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Priorities, Passion, & Profits with Leah Livingston

Podcast Episode #90 —

Priorities, Passion, & Profits with Leah Livingston

00:00 / 59:48

Leah Livingston lives in Kenosha, WI and sells custom-decorated cookies with her cottage food business, Yaya’s Sweet Treats.

Unfortunately, Leah’s cookie business journey began with a miscarriage in 2019, which led her to do a lot of baking as a form of therapy.

But as her decorating skills improved, more people started to notice and request cakes and cookies for their events. Her business quickly took off and she hasn’t looked back since.

In fact, she started getting so many orders that she left her full-time job to focus on her business, and her cottage food bakery has already replaced her job’s income.

And now Leah is taking yet another leap and expanding into a storefront in a very unique way.

In this episode, you’ll hear how the personal tragedies in Leah’s life changed the direction of her career and guided her into doing something that she’s truly passionate about.

What You’ll Learn

  • How Leah created a new career opportunity by reprioritizing her life
  • When it’s time to leave your full-time job and go all-in on your business
  • How to expand your business by networking and partnering with others in creative ways
  • The time when Leah baked and decorated 600 cookies in one week!
  • Whether the Eddie edible printer will devalue custom decorated cookies
  • Why Leah’s “Instagram-worthy” photos actually do better on Facebook
  • Why you need to focus on community and collaboration, not competition
  • A unique way to host decorating classes without paying for the venue
  • What you should look for when choosing a storefront location
  • Why you should leverage local resources when transitioning to a brick-and-mortar
  • Why your mindset and enthusiasm is crucial for growing your business


Yaya’s Sweet Treats website (Facebook | Instagram | TikTok)

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)

Eddie Edible Ink Printer

Wisconsin 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 Leah Livingston. But real quick, are you building an email list for your business yet? If not, you really should be collecting customers email addresses and emailing them on a regular basis.

[00:00:22] Even these days, email continues to be better than social media for generating consistent sales, and the best part is that you own it. Once you build an email list, nobody can take it away from you. I personally use Convert Kit to manage email for my fudge business, and I created a free tutorial that will walk you through how to set up a free email marketing system for your business in less than one hour.

[00:00:46] So to learn more, you can go to All right, so I have Leah Livingston on the show today. Leah lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin and sells custom decorated cookies with her cottage food business, Yaya’s Sweet Treats. Leah’s cookie business journey, unfortunately began with a miscarriage in 2019, which led her to doing a lot of baking as a form of therapy.

[00:01:14] But as her decorating skills improved, more people started to notice and requested cakes and cookies for their events. Her business quickly took off and she really hasn’t looked back since. In fact, in 2022, she was getting so many requests for orders that she finally took the leap to leave her job and pursue her business full-time.

[00:01:36] And she’s already making as much money as she did at her job, except now she’s doing something she’s truly passionate about. And now this year she’s taking yet another leap and moving into a brick and mortar storefront. So very exciting for her. And as you’ll see, it’s all come together in a very unique way.

[00:01:57] And with that, let’s jump right into this episode.

[00:02:00] Welcome to the show, Leah. Nice to have you here.

[00:02:04] Leah Livingston: Thanks David. Thanks for having me.

[00:02:07] David Crabill: So Leah, can you take me back to the beginning of this journey? How did it all get started?

[00:02:12] Leah Livingston: Oh yes. So I have always loved baking. Grew up in a home where I baked every Christmas season with my mom. Any holiday we were making cookies. So I’ve always had a love for the kitchen. And my journey actually started with making custom cakes and cupcakes. Never really formed a business from it, but did it a lot for family members and coworkers, things like that.

[00:02:37] Ended up taking a, a break when I started my journey in healthcare as a speech therapist. you know, put it on the back burner, still just baked for fun. And then it was in 2019 that my. Desire to get back into the kitchen happened. I have been pregnant with my second child and we ended up losing her about halfway through the pregnancy and was just really looking for a safe space and something to do that was my own.

[00:03:05] And I turned to baking. I started making cookies, posting them on my personal social media and really found out that decorating the cookies became somewhat of a safe space for me, place where I could kind of unwind and be with myself and kind of heal. And after I started posting those pictures online, I started getting requests from friends and family members and coworkers at the time to start selling my cookies.

[00:03:31] And January 1st of 2020, Yaya Sweet Treats was born.

[00:03:36] David Crabill: Yeah, you’re not the first person on the podcast. Talk about kind of using baking as therapy after a significant life event happened. Like, I mean, I guess you’d been working in the healthcare industry for a while at that point. Like, do you feel like you would’ve ever started this business if it weren’t for having a traumatic event like that that led you to, baking uh, more seriously.

[00:03:59] Leah Livingston: I don’t think so. I think I would’ve picked it back up as a hobby. But going through the traumatic event allowed me to somewhat reprioritize my life and find value in things that brought me joy. you know, I was a devoted healthcare worker for over a decade and I, I really loved my job, but I found more love and more passion in something else.

[00:04:24] And I don’t think that without going through the tragedy, I, I would have, you know, spent as much time and energy focusing on healing myself and finding what brought myself joy.

[00:04:34] David Crabill: Yeah, I mean anyone who looks at your pictures can see that your cookies are unbelievably amazing. And do you feel like you sort of needed that kind of devotion and time to improve your skills to the point where you could sell them or were, were you already a pretty decent decorator before that happened?

[00:04:54] Leah Livingston: Well first thank you. I. Personally think it did take some time to develop my skill and learn different techniques and consistency of icing and better recipes. I always joke that I have, the very first picture that I shared, it was around Halloween. We had lost my daughter in September and it was Halloween that I posted my first picture of cookies and people still say like, I’m floored by, what they look like.

[00:05:23] But now when I compare them to Halloween cookies, I do now, I think there’s a, a vast difference. But again, that also comes with, practice makes progress.

[00:05:32] David Crabill: Well, while we’re on the topic, I did want to ask about 2021. I know you had a, another tragedy as well there, and I know that losing your daughter led you to having this business. Can you share a little bit about that and, maybe how, I don’t know if the business helped you carry you through it?

[00:05:50] Leah Livingston: Yeah. So to tell what happened in, in 21, I’ll go back to when we lost our daughter. We found out that she was very sick. We were told that it was more than likely just the genetic fluke of everything that was wrong with her. They gave us no indication that we should worry about it with any subsequent pregnancies.

[00:06:11] And we had a healthy daughter at home already. She was born in 2017. Uh, So in 2021, you know, after taking the time to heal and going through therapy and grieving, we decided to try for another child, and I got pregnant. And everything was going just as it should. It was a storybook pregnancy um, was being very closely monitored by a team of physicians and with our daughter, all of her Illnesses were found at the anatomy scan, which occurs at 20 weeks in pregnancy.

