This is an interview with Susan, the owner of Treatz 'n Treasures one of the many wonderful edible shops on Etsy. She is the first of a series of interviews on online edible shops. While taking a break from canning, preserving, salt and rub making I visited Susan’s online shop at www.etsy.com/shop/treatzntreasures and just loved all of her baked goods. Everything I saw was tempting and I encourage you to visit and support her shop. There is something for everybody.
Susan has lived in Indiana nearly all her life. When she finished high school Susan join the military and traveled across the country with a short stop in Panama, Central America. When she came back to Indiana, she attended a Technical school nearby, completed a course in computers and found out the hard way that a cutthroat lifestyle is NOT for her! She met and married her husband of 9 years and together they’re raising 3 great kids! Susan says it's not easy, but she has her creative side to fall back on. She has a very strong vision of what she’d like to achieve and a good set of goals to make it as close as possible. She would like to be able to fall back on her online shops as a good source of income, so she is careful to offer great products that are very carefully made and made with love. She would love to see the same customers come back time and again!
What is the name of your shop and how did you come up with the name?
I named my shop Treatz 'n Treasures because I wanted everyone who browsed through to see they could find a gift for their loved ones and something special for themselves.
What is your product line?
While I currently have edibles like yummy cookies and candies in my shop, I'm in the process of expanding my product line to include items like fleece capelets for girls, quilted wall hangings and baby blankets, appliqued table linens, and even hand-painted Christmas ornaments.
How did you decide what items to put in your shop?
Definitely by popular demand! All of my products are things I've made and given as gifts to loved ones, as well as sold to nearby clients. When I hear rave reviews from them, I know it's a keeper.
What challenges did you encounter when you opened your shop and how did you over come them?
I think the most difficult thing for me is running my shop while juggling life in general. While I have the help of my husband when he's home, raising 3 children so close in age is a big hurdle in itself. Then factor in working outside the home plus the daily duties of a mother, and you've got non-stop chaos! I do this because I want my children to know that if you want something badly enough, you've got to put in the effort.
What type of equipment do you use while baking and what kind of kitchen?
I have a small kitchen to work out of, but I have many years of experience sorting through my priorities. While my bread dough is being kneaded in my bread machine, I can work on melting the chocolate for the fudge AND add the final ingredients to my Kitchenaide mixer for the batch of cookies I need to finish.
Do you feel the social networking is helpful in making your business a success?
It's all about word of mouth. I use whatever means I can to get traffic to my shop, but I also work with a lot of local customers who've greatly helped in my cause.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I tend to rely on the seasons to help me along. For instance, I'll soon be working on Halloween and Christmas ideas very soon.
How long have you been baking, who taught you and what was the first thing you baked?
I've baked since I was about 7 or 8. My grandfather and Aunts taught me. The very first thing I made didn't turn out so great. It was Mother's Day and I wanted to make my mom breakfast in bed of waffles and juice. I'd seen her make them a thousand times, but I guess I wasn't paying enough attention when it came to her buttering the waffle maker because that's what I forgot! Needless to say, they didn't come out (of the waffle maker that is)! I'm very careful now to make sure I have everything out I need to start a recipe.
If you had to pick a favorite from your shop, what would it be and why?
My kiflis, for sure! They're my grandfathers recipe--he was second generation Lithuanian and made them every year. So light, crisp, and sweet!
What are some of the unique items you sell?
Although I don't have a lot of items listed, my menus are endless! I have a collection of cookbooks that would make many librarians jealous, and I'm always on the lookout for something new to add. I love international desserts, especially Italian and Polish. I make a lot of Fregolatas (very large and crisp Italian cookies made for large gatherings), kiflis, cappucino cookies, Ciastka Kurche (polish pecan cookies), anise drops, and my fudge is renowned for being super creamy, rich, and not too over the top.
How do you pick the names for your edibles?
Many of the names for my baked goods come from my children and what they call them. Give a 6 year old a bigger than average peanut butter cookie, and it's a Monster. LOL
What local venues have you had success with your edibles?
Last year I attended a craft fair and bake show at a local retirement facility and I sold out of everything I had within 4 hours. I always give samples of many of the things I've brought. It's the samples that seal the deal.
What does it take to get your edibles delivered freshly?
Great time management skills! I don't make anything ahead to freeze, I think it alters the taste. So I have to plan my menu very carefully. It took 3 days to make everything I took to the last bake sale I did. I'll usually give myself an entire day to decorate and/or frost items I've made the day before. That way there are no issues with Christmas cookies that don't look like they came from a bakery. Sometimes I'll even offer to bag frosting separately from the product and give the customer a chance to decorate things like cupcakes if the weather's too warm and I know it would melt.
What has been your shops overall reception?
I believe I've had a good showing for what I have listed. I've been fortunate to have many people heart my shop, and I actually had another before closing it to open this one. My feedback and hearts on the previous one made me proud. I'm hoping that once this shop is open that long, I can continue making people that happy.
What do you have special for the holidays?
I'll soon be listing my Kiflis again. I have to wait for the weather to turn cooler and become less humid. It's a terrible thing to attempt a finicky dough in the wrong type of weather! I have some very special Christmas Nutcracker Cookies planned, too. I'll also have non-edible items listed in the next month or so as I continue to expand my line.
What do you what to tell the readers about why they should shop at Treatz 'n Treasures?
I make every attempt to deliver to my customers what I would want to receive! Great products that are freshly made with the best ingredients, delivered to your door as perfect as getting them from the bakery down the street. Even the packaging has the same amount of care put into it as the product I'm putting inside.
Is there anything I haven’t covered in this interview that you would like to add?
I also take special orders and have many years of experience making gift baskets! I just finished an order for a customer in the medical field that wanted to expand her client base. I made 25 beautiful gift tins with 3 types of cookies specially made for her. I'm still receiving great reviews from that and it was really fun to do!
Where can the readers find you?
I have 2 shops:
Well, it was a pleasure interviewing you and learning all about Treatz 'n Treasures. I invite my readers to visit your mouth watering shop. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place for you.