Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Dudley.
Christina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I opened Pretty Pops in September 2011, when it first became legal to sell baked goods from your home in Texas. Since then the laws have expanded greatly to allow small bakery businesses to flourish from home. I started very small – by telling friends, family, and posting on Facebook. I have always loved cooking and baking but took the first couple of years to really play with recipes to establish a solid menu. There were plenty of mistakes and mishaps those first years!
Over the last eight years, I have settled into a reliable menu and established a solid customer base. In 2017 I decided to cut back on custom shaped and decorated cake pops as a way to enter the wedding and corporate markets. Since that time I have hand created and delivered over 10,000 cake pops and cake balls all over the Houston Metro Area to well-known clients such as Memorial Hermann, Estee Lauder, Sysco, and countless small businesses that I love getting to see with each delivery!
Has it been a smooth road?
Not always. I already had a one-year-old when I started the business and we have since added two more babies to our family. Welcoming new children into the family while owning and running a small business brought many challenges. Any missed work is missed income, and our family depends on the income that Pretty Pops generates. There were many sleepless nights and misspelled emails in the early days! My kids often had to accompany me on deliveries if childcare fell through; I found juggling the responsibilities of motherhood and running a business could be complicated. In the early years, I very much separated my family duties from my work, worried that I wouldn’t be taken seriously if there was a toddler’s curious eyes peering out of the car window on a delivery. Now I am proud to be a working mom of 3, and my customers don’t mind! My children are also a bit older and understand what it means when Mom has to work. And to my surprise, my long-time customers have loved watching my children grow with me. I now embrace that I am able to provide a steady income to my family while teaching my kids the commitment to hard work.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Pretty Pops story. Tell us more about the business.
Pretty Pops is a home-based bakery that creates cake pops and cake balls for corporations, weddings, and businesses all over the Houston area. I specialize in creating bulk orders for large gatherings and events – and deliver straight to your door or office. Prior to starting the business I worked for MHMRA of Harris County and spent hours upon hours on the Houston roads assisting adults with mental illnesses get back on their feet. This experience made me very comfortable with getting around Houston as well as meeting and talking to people from all backgrounds. Houston is a very diverse place and my absolute favorite thing about our city. I believe this is what I am most proud of – connecting with customers from all walks of life and providing delicious treats for life’s important events.
Additionally, Pretty Pops is one of the only cake pop delivery companies that services the entire Houston metro area. No one likes to leave extra early to pick up food for the business lunch, no bride or groom wants to miss out on time with a close friend so s/he can run out to pick up items for the wedding. With the flurry of food delivery apps that have hit the market, people have come to expect to have their food delivered to them. Many small bakery businesses have not followed suit. Pretty Pops has proudly offered delivery service for years.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The heart of the Texas Cottage Food Law is that you as a customer are meeting face to face with the person who actually created your food. I love that our lawmakers support and encourage local businesses, but there were many limitations in the beginning. 2019 brought some significant changes to the Texas Cottage Food Law that allow us to further grow our businesses in more modern ways. One of those changes is that we can now sell directly over the internet to our local customers by having a cart on our websites. This may come as a shock to many who are not in the industry – but there were many stops put in place to limit cottage bakeries from growing their businesses in the early days.
For the past eight years, we have not been able to have a seamless purchase process such as a Cart and immediate payment option for our customers to purchase online. This, along with a few other perks, were allowed beginning September 2019. I suspect that the Texas legislature has seen how the cottage food industry has remained safe for its citizens and will hopefully expand where and how we can sell over the next few years.
- Cake pops start at $24/dozen plus tax
- Cake balls start at $20/dozen
- We delivery all over the Houston Metro Area for a small fee. Delivery in 77429 and 77433 is always FREE!
- Website: www.prettypops.com
- Phone: 281-716-7694
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: pretty_pops
- Facebook: facebook.com/prettypops
- Twitter: Pretty_Pops
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/pretty-pops-cypress