[00:06:44] So I had been seeing the specialty doctor about every other week with this current pregnancy in, 21. And at 18 weeks into this pregnancy, they told us that the same thing was wrong with this child. At that time, we, we chose not to know the gender, but we did find out at that appointment that it was a little boy.

[00:07:03] And we were struck down, you know, with tremendous grief, a second time being completely blindsided, thinking that, you know, there was little chances of it was going to happen to us again. And here it was playing out in the same situation. And we did unfortunately lose our son as well. I delivered him when he was just past 20 weeks.

[00:07:25] Again, he was a stillborn. So, you know, we’re in the same situation where life doesn’t really make sense. You know, we have a beautiful child at home and asking questions of, why is this happening to us again? Why are we here? And the same thing, you know, the, kitchen grounded me being in my safe space.

[00:07:43] It was a time when everything just kind of got quiet. You know, I could just express my creativity and do something that I felt passionate about. . you know, I think if it did anything for my business, it kind of lit the fire inside of me that, I wanted to be better. I wanted to do this as a career.

[00:08:02] And once I got through the, trauma and the pain and the grieving you know, still continued to be that place where I found something that I was good at that I could rely on. And for anybody who worked in healthcare works in healthcare now, has worked in healthcare in the past, this was during a time where healthcare was a lot different.

[00:08:22] You know, we’re going through a national pandemic. People are losing their jobs left and right. Positions are being changed, responsibilities are changed, and I found myself all of a sudden in a career in healthcare that I didn’t recognize anymore. So. I think part of, you know, losing my son again in 21 really helped me realize that, you know, healthcare, despite the amount of schooling I went to and, and the years I had devoted to it, it just wasn’t who I was anymore.

[00:08:47] I didn’t want to do that anymore.

[00:08:49] David Crabill: Well, sorry to start this on such a somber tone, but I appreciate you sharing all that and being so open. I mean, I know it’s a part of your story and If there’s any silver lining. I mean, it’s just an amazing business that you’ve created from some of these tragic experiences. So let’s move on into uh, you know, the start of your business and you know, you did start in, I guess what, it’s at the end of 2019.

[00:09:15] Um, well, like just before the pandemic. So can you talk a little bit about the beginning of your business and how it sort of took off?

[00:09:24] Leah Livingston: Yeah. Yeah. So it was New Year’s day of 2020, and I had decided that I was going to start a business Facebook page, an Instagram account. I remember sharing it to my personal page and at that time thinking, you know, this is just going to kind of be a place that I can share the cookies that I make.

[00:09:44] Still more on a, you know, very small side business scale, more of a hobby. But I remember at the end of day one, I had something like 200 people following my page and I was like, wow, that, you know, that’s really cool. I can’t believe that many people want to see what I’m doing. So that was January.

[00:10:00] Then February, March came around and the world shut down. I specifically remember having to cancel orders for baby showers. There were the policies in place that you couldn’t have gatherings over, you know, so many people. And I didn’t feel comfortable making cookies for groups.

[00:10:17] That seemed like there was going to be more than that number of people there. And without really knowing at that time too what the impact on food was for the National pandemic, I stepped back and just said, I gotta pump the brakes. So unfortunately I lost some steam there. Just kind of rode out the quarantine months and did stuff for fun.

[00:10:36] Kind of spent time watching videos and, and playing around with different techniques and, you know, just practice sets. thankfully when we kind of came out of the pandemic months, or the quarantine months I should say, and things started resuming my business sort of just kind of picked back up organically.

[00:10:53] And I was starting to get orders again and It just kind of continued to grow. I was very blessed in the sense of I had great family and friend support people sharing what I was doing. And it got to the point where I became booked from working full-time during the day and trying to do cookies at night.

[00:11:11] Fairly steadily through the end of 2020 into 2021.

[00:11:14] David Crabill: Yeah, I mean, I know that the quarantine months were actually, ironically a time when most home bakers saw a massive spike in business. But you, you decided not to take any business during that time. So at what point did you actually start taking orders again?

[00:11:31] Leah Livingston: You know, I’m not a hundred percent sure without looking back. A little side note, I had a friend who had moved back from North Carolina. She’s originally from the city that I’m from in Kenosha, Wisconsin. And her and her husband and daughter were moving back to town. And they were going to stay with us for a week or two while they got situated and then covid hit.

[00:11:53] So we found ourselves having another family inside of our home during quarantine, which ended up being a blast. Our daughters were the same age. We had fun with the parents every night. We had our own little quarantine crew inside of my house. So cookies really kind of went to the back burner for me there for a minute.

[00:12:09] But I would say, thinking back, it probably wasn’t until summer that I was taking orders again. Maybe even early fall in the holidays, but I still don’t even think I did that much cause I even remember for my family that year we didn’t get together for Thanksgiving. so yeah, I, I don’t believe I really probably did too much until we hit 21.

[00:12:30] David Crabill: Well, I mean, you said you lost some steam, but I mean, just based on the quality of your work, it, is no surprise that you probably picked up really quickly after you started taking orders again. So can you take us in, through 2021 then and you know, just sort of, was it just organic growth and custom orders?

[00:12:50] Like what did your business look like as you started to ramp up?

[00:12:54] Leah Livingston: What was always the biggest for me in 21, and probably most of like the first half of 2022, would be my holiday orders, my presales, it would kind of focus in on offering stuff. I ended up doing a lot of pop-up sales just in my garage and was always floored at the number of people that would show up to buy my cookies.

[00:13:15] I always used to joke that it was a garage sale for cookies. But I always loved the customer interaction side. You know, being a a home based baker, there’s a lot of porch pickups. You know, I know a handful of my customers pretty closely now, but at that time I just kind of wanted to see people’s faces and, and interact with them.

[00:13:32] But I would say that, you know, some of big parts of my business would be for things like wedding showers baby showers, graduation was always a big hit. So I think once I started getting some of these bigger orders and my information was getting spread and people were tasting my cookies and seeing the work that I did, it just was a again, a natural and kind of organic growth of who is this.

[00:13:55] I started to see my followers tick up. And I think just kind of with the natural progression of time and consistency with my, my posting and my social media presence, it just continued to grow.

[00:14:07] David Crabill: you were working full-time at this time in the healthcare industry, which I know was hard on everyone in that industry. And I mean, was the baking sort of like a reprieve from maybe what was going on in the healthcare industry or were you like overwhelmed because you had this like, intense job, right. And then you also had all these orders coming.

