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Interviews with Shey: McKenzie Ricks

Shealynn Benner

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

I was born and raised in Long Beach, California, spent a few years in Idaho for college, then moved back to CA, just barley over the Orange County border. I’ve been married to my sweet husband for 13 years (this month!) and we have 3 great kids age 7, 4, and 1. I obviously love to bake and cook, but I also enjoy, running, going to Disneyland, playing outside with my kids, going to the beach, playing softball and soccer, and watching The Food Network (when the TV isn’t occupied with Bubble Guppies or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse).

What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about my family. They can drive me crazy sometimes, but they are my “why” for absolutely everything I do. 

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

I got into cookies by accident (as many do). A friend of mine was planning a baby shower (this was when Pinterest was a new thing and the obsession with planning the perfect party took off) and asked if I could make some cookies. I say sure and asked if she wanted chocolate chip or peanut butter. She replied saying, “How about cowboy boots and sheriff stars?” I gave her a funny look like “yeah, right,” but, being my stubborn self, I was determined to figure it out. The rest, from there, was history!

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

I am most proud of the fact that people seem to genuinely enjoy my cookies. I really relish the connection I make with my customers and the opportunity I have to enhance their event or gift. I love that my cookies can spark joy for so many! My biggest challenge has been finding the life/work balance. I want to decorate all the cookies and do all the activities with my kids, while cooking a gourmet dinner every night and having a spotless house. I want to be everything… but all of that is not at all realistic.

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?

Rad Ro is a combination of my 2 oldest kids’ names; Rad is short for Conrad, and Ro is short for Rory. We have since had a 3rd child named Hayes… but I already felt like we were too deeply invested in Rad Ro to change it. So, we joke and say, “We’ll make it up to him later.” My good and very talented friend Molly at Made by Molly Designs (@madebymollydesigns) designed my logo and if you couldn’t tell, the main shape of the logo is a sugar cookie! I wanted something fun and simple but also relevant to the business and it’s just that. I also love that she incorporated my favorite color.

How long have you been decorating cookies?

I decorated my first cookie in 2012, but got serious about 5 years ago and haven’t looked back since.

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

I definitely call cookie decorating a “part-time” job, but if you add up all the hours, it’s much more than part time. My kids are my full time job, but I still fit in a good amount of orders each week between naps and bedtime. 

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

Making dough and baking are the worst parts for me, because I just want to hurry up and get to the decorating! My absolute favorite part is adding the little details at the end that just make everything pop and come to life! It makes all the hours worth it!

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

My husband and daughter are my biggest supporters. My husband will sleep on the couch while I finish a late-night order, so I don’t have to be alone. He will wash all the baking dishes and know how to gently handle those 3Dprinted cutters. He is my financial advisor, designing spreadsheets and advocating that I raise my prices (he suggests this often, LOL). He takes over with the kids when I’m under the gun and never makes me feel like this is just a “hobby.” He recognizes that I have put in the work and time to make this a real business that I can do while caring for our kids. My daughter hypes me up to anyone who will listen and always has opinions on designs.

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

Two of the first cookiers I really latched onto were Crumbs Custom Cookies and Cacey’s Cakery. They both have such amazing style and flawless technique. Their tutorials and tips have helped me so much along the way. I also found 2 local friends when I was new to cookiegram, Maven’s Treats and Third Moon Bakery. Michele and Amanda are so kind and were willing to answer every question I had. They have helped me gain the confidence to tackle any cookie. 

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

That balance is TOUGH to find. But it always comes down to priorities. My kids will only be little once, so I schedule around them. I go running early in the morning before they wake up and decorate when they are asleep or working independently. This results in many late nights, but I have never once regretted putting off cookies so I could play with my kids. We also have some amazing babysitters who are more like family, so the hubs and I can sneak out for date nights.

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

Oh man, 3 things…. In-n-out burger (double-double protein style with whole grilled onion…if you know, you know), Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies, and Dr. Pepper. Wait that’s all food… oh well, its accurate. Haha.  

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

My best advice for someone wanting to start a cookie business is take it slowly. One project/order at a time will help you build you techniques and confidence. If you take 78 orders a week right out of the gate, you will burn out quickly and not be consistent with your work. Also learn to say “no.” No to orders when you’re already booked, no to people asking for a discount, no to customers who have been problematic in the past. This is one I am constantly working on, but it feels so good every time I do.


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