Happy Feature Friday!
We are incredibly excited about today’s feature, because Lisa He of LHE Bakes creates the most beautiful baked goods! We love how her business has grown since the start, now creating dog treats, custom cookies for clients, and even cookie subscription boxes! She isn’t afraid to try new techniques or experiment, and we think that’s what makes her creations stand out and be so well executed! She’s gotten to where she is through practice and balance — and has some great advice to give through her own creative journey. Keep reading and get ready to seriously crave some cookies!
: Tell us a few fun facts about yourself!
: Am a software/medical device project manager by trade, but love to use my hands after my “day job” is over. I am slightly obsessed with my dogs. I know I’m going to have dogs for the rest of my life. My husband and I are pretty dedicated to fitness! We eat a “if it fits your macros” lifestyle and lift weights 4x a week– we were feeling really out of shape after getting our first jobs out of college, and realized that it was time for a change so we can live better, longer. We also LOVE doing obstacle races (for fun, not competition).
: How did you discover you had a passion for baking and wanted to pursue it to start your own home bakery?
: This was a complete accident! One day in college (this was in like 2008) I came across a photo of a French Macaron. They were SO ADORABLE that I became instantly obsessed and spent YEARS trying to perfect them. These beautiful little treats definitely sparked my passion for baking. Over the years, I’ve always maintained some form of creative outlet aside from my day job– because I need a well rounded life to be truly happy. I finally took the plunge last year and started this little gig on the side– haven’t looked back since!
: Your decorated sugar cookies are so beautiful and well done! How did you become so skilled at making your creations and improve as you went along?
: There’s no shortcut or secret– just a lot of time and practice. It took well over 2 years to get to the level where I’m at, and I learn new things every day or find an efficiency in a step or process. Having good tools is always helpful– for example, having an airbrush opens up doors to a bunch of different designs using stencils. I recently bought a PicoProjector and have been using it for really detailed designs or characters.
: What is your favorite type of cookie or design to bake or a recipe that holds a special meaning for you?
: It’s really, REALLY hard to choose with design is a favorite. There are a lot of talented cookie artists in the world, and we all draw some form of inspiration from each other to create similar designs or original ones. I think I am most proud of my sugar cookie recipe — it’s really unlike most cookie recipes. It is more dense, contains a lot of good stuff like honey, vanilla beans, lemon zest that makes the base itself so much more interesting than a standard sugar cookie. This also means that it has a different chew and aroma. A lot of clients tell me that our recipe is super delicious and very different from what they’ve had before. This recipe holds a special meaning to me because I’ve worked so hard to perfect it– and every time I’m able to share it with someone, it brings me so much joy.
: We think it is so cool that you do a cookie subscription and dog treats as well! What made you decide to add these items to your shop?
: Our first adopted dog, Frey, was not a food motivated dog, so training her at the beginning was such a nightmare! I started baking puppy treats because I knew exactly what went in them, and Frey seemed to enjoy them so much more than the stuff I purchase in stores.
As for subscription boxes– well, they are all the rage right now! Figured why NOT do one.. and allow people to get a fun surprise and sample our treats at the same time! The subscription boxes also give me another excuse to experiment with new designs and new recipes, without waste.
: You take on clients and custom orders. What is it like working on something for a special event and seeing your creations be enjoyed during big occasions in people’s lives?
: It’s hard to describe how fulfilling it is… because to a lot of people these are “just cookies”. Although these are “just cookies” – it’s amazing the type of impression it can leave on some folks. I have done wedding, baptisms, a lot of birthdays– and each event is exciting to be a part of, in a different way. One of the most amazing things I’ve been a part of is someone’s 50th birthday– they were so happy with the cookies that they took a photo of it, printed it on some nice photo paper, and MAILED me a thank-you card. It was so amazing. Feels SO GOOD to know that our cookies are enjoyed and loved so much by people!
: So much of baking is experimental. How do you experiment to make new goods and do you have any stories of baking experiments that have gone really well or ones that didn’t go so well?
: I experiment and fail all the time. I think failing and continuing to try breeds long term success. Recently I’ve been playing around a lot with different dough flavors. I tried to make a red velvet flavor as an exclusive selection for Valentine’s Day but it was a total bust. It actually didn’t taste like anything. After a few tries– I threw in the towel and stuck with my tried and true original and double chocolate recipes. Designs also fail all the time! The “R&D” portion of the cookie development lifecycle is like the R&D stage of any business– lots of initial up front investment goes into creating the perfect cookie.
: What have you learned about baking and starting your own business since creating your brand?
: SO many things! Marketing is everything. And for someone who abhors marketing, this was really hard for me to accept. Instagram is an amazing platform for cookie marketing but it takes A LOT of work to take good photos, write good captions, and engage with the right people.
: What are some of your future plans and goals for LHE BAKES?
: We want to participate in more custom events (wedding, corporate events, etc.). We MAY even take this a step further and start participating in local farmer’s markets! We shall see 🙂
: Do you have any advice for other bakers or business owners out there?
: Success takes research, a lot of unpaid overtime and patience. For other 1-person shops out there– the best I can offer is that you need to create a schedule and stick to it. Have days or hours allocated to email, baking, decorating, photographing, packaging, etc. And don’t deviate unless if you absolutely have to. Always make extra dough (😂😂😂) and give yourself an extra day in case something goes wrong. I’m sure we’ve all been there– where we’ve dropped a tray of cookies on the floor. Aside from grinding extremely hard, please also take time for yourself to recharge so that you can always put forth your best. Lastly, but most importantly, please put your family first and do not let you business take over your family life.