[00:14:31] Leah Livingston: Yeah, it was definitely a reprieve. There were not going to lie, plenty of moments that it was stressful and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get these orders done. But going back to, even to where I mentioned that, you know, baking and being in the kitchen and decorating cookies was my safe space.

[00:14:47] At the end of the day, you know, when we had our family dinner, my daughter was asleep, my husband would sit down to watch tv. I’d sit down to frost cookies and it just, it relaxed me at the end of the day. I’ve never found decorating cookies to be stressful in a sense.

[00:15:03] David Crabill: And you didn’t have any prior like ambitions to start this business? I mean, like what took you into wanting to sell them and grow a business instead of just having it be a hobby?

[00:15:15] Leah Livingston: I think it has a lot to do with my customers. Hearing from them how much they loved my cookies started to just kinda light a little fire inside of me. And then, you know, having people come back to repeat an order just kind of continue to grow my self recognition, I will be the first to admit I often. I am my own worst critic. And sometimes, you know, it took me a while to see the beauty in what it is, what that I was creating. And I think as that realization started to kind of grow and my daughter started to, get older and recognize what I was doing and building my own business that just eventually lit a fire that was burning so, so hot that I couldn’t ignore it.

[00:15:54] David Crabill: Well, we’ll get into like some of the details in a little bit. I just want to like finish this kind of overview. Can you carry us through like what a 2022? Look like up until this point?

[00:16:06] Leah Livingston: 2022 was a, a very interesting and fun year for my business. I started to get some recognition from I guess some more local type celebrities I would say. I was invited to, or asked to sell my cookies at an event for a charity up in the Milwaukee area. It was kind of like a friend of a friend who was going through stage four lung cancer and she started a charity called Live for Today.

[00:16:35] And they were having an event and they asked me to go and I said, yeah, absolutely. You know, it was, it was actually just a year ago I was selling St. Patrick’s Day cookies and I ended up there meeting Some morning show radio hosts that were pretty big in the area. I met the DJ for the Milwaukee Bucks.

[00:16:53] She was there DJing the event. I met some local soccer players from the Milwaukee Wave team and so that actually got me some exposure on a larger scale. And I saw, you know, a big jump in my social media following. Got some follow up orders from them and got to know them pretty well, which is just pretty awesome from a personal perspective.

[00:17:14] . And then from there, continued on to do holiday pre-sales. I had, you know, much bigger Easter sales. Um, Was able to take an awesome family vacation that year with money I had made for my business.

[00:17:28] Um, I invested in the edible ink printer called the Eddie, which helped boom, you know, the detail and design work I was able to do with my cookies. Started offering logo cookies for corporate orders. Started to see that growth there. And yeah, I had some of my biggest orders to date in 2022. I did a huge, huge wedding for my cousin where she had a cookie on everybody’s place setting, started getting into doing videos and TikTok and reels on Instagram. I had a video go viral on TikTok last year. So things, you know, on the business side were getting busier and busier, and I was having so much fun.

[00:18:08] And then in August of last year, I teamed up with a friend of mine who also owns a small business here in town who does charcuterie. And she proposed the idea that we start doing class workshops together. So we started doing that in August. We did them August. September, October, and then we took a break over the holidays just because holiday orders were so nuts this year.

[00:18:32] And actually in August of last year, I left my job in healthcare and I’ve been doing cookies full-time since.

[00:18:38] David Crabill: Yeah. So I, I did see that with you, uh, going full-time. Congratulations on that. And how did you know that it was time? Like, did you just have enough money coming with the business or was it kind of a leap of faith to step away from this career?

[00:18:54] Leah Livingston: the stars kind of all aligned at once. As I mentioned before, at this point, I um, was working for a company in healthcare where I was doing some liaison type work and we had a lot of management turnover. People were leaving, losing their jobs, and my husband and I would sit down at the end of the day and catch up with each other.

[00:19:13] And, you know, it just kind of became apparent that I had lost my passion. I had not been enjoying what I was doing. And he knew how desperately I wanted to go full-time with my cookies. And he’s always been such a wonderful supporter. He happened to get an opportunity to take a new position. And his career, which was a, a good step up for him, which gave us a little bit more of that financial comfort.

[00:19:37] And a big part of it was a blind leap of faith that, if I’m going to do it, I have to do it. I can always fall back on my medical degree, although I, I don’t want to, but, you know, I have a safety net if I need it. But at some point you have to just decide to do it. I had the established business.

[00:19:55] I, at that point had weeks. I’m like, this is full-time income. But I knew I was missing out on being able to do more because I didn’t have the time.

[00:20:05] David Crabill: So as we go back to the beginning of your business like has it always been cookies? Like what, what have you sold generally from the beginning of your business and onward?

[00:20:18] Leah Livingston: Sure. Yeah. So in the beginning I was doing cookies and cakes

[00:20:23] So if you go back to the very, very beginning of my like Instagram page, you’ll see that there’s a bunch of cakes at that time.

[00:20:31] and I enjoy making cakes, But there’s so many beautiful and talents with cake artists out there, and I’m not to that caliber . you know, it kind of got to a point where it was like, okay, I got to I have to pick a path and I have to stick with it.

[00:20:46] I have to hone in my skills and, it was cookies for me.

[00:20:50] David Crabill: I did see that. You kind of took it full-time. I’m not sure if you’re just looking to fill in gaps in orders or, or whatever. But you did start offering other items too, like, you know, generic bakery items. So was that an experiment? Like how did that go?

[00:21:09] Leah Livingston: Yeah, so I did, um, I should mention to you, something that is also always on my page for sale. I sell these cake push pops. They are, if you remember when you were a kid in like the Flintstones ice cream. Push pops, they’re very similar to those, but they just have layers of cake and frosting.

[00:21:27] Uh, So I do sell those, I guess I do have a, a cake item still on my custom order request. But yeah, I did have some generic bakery items up. I offer things that I call my everyday cookies. I have a bunch of customers who just kind of buy a few dozen at a time and pop them in their freezer.

[00:21:45] They’re nothing, you know, to write home about. They’re just a cookie with a base layer of frosting on them, but they just want them to have on hand with, without needing to order cookies for a special occasion. And then I sold cinnamon rolls and apple pies. Those tend to be more popular around the holidays, so I did kind of experiment to leave them up at all times and I wasn’t getting much traction with them.

[00:22:07] Again, like I said, they mostly are more of a holiday item. So I kind of took them down too, because also with my everyday bakery items, they’re like an instant checkout type thing. And I found myself in a situation where when somebody would buy them, I’d find myself in a week where I had so many cookies to do that.

[00:22:25] It just became stressful. So without it being a, a good money maker at this time, I kind of tried to just back off of those and bring them back around times. I think that they’ll sell well.

[00:22:36] David Crabill: Well with your decorating skills at the level that they’re at, why haven’t you decided to just like focus all in on just cookies? I mean, you said you have these cake push pops and you’ve tried other things, like why don’t you just focus on the one item that’s the most popular?

[00:22:55] Leah Livingston: I think at the end of the day, I, I still I love baking. I always joke that the day I become a decorator, I’ve made it when someone else bakes my cookies for me, . But, but I do love baking. I love creating, I love how you can change a recipe a little bit and, and come up with something new. So I think that’s still just that little part inside of me that, wants an excuse to try something new in the kitchen.

[00:23:18] David Crabill: I did see that you also have these dessert boards, which is, I don’t know, it just looks like they look amazing to me. Are those pretty popular?

[00:23:26] Leah Livingston: They’ve started to kind of grow some traction. Going back to my friend Emily, who does the charcuterie, oftentimes she does these dessert boards and we’ve kind of teamed up on with them in the past. A lot of times she’ll get my cookies for them. And it just kind of was something too, like I, I do get many requests from people who say, like, do you offer anything else besides cookies?

[00:23:49] And most of the time, people, you know, are very willing to go somewhere else for something like cupcakes or a cake and things like that. But I kind of wanted to try out and just see. Would I get requests for other stuff because I do make brownies that are phenomenal and you know, like I have these other things that I can make and give and sell to people.

[00:24:09] So it’s still, you know, being only a few years into my business, like I’m still kind of trying to figure out what works, what doesn’t. I’ll try something for a couple months and see if I get some traction. So the dessert board one is newer.

[00:24:23] David Crabill: Yeah. As you mentioned, you do these everyday cookies that people buy to just like have on hand. And decorating skills are so amazing that I’m sure people would buy your cookies if they tasted like cardboard. But um, an indication that, that the cookies themselves are really good too.

[00:24:40] Leah Livingston: Yeah. one of my favorite compliments is when they say like, you know, I’m blown away by the decoration, but equally blown away by the taste and how people expect to see a cookie that looks good, but doesn’t taste good. And then they’re pleasantly surprised that, people can figure out how to actually make them taste good too.

[00:24:59] David Crabill: So in terms of your cookies, would you say that you have like a specific style?

[00:25:06] Leah Livingston: No, I don’t think I do. You know, I follow so many beautiful cookie makers on Instagram and I look at their pages and I’m blown away by how they have captured a style. But I think I’m more of a, a mod pudge. I like to really listen to what my customer wants. And I think sometimes, you know, their categories don’t necessarily fit into what I would like to see as a style.

[00:25:30] So I try my best to really match what a customer is looking for versus having an overall aesthetic with all of my cookies.

[00:25:38] David Crabill: And in terms of pricing can you remember what you used to price at and um, where are you today?

[00:25:47] Leah Livingston: Yeah, I, I wanna say I started around like $3 a cookie, so about $36 a dozen. And now my base pricing for a custom set of cookies starts at $60 a dozen.

[00:25:59] David Crabill: Actually $60 a dozen to me sounds a bit low For the quality that you produce, like is it, have you like experimented with higher pricing or like how did you land on your pricing?

[00:26:13] Leah Livingston: Yeah, that is just base pricing, you know depending on what the customer is looking for. You know, my range can go from $72 a dozen up to $90 a dozen. It really depends on what the customer is asking for. But, you know, I think a lot of pricing has to do with your region as well. And I’m in an area that has many talented cookie makers too.

[00:26:34] And I’m definitely the higher or highest priced one in the area, I’d say. So trying to, you know, not get myself too far out of reach when there’s other talent that’s close behind me. But also, you know, I try to keep the mentality too that you, if you’re twice as expensive and you have half as many customers, you have the same money at the end of the day.

[00:26:54] So it, it’s a balance. I wanna make cookies for everybody.

[00:26:58] David Crabill: Do you. To turn away a lot of orders that come your way.

[00:27:03] Leah Livingston: I do. Yeah. The beginning of the year, this is the time of year that I’m not always booked. I mean, I, I’m usually booked when the week hits, but I can take a lot more last minute orders. But by the time summer and the fall hits I am usually turning away a bunch of orders.

[00:27:21] David Crabill: Well, I’ve seen that you’ve, you’ve done quite a lot of cookies You sell at events like, you don’t just do custom orders, like where else have you sold your cookies?

[00:27:30] Leah Livingston: Yeah. So I typically am on site selling when it’s a holiday. I have a girlfriend in town who owns a salon, so a lot of times I’ll do a pop-up sale during the holidays in her area, kind of help bring new customer base to her salon as well, get her some exposure. Yeah, I think the pop-up sales are mostly around the holidays.

[00:27:54] David Crabill: So what’s the most cookies you’ve ever made at a time?

[00:27:58] Leah Livingston: Um, I did a, order of 600 cookies in one week.

[00:28:04] David Crabill: I did see a post of yours on social where you said you baked 865 cookies in a single day,

[00:28:12] Leah Livingston: Oh, that might have been for my cousin’s wedding.

[00:28:14] David Crabill: although I don’t think you decorated them in a day. I think it’s just baking

[00:28:19] Leah Livingston: I baked them in a day. . Wow. So, yeah. I mean, but 600 cookies in a week. like you actually baked and decorated them all

[00:28:28] Baked, frosted, sealed and delivered in one week.

[00:28:32] David Crabill: Wow. that’s crazy. I mean, I imagine you leaned on the Eddie?

[00:28:37] Leah Livingston: I did. Yeah. the corporate order was for logos, so I did have to put a border on each of the cookies after they were printed. But yeah, he was a huge help that week.

[00:28:48] David Crabill: Can we talk about the Eddie a little bit? I, I mean, I’ve seen it just pop up more and more. I know it’s this, big thing and I just, I know it’s an amazing tool, right? Like, it actually like prints, custom decorations on your cookie. Um, Is there any part of you that’s like concerned that, that might like cheapen the cookie industry?

[00:29:10] Like if it enables more people to effectively create like these unbelievable decorated cookies.

[00:29:17] Leah Livingston: Yeah, I, you know, I’ve seen both sides of the story. But honestly I think that it’s just another tool for cookie decorators. I haven’t busted out my airbrush in probably over a year, and that’s a lot of what I use it for is just doing background details on cookies before I, you know, might put a child’s name on a cookie or put Happy Birthday.

