I will include links to all those in the show notes, and thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing with us today.

[00:59:17] Elisa Marie Lords: Thank you so much. It’s been so nice to meet you.

[00:59:22] David Crabill: That wraps up another episode of the Forrager podcast.

[00:59:25] For more information about this episode, go to

[00:59:31] And if you are enjoying this podcast, please take a quick moment right now and leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. It doesn’t have to be a long review, but it’s truly the best way to support this show and will help others like you find this podcast.

[00:59:43] And finally, if you’re thinking about selling your own homemade food, check out my free mini course where I walk you through the steps you need to take to get a cottage food business off the ground. To get the course, go to

[00:59:55] Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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