Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Addie Corby-Winn, Owner of Little Sweets Cake Design, located in Milan, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My bakery is a dessert studio, and we specialize in custom cakes, pies, cheesecakes, cookies, and assorted desserts by the dozen for large events. Our cakes are the highlight. We love to create anything from glamorous tiered wedding cakes to 3D sculpted cakes for birthday parties.

Tell us about yourself

I remember finishing high school thinking I would continue on a path in the fine arts, but I had a nagging feeling there was no exact career path laid for me that matched a college degree. I did attend college starting at age 18 and completed an art education degree (it really just fell in my lap). It certainly had its place in the trajectory of my life, although teaching had been more emotionally challenging, and it really sucked the life out of me. When I realized that I could combine my passion for dessert and art, the creative spark finally made sense.

I would spend hours mastering cake recipes and decorating techniques every night and weekend while teaching high school art. It was exhausting, but I could make art instead of talking about it all day. I realized that becoming an entrepreneur in the baking and wedding business was the "something missing" from the career options I didn't think about back in high school.

I am motivated to continue the grind for my family and my daughter. She is now almost 9, and she watched me grow this business since she was about 3-4 years old. I am also motivated to show up for my clients. These clients are looking for someone to trust, and that truly cares about delivering the best possible product.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of my biggest accomplishments so far has been settling into "phase 3" of my studio space. I started in my small home kitchen, then I rented a commercial kitchen in a church basement near my house, and now I lease two sides of a commercial storefront. We have our literal "happy place" to work in every day. The productivity and talent that comes out of the bakery with my staff are inspiring and incomparable.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The most challenging thing about being a business owner is the fact that there is no ceiling. One goal endlessly leads to another, and there is constant growth/development. This isn't a negative thing, but rather an insatiable appetite to do more than you're already doing, and the to-do list never ends. It sometimes feels like a game where I jump the "high cost of supplies" hurdle (for example), and there is always another that comes along. I also spend most of my waking hours a day working on and in my business. It is constant dedication.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. As much as we want to avoid it, you need to know the exact cost of doing business. You need to pay yourself, and sadly, a lot of business owners don't. If you don't know how much every expense costs monthly then, well, we know what happens.
  2. Your business is only as happy as your team is happy. Whether you have one employee or 100, find your people by taking care of them. I have had other wedding vendors mention to me that they will not refer engaged couples to other local bakeries that have rude or unhappy staff.
  3. Keep a consistent list of goals on your phone that you can look at every day. Writing it in a notebook and tucking it away on your desk helps you forget what you wrote. Stretch your legs and push yourself. Establish a ceiling only if you want one.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.