[00:29:38] So for me it does a lot of this background work that I would achieve with my airbrush. So I’m not saying it’s an expensive airbrush because it can do a heck of a lot more, and I use it for more as well, but I don’t think it does, you know, I don’t typically, unless it’s a, a corporate order for logos, use it just for an order.

[00:29:58] If anything, it’s just an additional tool that I use to put some depth and added detail to my cookies. And honestly, I, I can’t imagine not having it now.

[00:30:07] David Crabill: As you think back, I mean, I know you’ve done an unbelievable amount of sets and cookies. Are there any that stand out as being notable or memorable?

[00:30:18] Leah Livingston: One of my favorite sets I ever did was for my sister’s 40th birthday. It was a Seinfeld set. My family can speak solely in Seinfeld quotes to one another, and I had so much fun making that set of cookies. And seeing my sister’s face, she had no idea I was making them for her. So that was definitely a very fun one. So Jerry Seinfeld, if you’re listening, I wanna make cookies for you. I’m just kidding.

[00:30:43] David Crabill: Yeah, I don’t think that Jerry actually listens to them.

[00:30:48] Leah Livingston: You never know. You never know. Shoot your shot. Right. Um, Yeah, that was a big one. I always loved sets too. I, I remember specifically, I had a baby shower set for a mom who was becoming a first time mother, and it was all themed around rainbows and the term Rainbow Baby is used for when you have a pregnancy after a loss.

[00:31:11] So that one, you know, hit deep for me. And actually I just booked her daughter’s first birthday party. So that, that was um, a really cool set that I’ll always remember doing. But you know, there, there’s so many that I’ve done that they kind of start to blend together. But anytime somebody brings something new and unique that I haven’t done before, I always, love the challenge of, trying something new.

[00:31:33] But yeah, I think definitely that uh, Seinfeld set Definitely anything I make for my daughter’s birthday is she always gives me a good challenge of what she wants . Are there any sets that were particularly challenging for you or you’re going, well, I don’t know if I could pull this one off. Probably not for you anymore.

[00:31:54] Well, I don’t wanna say not for me. There are definitely, you know, some, some instances where, you know, I sell mini cookies as well, and those are only about two inches in length. And I’ll get a request from a customer where they’ll send me images of full size cookies with that amount of detail work and ask me to put them on mini cookies.

[00:32:13] And, those I just say no to. I say, look, you know, like that’s, it’s not worth it, I guess in a sense that that level of detail is reserved for full size cookies. But other than that, no. I sometimes we’ll get a set where I might internally say like, oh man, I really don’t wanna do this one. But usually then I end up enjoying it when it, boils down to actually making the set.

[00:32:35] David Crabill: do you ship your cookies?

[00:32:37] Leah Livingston: I will ship within the Wisconsin borders but I don’t get a lot of inquiries for shipping. And I don’t particularly enjoy the packaging and shipping part , so I try to avoid it. It’s just a lot of work to package cookies.

[00:32:53] David Crabill: It’s a little surprising to hear that you don’t get a lot of requests from, you know, outside of your area for cookies. And I did notice that you’re on Instagram and Facebook of course, but it looked like your engagement on Facebook is a lot higher than Instagram.

[00:33:10] Leah Livingston: It is.

[00:33:10] David Crabill: Do you know why that is?

[00:33:13] Leah Livingston: I would say 95% of my business drives from Facebook. And I don’t know if it’s just a, a thing, you know, more people are engaged in Facebook in my area than they are in Instagram. I know some other small business owners who have a ton of followers on Instagram, and they still say that more of their business drives from Facebook.

[00:33:32] But yeah, I, I, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a reason I haven’t tried to figure out the algorithm, just kind of let it ride

[00:33:40] David Crabill: It’s not surprising to me to hear that more business comes from Facebook. I mean, even if you had a much larger Instagram account. I mean, typically local orders are gonna come from Facebook, but what was just surprising to me about the fact that you get. More likes and everything on Facebook is that your cookies, I mean, are so photo worthy and you do a really good job with the photos and just like, every post looks amazing and it just seems like, it’s like, exactly what would do well on Instagram.

[00:34:12] And it just seems like you haven’t had like a massive like blow up on Instagram, which I would kind of expected.

[00:34:19] Leah Livingston: Well, I appreciate that. But yeah, I think that just goes to show too that there are so many, so many talented cookie makers out there. I, I’m wanting to see, so I appreciate you saying that. But you know, like I look at other people’s pages and like, yeah, I see why they have tens of thousands of followers but hopefully someday that’ll be me. Just keep plugging along.

[00:34:40] David Crabill: Well, there’s always people better and I, I do know there are just, even better cookiers out of there, but still, like, the stuff you’re producing is very top notch, that’s for sure. , I would expect Instagram to resonate. I don’t know. Maybe. Have you done like many reels on Instagram?

[00:34:58] It seems like you do everything.

[00:35:00] Leah Livingston: Yeah. I do, I kind of go in uh, real kicks where I, you know, focus on the mantra of content is everything or everything is content, excuse me. And I’m recording everything I do. And then I fall off of that wagon pretty quickly because, at the end of the day, the last thing I wanna do is edit videos.

[00:35:19] And so I’m kind of in that slump right now where I don’t have a lot of video content. And I use my cell phone for everything. And I listen to so many audiobooks and podcasts that when I’m recording on my phone, I can’t listen at the same time . And so I find myself favoring my audiobooks over video content.

[00:35:40] David Crabill: So that’s interesting. So, I mean, I know Instagram really likes consistency, right? And so like how, how long do you go. not like producing a lot of reels or video content, you know? And then how long do you go and pick it up and get on a real.

[00:35:57] Leah Livingston: Yeah. You know, I notice a lot of times when I’m doing like holiday orders, I tend to video it more. And honestly, it’s just something I need to prioritize. I need to make it a point to record more content. I think it was a lot harder, you know, when I wasn’t doing this full-time because a lot of my decorating took place at night.

[00:36:15] So the quality, excuse me, it was terrible. And now I, I really don’t have an excuse. I just haven’t prioritized it. I think I’ve just been so busy with orders. And I guess for me, like at the end of the day, what I, what I want is the order, the number of people following on Instagram or viewing my reels.

[00:36:34] As fun as it is to see how many views you get, it doesn’t really return anything to my business except for, widespread exposure which won’t necessarily translate into orders. So I guess I just really haven’t been prioritizing it lately.

[00:36:46] David Crabill: Yeah. And that’s exactly right. Right. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, because it sounds like you have as many custom orders coming in as you could possibly want um, on this topic. Can we talk about TikTok a little bit? I know that you’ve had some success on TikTok.

