The name of my Shop – Sis Miss – stemmed from my Grandmother. We used to call her Sis (short for Cecelia) and since I would always make ‘nicknames’ for my family members, she was called ‘Sis Miss.’ Since she was the person who had taught me to bake and concoct recipes, I thought it would be perfect . . . and here we are!
Sis Miss offers numerous baked goods and sweets, ranging from cookies, muffins, sweet breads, pastries, cakes, pies and truffles. Even if an item is not listed on my shop, I accept all requests; catering to everyone’s needs, so any specialty items can be made to suit any specifications.
How did you decide what items to put in your shop?
It’s all about freshness and shipping – the two main things I have to think about when delivering the goodies. The weather and season plays a big factor in my items listed. I am a huge fan of cookies and I love to try a new recipe each week. I have my family and friends – a.k.a ‘my guinea pigs’ – try them, and if they make the grade, then they go up for sale. A big family favorite is the muffin tops or mini muffins, since they go great with a hot tea or coffee.
What challenges did you encounter when you opened your shop and how did you overcome them.
One problem I had was with shipping the items. With cookies and other pastries, they are very fragile and need to be packaged appropriately. After an order for lady locks (which are VERY fragile), I stocked up on bubble wrap and larger boxes to ensure a safe delivery.
What advice would you give to someone trying to get started?
Test everything – from recipes to shipping and pricing. You have to know every step your order goes through before sending it to a customer. Work out the kinks to get it right!
What would you say makes you passionate about what you do?
When I am in the kitchen baking up some treats, it takes all of the stress away from the day. I concentrate on all ingredients and directions, and when it is done baking/cooking (and actually turns out right), it is a huge sense of accomplishment. Plus, when I hear the Ooo’s and Ahh’s of tasters, that’s when I know, for just one second, I made their life a little sweeter!
Do you feel the social networking is helpful in making your business a success?
Social networking is definitely helping business. I post my cake photos on Facebook and receive comments on each post. Also, word-of-mouth advertising through sites and through friends, family and co-workers has been a tremendous help in generating business throughout my local community.
I have sold items for a few parties/events; everything from a Wine Tasting (mini cupcakes/cookies) to a few Bridal Showers (tiered cakes/truffles). Since Sis Miss just got started in June of 2010, we hope to expand into local Farmer’s Markets and competitions within the next several years to market the company and the quality products.
Inspiration comes from everything; my friends and family foremost, since they help me pick out recipes or make their suggestions for an item. Also, I have a running imagination and I pick up ideas from my surroundings and combine them with a theme or decoration and then the creativity just flows from there. I do a lot of research as well, with cake decorating and cupcake design. I love to see new and sometimes wild innovations in the pastry world – it keeps me moving!
How long have you been baking, who taught you and what was the first thing you baked?
My grandmother and my mother both taught me how to bake and decorate cakes, cookies and pies. They were always making a family ‘specialty’ for each weekend and/or holiday. I loved to get involved in the baking process, so I could reap the benefits of when the sweets came out of the oven.
I think the first time I made my first batch of sugar cookies, I was about 5 years old – we were making Christmas cookies and I painted them with egg wash and didn’t take my eyes off of them while they baked in the oven. The smell and the taste were just wonderful! I knew then that this tradition was going to stay with me for a long time.
I actually like to make the treats by hand – not using a mixer, but sometimes I have to give in and pull out the Kitchen Aid mixer once in a while. I like to manually mix and concoct my items; it gives me the feel of how my Grandma would do it when she was baking for her family.
I have terrible luck with silicone baking items, so I mainly use aluminum (with parchment), glass and stone bake ware. The baking action occurs in my Grandma’s kitchen, so it’s actually a great feeling for me, to know that I can bake the items that she used to, in her own kitchen.
If you had to put a favorite from your shop, what would it be and why?
My favorite would have to be the Apple Pie Muffins – they taste exactly like a homemade apple pie, but with half the calories! J Another favorite would be the Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Sandwiches. I am a huge PB fan, and this hits the spot.
I would have to say the Glazed Pineapple Cookies and the Lady Locks have been a family, fan and friend favorite. They are a moist cookie with a hint of real pineapple and vanilla, and then topped of with a Pineapple Glaze. These are requested in every season!
Do you have special names for your edibles and how did you come up with them?
I usually just work with the ingredients and flavors to add into the titles. So, what you see is what you get, no surprises.
The one that makes me laugh and crave is the Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies. They were an order from a friend who was throwing a holiday party with the theme of ‘Ugly Christmas Sweaters.’ So, of course I had to make the cookies match the guests! I have an old recipe from my grandmother called ‘lady locks’ that are a little difficult to make and require a special baking utensil, but they are well worth it when they melt in your mouth. YUM!
I am also working on some Vegan items, which should be featured in mid-September.
Can you tell readers why they should shop at Sis Miss?
Quality, freshness, care and FREE SAMPLES! With each order, you not only receive baked goods with fresh ingredients and full of seasonal flavors, but also the aromas of my kitchen to your table. Each order you place, you also receive a FREE SAMPLE of a Sis Miss creation (samples changes monthly).
What does it take to get your edibles delivered freshly?
It’s all about timing! When I receive an order, my items are made within 24-hours from time of purchase and sent the next day via Priority Mail (2-day). Since I do not use any preservatives, I need to ensure quality and freshness with quick shipping options.
What has been the overall reception your shop?
Since I am a new ‘edible’ Etsy shop, the first few months have been pretty good to me! I hope to pick up a few new customers in the holiday months coming up, so they can fall in love with Sis Miss and the splendor of the Fall/Winter flavors.
What do you have special for the holidays?
I have a few Vegan items I am trying right now for the holidays. Also, I am going to add cookie samplers, some winter flavors (pumpkin and cinnamon), nut rolls and throwing in some old favorites, like lady locks and gingerbread treats.
What would you like our readers, potential customers, to know about you and your store?
Is there anything I haven’t covered in this interview that you would like to add?
All Sis Miss baked goods are prepared in a licensed commercial kitchen. From a delightful array of sweet breads, muffin tops, mini cupcakes, to decorated cakes, pastries, brownies and cookies - I love to make them all. And let’s not forget your pooch - I make dog treats as well. I will gladly cater to any specific requests or custom orders -Your wish is my oven's command!
I would like to welcome everyone into my kitchen and I hope that you can find something that fits your taste buds. Try one or try them all - it’s hard to choose, but enjoy every bite of it! We look forward to baking for you & yours . . .
Where can the readers find you?
My main site:
Where you can purchase items:
All of my trial and error baking/cooking photos: