Baking up a business


Laura Smith

Graduate Emma Irlbeck and senior Maggie Bell arrange baked goods at their farmers market booth Saturday, Aug. 11.

By Aryauna Thompson, Canyon High School

Each Saturday they wake up before the sun emerges from the previous night’s blanket of stars. Frantically, they begin their weekends by loading their arms with proof of a week’s worth of preparation. With smiles on their faces, their work truly begins–Em & M Bakery is open for business.

Senior Maggie Bell and Canyon High graduate Emma Irlbeck spent the summer baking and selling goods at the local farmers market. Their business, Em & M Bakery, opened in June.

“Baking is really a stress reliever for me,” Irlbeck said. “I never get tired of it. Even after having our business open for a few months now, I am not sick of getting up at 5:30 every Saturday morning to go to the market, which is hard to believe.”

Bell and Irlbeck said they sell a variety of goods each week in an attempt to cater to all customers’ wants and needs.

“We make brownies, macaroons, fried pies, banana bread, zucchini bread, mini bundt cakes, cookies and homemade organic bread from scratch each week,” Bell said. “We also make cupcakes and lemon bars frequently. ”

Irlbeck said while the variety of goods she and Bell create each week remains consistent, the amount of each item they produce fluctuates.

“We have tried really hard to come up with a way to be consistent in what we are making, but the public is so different from week to week that it is difficult to determine how much of each product we need,” Irlbeck said. “It really just comes down to our schedules and how much we can make for that week with the time we have available.”

Bell said although the number of each good created varies from week to week, the prices attached to their products remain inexpensive. Groups of three cookies are priced at each, and groups of three mini bundt cakes or loaves of bread are priced at .50 per bundle.

“We try to keep our prices relatively inexpensive so people will buy our goods, but we have to make sure we are creating a profit,” Bell said. “We consider all the costs of the ingredients and the cost of our time spent making each product when we factor out our prices.”

Senior Ian Hughes, a customer of Em & M Bakery, said the cookies he bought from the duo were some of the best he has ever tasted.

Baking is really something I can put creativity and heart into. I think that is really why I am so passionate about it.”

— Maggie Bell, 12

“Maggie’s and Emma’s snickerdoodle cookies were the definition of amazing,” Hughes said. “I bought three of them at the farmers market one week, and I was completely blown away. Not only were their cookies incredible, but they looked like they were having a lot of fun making and selling all of their products.”

Though the majority of their business stems from the local farmers market, Irlbeck said their business also creates custom orders.

“We give out our business cards, and we cater birthday parties and other celebrations similar to that,” Irlbeck said. “Our clients just have to tell us what they want and when and where we need to have their goods. We also have an Instagram account, Facebook page and email address ([email protected]) where customers can get ahold of us.”

Irlbeck said both she and Bell hope to pursue careers in the baking business.

“Maggie and I are both planning on going to school to major in business so we can manage our own companies,” Irlbeck said. “I want to open a restaurant or something like that, so this is preparing me for the future.”

While the bakery business may be preparing them for the future, Bell said the real reason she bakes is because of the joy it brings to her life.

“Each time I bake brings me new ways to tweak recipes, make the baking go by faster, make the products better and create the goods more easily,” Bell said. “Each time is a new opportunity to improve and overcome new obstacles. Baking is really something I can put creativity and heart into. I think that is really why I am so passionate about it.”

This story was originally published on The Eagle’s Tale on August 16, 2018.