[00:37:04] Leah Livingston: Yeah, I have a video. Right now it’s at like 2.3 million views. I think. to me it’s absolutely hilarious because it was, and I hear this from people all the time. I have spent, you know, hours on other videos like, this is it, this is the video everyone’s going to love. And the one that went viral, I shot in one take.

[00:37:24] My lip syncing is way. I recorded it and uploaded it, it probably took me about less than five minutes, and that’s the one that everyone likes. So yeah, I pretty much, I’d use dual content though. If I’m going to record a video, it’s going to go on TikTok and it’s going to go on my Instagram reels. but yeah, I had the, I had a little bit of time in there too, right after that one went viral that I had a couple other ones with, tens of thousands of views.

[00:37:49] I think I had a couple that broke a hundred thousand views. Now it’s kind of just kind of tapered back off to about a thousand views per video, but again, I’m not consistent with posting on there. So it’s to be expected, but it’s fun.

[00:38:00] David Crabill: Well, I, I’ve noticed that, you know, on Facebook especially, You’re just super duper open with you know yourself and who you are, and you’re posting things about yourself all the time. Is that just like who you are? Is that, that your nature?

[00:38:19] Leah Livingston: Yeah, you know, the city I live in I always say it’s a, a huge small town. My family has lived in Kenosha forever. And I think too that people, love, especially my community to support small business. I love to get to know small business owners. I like to know their story. I like to know who I’m supporting.

[00:38:39] So I think that’s just kind of part of my personality. And I want people to know that I’m a person. This is who I am, this is why I do what I do come along for the ride or, you know, it was kind of a take it or leave it type thing. I’m, I’m unapologetically myself.

[00:38:53] David Crabill: I did see one post on your Facebook page that talked about like, there’s no insensitive comments or hate comments allowed here. Like has being very open exposed you to like hate. It just seems hard to believe.

[00:39:09] Leah Livingston: Yeah. So I, I know the posts that you are referencing, it happened around the Super Bowl of last year. Specifically the halftime show. My generation, a lot of people were very excited. It was a lot of uh, music that we listened to in high school and in college and had been talking about it a lot on my.

[00:39:29] And I had posted some cookies, a really cool like platter board that was mostly football. But then the center plaque cookie said something along the lines of, I’m here for the snacks commercial and halftime show. And that post brought a lot of people out of the woodwork commenting on the, the halftime show and just making comments that I wasn’t comfortable with.

[00:39:50] And I didn’t engage with any of them. I ended up deleting and actually blocking a few people from my page, which I don’t like to do. But it just, the discussion that was going on in the comments was not relevant to cookies. And that’s not what my platform is for. My platform is for cookies. And I didn’t think I was really opening up a discussion for anything.

[00:40:09] So I just, it wasn’t sitting easy with me. And some people had gotten offended. And so the next day or the day after I had made a post, basically just saying like, Look, if you have something hateful to say, this isn’t the space to do it I will use my trigger finger on that block button.

[00:40:25] And basically like, this is a happy place. This is a safe place. We’re not here to judge people. And that pretty much was the only time. I’ve gotten a couple other comments here or there when I’ve posted sets that I know aren’t going to please everybody. Specifically, I, I posted a set for some workers in a hospital, had a coworker leaving, and they ordered a very passive aggressive set of things like, we hope you fail, or you know, you’re dead to us.

[00:40:56] And, and just things like that. That was very humorous for them. But I posted them and some people were commenting on, you know, how. This language is inappropriate. And so it, it, it doesn’t happen often, but it happens sometimes. And my comeback to people is, is look, custom cookies are just that. They’re custom.

[00:41:15] If you don’t like them, then they’re probably not for you and that’s okay. Order cookies that you like. So yeah, like, it, it doesn’t happen frequently, but I was really rubbed the wrong way with the Super Bowl cookies with some comments that were made by people that I felt like publicly addressing it and just kind of laying out my expectations.

[00:41:34] Like, this is, my page and this is how it’s gonna be. And I had a lot of support from that too, so I was happy to see that.

[00:41:42] David Crabill: Well, I, I know you live in this, you know, city that feels like a small town and is this amazing community, and it, it looks like, a big thing for you is community over competition. Can you expand on that?

[00:41:55] Leah Livingston: Yeah, absolutely. people ask too, like, who’s your competition in the area? And, and to me, like there’s so many people in this city, like there’s no way one of us can make cookies for everybody. And that’s just the same as why there’s more than one gas station in cities and more than one restaurant.

[00:42:11] it’s a community. I have gotten to know other cookers in my area and we talk frequently. And I’m happy when they have success. Their success doesn’t take away from mine at all. And I just, I don’t like that mindset that, that we’re against each other. I think that we can help each other, we can grow with each other.

[00:42:30] Um, And in fact, I’ve started to get to know somebody else in the area. Um, And we’re going out for coffee next week so that we can get to know each other a little bit better.

[00:42:39] David Crabill: I know you’ve developed a close partnership with Emily of that does the charcuterie boards, like, can you. Uh, describe a little bit about how that evolved and, and what you’ve done together.

[00:42:51] Leah Livingston: Yeah. So she makes these, like I said, beautiful charcuterie boards. And she had reached out to me at one point and asked if I could make some logo cookies for somebody who wanted them included in the boards that they were being it was a, a local business ordered multiple boards and they wanted like one local.

[00:43:10] Or one custom logo cookie on each board cause these boards were being delivered to their clients around town. And I said, absolutely. I did that order for her. And from there we just kind of started to get to know each other. You know, she ordered stuff for me. She, I had hired her to do a grazing table for one of my, my daughter’s birthday.

[00:43:28] And we just slowly, again, started to build a friendship. And we’ve come to find out that we’re very similar. We think along the same lines, often we’ve discovered that our husbands are practically identical in all of their hobbies and likes. And it just kind of has turned into like this. I, I feel like I’ve known her for years and not just a year.

[00:43:50] So it’s been great to have another small business owner who’s a woman in my area that I can lean on for success or for, uh, guidance and questions. And we have a very reciprocal relationship even though we don’t sell the same type of product.

[00:44:04] David Crabill: and I, I know you’ve done these like classes together. Uh, very unique, like how did that evolve?

[00:44:12] Leah Livingston: Yeah. So last summer towards the end of summer, Emily had sent me a message. She had seen a post that somebody in a different part of the country had put up advertising a workshop with cookies and charcuterie. She’s like yeah, we need to do this. And I said, sign me up. So we just put out a post on social media and, asked if people would be interested, and then we asked if any local businesses you know, would be interested in hosting us.

[00:44:40] And the overwhelming support we had from both ends was just incredible. So we had classes lined up and before we knew it, we were selling tickets. and our class is sold out and we had an absolute blast hosting the classes. And it sounds like people had a great time. We had a couple of people come to more than one of the classes.

[00:44:58] You know, it is a unique structure in that you’re getting kind of a, two for one. You get to learn from Emily. She was teaching people how to make one of her medium size boards and then I was teaching people how to make you know, like a, depending on the level of design on the cookies I was doing anywhere from four to six and cookies and we just had an absolute blast.

[00:45:18] It was so much fun and we’re going to pick it up again. But you know, it just, with the holidays we both were so busy and then I think we came out of it just wanting a little bit of a, a couple slower months and I’m sure we’ll be back to doing classes in no time.

[00:45:31] David Crabill: And you had done decorating classes before this correct?

[00:45:35] Leah Livingston: I did. Yeah. So most of my classes prior to teaming up with Emily were private classes where I would go to somebody’s home or location and, you know, things like just a bunch of girlfriends getting together or it was a book club or whatever it was. And teaching on a smaller scale than these classes.

[00:45:54] David Crabill: Well, just thinking with the, you know, doing both in one class I mean, it’s great for the person who’s going to the class. Right. And a lot more fun. Are you able to charge significantly more for the classes, do you think? Because it’s just like two for one.

[00:46:11] Leah Livingston: Yeah, our ticket prices were it would be pretty much twice as expensive as what I’ve seen other people doing classes for.

[00:46:19] We each just, you know, figured out what we would wanna charge per ticket and then combine that cost together.

[00:46:25] David Crabill: Okay, so how, how much are you charging then?

[00:46:29] Leah Livingston: The classes were uh, $125 a ticket.

[00:46:32] David Crabill: Oh wow. So took quite expensive.

[00:46:35] Leah Livingston: Yeah.

[00:46:36] David Crabill: Did you actually like sell out of the classes? I mean, did, did it take a long time to fill slots?

[00:46:41] Leah Livingston: Yeah. Our first class sold out very quickly. We have a, restaurant in town called Mars Cheese Castle. It’s a specialty shop and they have a restaurant as well. And we figured that had to be our, our kickoff class was at the Cheese Castle. And that one sold out quickly. And then the next few did as well too.

[00:46:58] We did scale back on the number of people we had in the class just so that we could give more individualized attention to people and those sold out as well. So I think two people recognize that, we advertise it as it’s a fun night out. You know, get together with some friends and come hang out with us.

[00:47:13] And people were willing to do that.

[00:47:15] David Crabill: It seems like a lot to do. I mean, it’s a lot to do like a decorating class, just like cookies alone, but having to do two things in one class. Like are these like twice as long or are you like simplifying what you’re teaching?

[00:47:30] Leah Livingston: Each took about, I’d say an hour to an hour and a half. So definitely not like advanced level cookie decorating or anything like that. And we did come to find that most of the people that were coming to our classes were just looking for a fun night out. So we kept things simple. We kept things easy, you know, stuff you can do while you’re chatting with your friends and just enjoying a night out.

[00:47:52] So I would say all in all the classes were about three to three and a half hours.

[00:47:56] David Crabill: It’s a pretty long class overall.

[00:47:58] Leah Livingston: Yeah. usually when most people do like a decorating class, they just like have the place that they do it and they do it in the same place every time. I see. You did these in different locations, like how did you come to doing it in different locations instead of just picking one?

[00:48:15] Yeah, so this goes back to the initial post that we put out. We had these local businesses reach out to us asking us to come to their venues to host a class. And you know, going back to the loving small business and supporting local, you know, every place we went to was a different local based business.

[00:48:34] And so Emily and I both kind of hold that value of supporting the community. So we thought it would be you know, fun and, and engaging with the community to go more than one place.

[00:48:44] David Crabill: so like you not only had like interest in people attending the classes, but you also had interest in like, people hosting the classes or like locations

[00:48:52] Leah Livingston: Yeah,

[00:48:53] David Crabill: and like, are you paying for the venues?

[00:48:57] Leah Livingston: no, actually we have not paid for a venue to date which I know is unique. I know a lot of people have to pay for the space that they host their classes.

[00:49:04] David Crabill: Well it’s interesting cause like that, I mean it almost sounds like a really good model. Like why do you think that they’re willing to host you for free? Is it like cause of how unique your classes are and they think that’ll track people in? Or like, do you think you could do the same thing if you just did a cookie decorating class?

[00:49:24] Leah Livingston: Yeah. You know, I don’t know. I think part of it is knowing that we were going to be bringing business into their location. Each place we did it had a bar , so maybe they thought they would see an increase in bar sales those nights. But I think too, like going back to our community, we all just like to support each other too. And it, it just didn’t come up.

[00:49:45] David Crabill: Well, it, it’s an interesting model and it’s one that, that might work for anyone, right? If they just Not only try to market their workshop towards people who are gonna take it, but also market it towards venues too. you think it was important for you to have a partnership which allowed you to do like, more marketing for the workshop?

[00:50:06] Like instead of it being like, I don’t know, were you able to split tasks?.

[00:50:10] Leah Livingston: Yeah, I definitely think that. , it was beneficial for us. I think, you know, it increased social media presence. You know, the fact that we were taking it as like, we’re teaming up to do this awesome thing together and people saw consistency with posts on both sides and us kind of hyping up each other’s businesses.

[00:50:28] I think definitely was beneficial for us. And as far as like splitting tasks and stuff we set up the platform to take ticket sales and then agreed, when we’d be doing posts. But other than that, we, each prepped in our own spaces and got our own stuff ready because our products are so different.

[00:50:47] You know, there really isn’t an overlap.

[00:50:48] David Crabill: So, how are things in your business now? I mean, I guess you’re gonna pick up these classes again but you’ve been doing this full-time for a little while now, like, have you actually been able to generate a full-time income yet since leaving your job?

[00:51:07] Leah Livingston: Yeah. Yeah, actually I’ve been very blessed that things have taken off as far as corporate orders go, which are bigger ticket items. And I am on track to make as much, if not more than I made in healthcare,

[00:51:21] David Crabill: Wow,

[00:51:22] Leah Livingston: which is crazy to say out loud.

[00:51:25] David Crabill: So as you like, look forward into the future what are your goals or where would you like this to go?

[00:51:31] Leah Livingston: Yeah. So my dream has always been to move into brick and mortar. Um, I love my community and I wanna be more integrated with it, and I’m very excited to share that that dream is coming true. And I will have a brick and mortar. Sooner than later. Um, I’m going to be co-leasing a space with Emily from Fancy Snack Charcuterie and we’re going to have a little storefront where people can walk in and buy cookies and little Togo charcuterie stuff while we continue to focus on our custom businesses.

