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Interviews with Shey: Beth Parker

Shealynn Benner

I was lucky enough to begin a friendship with Beth when I asked her if she would be willing to help me at my CookieCon booth. I had no idea then just how much Beth would become an essential part of my life. She is an absolutely incredible person, and knowing her has brought me great joy. Since CookieCon, we have hired Beth as part of our cookie decorating team. She pretty much decorates and videos all the cookies you see on our YouTube Channel. She is an amazing cookie artist and it has been so fun to see her branch out and try new things - like water coloring her cookies and challenging herself to decorate harder cookie cutter designs.

Tell me a bit about yourself. (Married, kids, hobbies, etc.)

Well I'm a cheetah print, black and gold loving self-taught baker with a passion for baking and fashion! I'm married to my husband Jeff of almost 15 years and we have two amazing kids, Hunter and Allison. I'm also an Air Force Veteran and a stay at home mom, which is the best because it's allowed me to watch my kids grow and explore my love of baking. Typically, if I'm not up to my elbows in dough and icing you can find me with my nose in a book!

What are you most passionate about?

Creating! Anything baking related, home décor, scrapbooking, outfits you name it. If I can create something that'll make another person smile then it makes me insanely happy!

What sparked your interest in making cookies? Did someone specific inspire you to start?

I have been baking for years, but it wasn't until I was at my son's baseball game and came across The Frosted Cookiery's IG page that really sparked my interest. I decided to give it a try, failed, but didn't give up and I'm so thankful I didn't.

As a cookie business owner, what are you most proud of? And what has been your biggest challenge?

The moments I get to have a small part of. To me there is nothing more than helping to make another person's special event a little bit more unique. I love when my customers push me out of my comfort zone and surprising not only them but myself sometimes! My biggest challenge by far is learning to say no! I never want to disappoint someone, so I sometimes end up over loading my week.

Do you have a logo? If yes, what is the significance of it? How did you come up with the name of your cookie business and brand image?

I do, but it's not original. When I first started taking this seriously, I wanted a logo that was uber girlie, but on a beginner's budget. Hopefully soon I can update this with a new unique one! Oh, I love this question when it gets asked! I originally owned a women's boutique, but when I closed it, I wanted to keep the name, because it holds a special meaning to me. Eight-Eleven stands for 2008 and 2011, the two years my children were born! In regards to my brand image, I'm obsessed with black and white stripes with pops of pink and gold, so I knew I needed to have that be part of my image!

How long have you been decorating cookies?

Going on 2 years now!

Do you decorate and sell cookies full time? If not, what do you do when you're not baking?

I do, both custom cookies and small cakes, on top of being a full-time house mom! Needless to say, I don't sleep!

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the cookie decorating process?

That's easy, the decorating part! My least favorite, is the clean up!

Who is the biggest supporter(s) of you and your cookie business?

My kid's hands down! They are always telling everyone they meet that their mom makes these awesome cookies! My husband and parents also fully support me, even when they thought I was crazy buying all these cutters when I first started!

Is there someone that has inspired you in the Cookie Industry? Why?

There are so many amazingly talented cookiers out there it's hard to choose just a few. When I first started, Braidi from the Frosted Cookiery was my biggest inspiration. Her style is very similar to mine and I love that she's always sharing her tips and tricks. Over the last two years my list is insanely long. I'm in awe of Renee from Sweet Cheeks, I love the mix of girlie and rustic. Pinar, from Pinar'sPatisseries, again her style is breath taking and she's always willing to give advice and tips. I could seriously go on and on, like Liz, from Inspired to Taste and Nayda at We Sugar Art, their styles make my fashion loving heart go pitter pat! I love those who think outside of the box, and those who are willing to share their tips to others. Basically if its chic, rustic and girlie I'm eyeing them!

How do you balance everything? (Kids, husband, activities, working out, cookies etc)

I don't sleep! Really, I don't, it's almost a guarantee you'll find me awake at 3am either decorating, reading or binge watching tv! But I do make sure to work around my husband and kids schedules, since I'm a house mom my schedule is a lot more flexible, so I tend to spend my mornings doing "me time", the afternoons and early evenings for my family then the nights I do my "work". Obviously, that's not possible every day, but like I said, being my own boss, I can make my schedule to fit my family's needs. And the only "working out" I do, is cleaning my house and baking! That's a work out on its own!

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things (not people) would you bring with you?

My iPad so I can have unlimited access to the internet, my books and Netflix (you didn't say this island didn't have access to an outlet). Cocktails, because hello private beach! And lastly, plenty of hair ties, because my hair is super long and the wind and heat are not my friends!

What is your best advice to someone wanting to start making cookies for profit?

Practice, practice, practice, then once you're ready to start charging, charge based on your skills and your time. Don't be afraid to change your prices when you feel like your skill level has improved. And never stop pushing yourself! Break out of your comfort zone and try new techniques and ideas. Finally, connect and meet other cookiers. This community is amazing and I'm incredibly grateful for the friendships I've made not only with other cookiers, but with shop owners as well.

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