Think back to when you were 12 years old. Twelve. No longer a kid, but not yet a teenager. Can you remember? Most of us at 12 were on the hunt to figuring out if that girl or boy, indeed, liked us, what acne cleanser worked the best, & school dances. For me, I was too busy trying to fit in, let alone talk about being confident enough to run my own business! It took years to even feel comfortable in my own skin.
Then a few years ago, my photography team booked a vow renewal ceremony of a couple here in Atlanta. In usual fashion, I was sent to the Bridal suite to capture all the glitz, glamor and greatness happening. The bride was sheer perfection, but it was her daughter that left an imprint on my heart. Her name was Jada.
During the bridal prep, I had to capture some headshots of Jada to make sure I had all of the bridal party covered. As I was directing her, I could tell she was a special girl. She was a precocious young lady, confident and had such a quiet, sweet spirit about her. I knew she would go on to do great things one day. Even in my initial thought, I learned a lesson: never underestimate a child or young adult. That “one day” could easily be 2 years later & for Jada, it was. She would go on to open her own bakery business only a couple years later at the tender age of 12. Twelve!
Today’s Hustle, Honey! is 12 year old beauty & business savvy sweetheart Jada, bka “Chef Toots”, owner of Tastie Tooties Cookies! She’s serving up sweets to the masses in the Atlanta area, spreading her light as the next generation of strong women and sharing why you don’t need to be an adult to have your own business! (Alright, now!)
LG of BB: Wow! Tastie Tooties Cookies. You say on your website that “you have a passion for making people smile through culinary arts” – how amazing! What do you love most about what you do?
CT: I love doing what I do because who doesn’t love cookies? It’s fun to create different cookies for different seasons and holidays. The menu is also based on other things I like to make.
LG of BB: Take me back to the first time you knew you had a passion to be an entrepreneur. When did that happen?
When I was about seven, I realized how much I love to bake. My mom told me that could turn my love for baking into career. I was extremely excited because I love to make cookies for other people to enjoy.
LG of BB: So you are a daughter, sister, friend, and an entrepreneur. At 12! On top of all of that and everything else you’re involved in, what has been the hardest or most challenging thing about starting your own business?
CT: The hardest thing about owning a business to me is controlling what money I invest back into my business and what I can spend.
LG of BB: Does age really matter when starting your own business?
CT: You don’t have to be an adult to have a business. Starting a business requires responsibility, time, money, and a dream. As long as people are buying your product you have a business! No one should have to wait until they’re an adult to do what they love.
LG of BB: So that falls perfectly in line with your mantra in life, which is…
CT: “You only live once so do what you want to do right now!”
“If you have a dream, just go for it.” -Chef Toots
LG of BB: You’re a very confident young lady! I’m sure many of my readers wish they could have a sprinkle of your confidence as an adult! Do you ever doubt yourself? If so, how do you overcome it?
CT: I do sometimes doubt myself, especially during big events. I sometimes think I won’t have enough cookies. Other times, when I’m about to do a speech I just think if I quit right now then I would no way to embarrass myself.
LG of BB: Who are your greatest supporters and why?
CT: My parents are my greatest supporters. They helped me get Tastie Tooties started by investing in my business. They also help me plan my baking schedule and take me to buy the ingredients to bake.
“You don’t have to be an adult to have a business. No one should have to wait until they’re an adult to do what they love.”
LG of BB: When do you know you’re successful?
CT: I know I’m successful when people enjoy my cookies or when I have less than 2 dozen cookies left over at events. Another way I know I’m successful is when someone on Instagram sends a dm saying how much they enjoyed the cookies.
LG of BB: Outside of baking, what are some of your hobbies & passions?
CT: If I’m not baking, I love to draw, design outfits, and write.
LG of BB: Whether you realize it or not, you are an inspiration to many young girls (and even adults) out there. What is the best advice you could give a little girl out there who may have dreams & aspirations of becoming a young entrepreneur like yourself?
CT: If you have a dream just go for it. However my business didn’t just begin with me; I needed help from my parents get the business started. Overall, if you have a passion, just go for it.
LG of BB: What’s next in the future for Chef Toots?
CT: I hope to get my cookies into a storefront and open a 5-star bakery with other treats like cake, cupcakes, and ice cream when I am ready.
LG of BB: I see you girl. Keep hustlin’.