[00:52:05] David Crabill: Wow, that, that’s amazing. Like this partnership has really evolved into something amazing. So, what are your goals for the brick and mortar? Are you wanting it to be like a, a storefront where people walk in and can get items uh, you know, immediately? Or is it still gonna be kind of this like custom model?

[00:52:24] Leah Livingston: Yeah, so primarily going to focus on the custom model, continue to do what I’m doing now but hopefully on a larger scale and working with commercial equipment, you know, be able to speed up production a little bit but also going to focus on having some walk-in ready to go type cookies. You So yeah, having stuff for people to walk in and purchase, but continuing to, focus on what I’ve been doing as well with the custom orders.

[00:52:50] David Crabill: Is the location that you’re leasing, is it like in downtown with like a lot of people walking by?

[00:52:58] Leah Livingston: So we actually opted not to go to our downtown area. Downtown Kenosha is absolutely beautiful. But real estate down there, the buildings are older and very expensive. So we happened to find a little standalone building that we just absolutely fell in love with in our city that we decided was our location.

[00:53:18] So we’re actually going to be on the north side of Kenosha. It has its own little parking lot, like it’s just perfect for us.

[00:53:25] David Crabill: Well, I, I know you’re still kind of in the early stages of this formulating, but can you share like what the challenges have been with finding a place or like what you’ve had to invest in? Like, I don’t know if you’ve gotten equipment yet, or like, are there any of those challenges or details you can fill in?

[00:53:42] Leah Livingston: people are gonna think we’re, losing our minds, but we fell in love with the very first place that we looked at, and that’s the one that we’re moving forward with. We both have the attitude of when, you know, you know, and we knew. So that has been pretty seamless. As far as the location goes, we will have to do some renovations inside.

[00:54:00] We were lucky to find a building that no internal walls are structural, so we can really change it to what we need it to be. And then as far as funding goes, we have started to kind of keep our eye on commercial equipment. Our needs are a little bit different for what we’ll need in the kitchen, but we did recently sit down with WWBIC, is, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation. And they helped us put together our financial projections and you know, gave us the direction of some loan officers and people who can help us. We also sat down with the Chamber of Commerce in our city. We’ve talked to the city developers, fire inspectors, and honestly, we’ve been very blessed that things have been fairly seamless so far.

[00:54:44] So we know we’re going to have to make some big investments in purchasing equipment, but. We’re trying to kind of look around and find some places that might auction off equipment you know, buy used and upgrade when we can down the road. But yeah, there’s a lot of moving pieces right now. But it’s all been so much fun and so exciting.

[00:55:00] David Crabill: Wow. And has there been any issues with like, I mean, you produce very, very different products, right? Like are you having to do quite a bit more investment to make sure that this kitchen caters to both of you?

[00:55:14] Leah Livingston: Yeah, so the way the building is set up, we will be able to kind of have our own little zones, I suppose. You could say. But really it’s kind of interesting too, how there really isn’t any crossover with equipment. my prep space, I, you know, my mixer , dough sheeter, prep tables freezer is more so what I’ll need and she basically needs prep tables in refrigeration.

[00:55:39] So it’s kind of interesting how we can coexist in the space and not need to share equipment. So we don’t really have to worry about, like her meats and cheeses stinking up my cookies and things like that. So no, we, we’ve actually been working on drawing up plans and, and things have been going pretty smoothly and I we’re both realists.

[00:55:57] We know there’ll be bumps in the road as we figure this out, but we couldn’t be more excited.

[00:56:01] David Crabill: It’s such an interesting and unique partnership. Do you feel like the classes were kind of a proof of concept for it?

[00:56:11] Leah Livingston: Yeah, we have talked about that. and we always said too, like, who doesn’t love eating a meal and then having dessert afterwards, like we’re like a one stop shop. So it is unique in a sense, but also because we both focus on custom orders, you know, she’s making boards for parties and offices and, and a lot of times we’ve seen in the past that I’m making cookies for those same events, birthday parties.

[00:56:37] And so realistically we always joke too that we’re making it easier on our customers. You only have one place to come to pick up your stuff. So yeah, I think it was somewhat of a proof of concept. We’re excited to have this space as well because we’ll be able to actually host our classes in our location.

[00:56:52] So that’s kind of why we’ve taken a pause on going places to do it for the moment, just because, you know, we’ve got so much going on on the back end. But yeah, we’ll be able to bring those classes back and be in our own space.

[00:57:03] David Crabill: are you guys keeping the businesses separate? Like, are you just having your separate businesses in the same location? Like, you’re not like merging the businesses Right.

[00:57:13] Leah Livingston: Correct. Yeah. We’re going to be two separate entities. So when you walk in the shop, like, you know, if you went to the right, you might find Emily. If you go to the left, you’re gonna find me. And that just for us, makes sense at the moment. Again, trying to be as smart about everything as we can and as much as we, you know, have a great business relationship, we have this great developing friendship, we also understand that we’re humans and things can happen and, you know, we just wanna make the smartest decisions going into this as we can.

[00:57:41] David Crabill: Well that’s, that’s really amazing. And as you are looking ahead with the storefront, what are your goals down the road? Are you just wanting to grow this and keep doing what you’re doing? Or what do you hope the future has in store for you?

[00:57:56] Leah Livingston: Yeah. At the end of the day, I wanna keep decorating cookies. I would love to see the business grow, would love to bring jobs into the community at some point and give back. You know, I, I grew up in the city that I’m in and opening a business in, and this place means a lot to me, and I just want to have a successful small business and keep bringing cookies to everybody’s occasions.

[00:58:19] David Crabill: Well, it’s exciting to see , how far you’ve come, and looking forward to see where it is going to take you in the future. Now, if people wanna learn more about you, where can they find you or how can they reach.

[00:58:31] Leah Livingston: Yeah, so my website is It actually will forward you right to my online store where I have a gallery and where orders can be placed. Otherwise I am on Facebook under Yaya’s Sweet Treats and Instagram as well. My Instagram handle is yayas_sweettreats. And then I am also on TikTok as Yaya’s Sweet Treats.

[00:58:56] David Crabill: Awesome. I’ll post those in the show notes. But thank you again so much for coming on the show and sharing with us today.

[00:59:02] Leah Livingston: Yeah. Thanks David. That was great. Thanks for having me.

[00:59:05] David Crabill: That wraps up another episode of The Forrager Podcast.

[00:59:10] For more information about this episode, go to 90.

[00:59:17] And if you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a quick moment right now and leave me a review on Apple Podcast. 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.

[00:59:30] 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

[00:59:43] Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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