Monday, March 26, 2012

Etsy Showcase: Paradise Sweets

One of my favorite things about social media is being able to share new cookbooks, ingredients, and culinary trends. Today is a special day since I am sharing a brand new Etsy shop launched last month (February 2012) by one of my friends, the talented baker Aubrey A'ea. We met while studying at the CIA, and Aubrey was always the detail-oriented baker and you can definitely see that this attention to detail is showcased in her shop, Paradise Sweets!

Located on the island of O'ahu, specifically in Honolulu, Aubrey crafts these Paradise Sweets with the freshest ingredients available, making sure that the flavors are perfect! And after making the delicate sugar cookie, she decorates each and every one with a sugar icing coating and can personalize them to your liking. Just look at the camera cookies below! Have a photographer in your life with a sweet tooth? These would be perfect gift and can be shipped right to their door!

"Paradise Sweets products are baked and decorated fresh to order and shipped out from HAWAII! Everything is made from scratch with local, quality ingredients. You will taste sweet sunshine in every bite!" -Aubrey

Cooking with Books had a chance to catch up with Aubrey and ask her some questions about baking, small businesses, and her favorite cookie! 
Cooking with Books: What's you favorite treat to bake and eat?
Aubrey from Paradise Sweets: Favorite thing to bake and eat would have to be... Snickerdoodles. That's what I grew up baking with my mom and grandmothers. There is nothing better than smelling the sweet cinnamon and then eating them hot and fresh! Plus it's a nice trip down memory lane! 
 Cooking with Books: Any advice for bakers wanting to start their own online shop?
Aubrey of Paradise Sweets:
  • Take pictures of everything you make. Everything. At a brick-and-mortar bakery, you can sell based on smell alone. On the Internet, you've only got pictures and your words. Make it good, then make it LOOK good. 
  • Experiment with what works best. Use natural lighting, interesting backgrounds, and add color if your baked goods are brown or off-white (as most cookies are!). Write down notes when you do things differently, so you can remember. 
  • Do research on what other shops are selling, but be unique. I'll often look around for cookie inspiration but I try to make things different and my own. I'm thrilled when I can't find any inspiration because it really forces me to be creative!
  • Test out your shipping practices. Do research on pricing, then send things out to someone you trust to give you honest feedback. Were things broken? You need more padding. Tasted stale? Use better, air-tight packaging. Looked unprofessional? Consider dressing it up a bit. I sent out test packages to California and NY, noted the time it took to get there and the state they arrived in.
  • Always always always make extra. In case something breaks, doesn't turn out right, or you just *need* to do a taste test. I'll always put in a couple extra cookies.
  • Don't worry if the sales don't start right away. It takes time. Get some local sales under your belt too. Ask people you know to hand out your business cards or spread the word. A lot of my business comes from word-of-mouth. And guess what, that's free!

Thanks Aubrey for the fantastic tips and we wish you the best in this new venture! And readers, I can vouch for these cookies: they're perfectly decorated, with a sweet icing and a buttery sugar cookie. Oh and they shipped from Hawaii to Martha's Vineyard and not one cookie suffered a break!

Order some cookies for a loved one today: Visit Paradise Sweets on Etsy
Connect with Aubrey and Paradise Sweets: Like Paradise Sweets Facebook Page

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