We recently connected with Samara Garth and have shared our conversation below.
Samara, appreciate you joining us today. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Who doesn’t love a good gift! That’s how my cookie business started. As a new full time Hairstylist, I wanted to give my clients a Christmas gifts and decided to bake fresh homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies- they loved them. I always loved to cook and bake and would often bring in baked goods to share when I tested a new recipe. After years of hearing them say, “You should sell this!”, that’s exactly what I started doing!
For several years, selling my baked goods was just something I did during the holidays. Eventually, I started offering my baked goods all year long. Over the years, business increased and I was ready to make a total career switch. After 17 years of being a full time Hairstylist, I left the salon full time and revved my baking business up full time! Prior to going full time with baking, I has a wide variety baked goods on the menu. After having a very productive conversation with the co-owner of a very successful national baking business, I honed in on what was in demand- the couture cookies. At that point, I decided that Crush Sweets was a custom decorated cookie business- that’s it. Once I made that distinction, things really took off!
Our focus has always been custom orders with an emphasis on events and retail. Along with many corporate clients, our cookies are retailed at two florists- Dr. Delphinium (4+ years in Dallas, TX) and Pugh’s Flower Shop (6+ months in Memphis, TN). We have just opened our first storefront location in Irving, TX where we will continue to mainly service custom orders with the addition of offering one of a kind in person Paint Your Own Couture cookie classes and private parties! In store purchases of plain pre-packaged bite size cookies will be available in the upcoming weeks.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I’ve had an interesting and seemingly unrelated career path. I originally came to Texas as an co-op for Texas Instruments, Inc. Upon graduating rom Michigan State University in 2000, I took a full time position with the company. Feeling a definitive tug to “do more” I decided to leave my corporate career to pursue a full time cosmetology career. I’d been doing hair since I was 13, always wanted to do hair full time, I just didn’t have the credentials. I left corporate America, completed my training at Toni & Guy Academy and immediately went to work for myself as an independent Stylist for 17 years! After many years in the salon, I felt the same tug I felt in corporate America. It was a tug calling me to more of myself. I knew I had more in me and I couldn’t fully get it out standing behind the stylist chair 12+ hours a day.
I honestly let demand drive my business. I enjoyed making a variety of delicious desserts; but, always knew that variety means more overhead and management of goods and operations. I originally pushed my wonderful original Red Velvet Cheesecake and really put all of my eggs in that basket. But, the cookies just sold themselves. Several other dessert business owner actually pleaded the cookie case to me well before this revelation- they were right! Embracing my belief that simplicity will win you the entire ball game was key. So, once I realized cookies were the only thing consistently selling (easily), I focused on that.
A big part of my success is simplicity. I often say, YOU have got to figure out who you are. If you don’t, people will tell you who you are and more than likely, you’ll be running around in circles trying to manage you. I do cookies- that’s it. One recipe- that’s it! Mainly squares- that’s it! Keep it simple and focus on having a good product. I make up the rules for my business, so, I make it easy for everyone to win. Sometimes you have to tell people what they want. I often say, “Colonel Sanders could probably grill a great steak; but, that’s not what he does.”. I’m not afraid to tell people what I don’t do. We often feel this urge to be all things to all people- not a good idea personally or in business.
I’m proud of what my brand and business has created, what it represents and the positive experience it creates. Clients have pure joy when they receive our cookies and that feeling is a lot of the “why” of why I do what I do. Wonderful connections have been made directly and indirectly through Crush Sweets’ cookies. and I am often amazed at the interesting things I’ve learned from working with different clients. I’d have never thought that cookies can get you behind so many veils!
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
I solidly planned on transitioning from a full time career as a Hairstylist to a full time Baker. I did all the legwork to hit the ground running in September of 2017 after I recovered from a (planned) major surgery. What I did not plan is for my husband that encouraged me to leave my Hairstylist career to pursue a full time baking career, ask for a divorce in the midst of this planned transition. Plans change- adjust.
Even though I barely had monthly income, not moving forward with my business as planned was never an option. Physically staying in a place that was not physically or emotionally safe was not an option. I didn’t know exactly what the next 6-12 months looked like; but, I knew I never once failed to have a roof over my head, food on the table and a vehicle to drive and I wasn’t about to start. So, as I launched a new business, a new career, I was very unexpectedly also moving my entire life, literally, almost overnight. I attribute my success during such a pivotal and uncertain time, to focus and calm. I knew that I could not spaz out. Still recovering physically, I knew it would not help me to “lose it”. Emotionally, I knew I was better off not “losing it”. I actually became amazed and so proud of myself for being so calm, still smiling and being happy in the midst of being sad. That’s what I focused on. I instantly understood that it was my attitude that would determine the ease of that whole process. I then fully understood how to prioritize who and what you give your attention to. I learned that I literally and figuratively could not afford to invest my attention and emotion into things and people that had no direct or positive impact on where I’m going. The true definition of a waste of time.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
When the pandemic hit, ALL not some, ALL of my orders for March of 2020 were cancelled. It’s feels much different to live that versus reading or hearing about it. I felt very tone deaf to even be marketing cookies at such a time, nor did I have the desire. I felt I could be of more value at a time like that. I sat back and tried to identify the “gap”. My conclusion…if anyone could help parents out with having kids at home all day, that’d be a winner. That led to me creating and offering virtual baking classes for kids and adults, which then led to many other great business and personal connections. This implementation actually helped me grow my business during the pandemic and has also helped lay the groundwork for a program that I will be implementing this summer that focuses on training kids in an in depth cookie decoration program at our new cookie studio!
- Website: www.crushsweets.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/crushsweets
- Facebook: facebook.com/mycrushsweets
- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/samara-garth-27b736152
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/crush-sweets-farmers-branch
Samara Garth Rance Greer