Name: Eric Szeto
Business: Shades of Sugar Bakeshop
When Eric Szeto was a kid, he loved the sweet treats his mother cooked up. Later, in college studying graphic design, Eric was inspired to do some of his own experimenting with baking. He quickly fell in love with the process. After graduation, Eric spent a year in Japan, where he tasted his first macaron. It was sweet and delicious, and it looked like a tiny work of art. Deeply inspired by this gustatory and visual delight, when Eric returned home to Oakland, CA, he opened Shades of Sugar Bakeshop.
Eric will be selling his tasty macarons at the Bazaar at this year's SOLD OUT QB Connect 2017 in San Jose.
Eric, tell us about your business.
I was traveling in Japan when I tasted a macaron for the first time. Macarons are beautiful, colorful cookies that taste fantastic. I wanted to figure out how to make my own. The first time I tried, it was a terrible mess. By my sixth or seventh attempt, I’d made macarons I could give out to my friends.
I began selling my cookies at pop-up events in Oakland. The city was experiencing a surge in foodie culture, so I thought there might be interest in my macarons. I was right!
I began looking for a commercial kitchen and came across Kitchener, a fully operational shared kitchen space for startups and small food businesses to cook from. I love working in this space with other chefs and entrepreneurs. That’s where Shades of Sugar Bakeshop was born.
How do you market your macarons?
I absolutely love going to craft fairs and festivals, particularly the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco and the Eat Real Fest, a three-day food festival in Oakland. Right now, we're getting ready for a lot of holiday pop-up events.
We get and fulfill orders for weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties and baby showers. We’re also experimenting with selling wholesale to coffee shops in the area.
What are you most proud of?
I'm proud of starting this business from scratch. I developed my own macaron recipe and tweaked it until I got it right. I love sharing something I’ve made with other people. It’s amazing to see how eating a macaron can bring someone so much joy.
Shades of Sugar has also connected me with my local community. I've been back living in Oakland for about eight years now, and this business has given me a reason to go out and meet the people who live around me.
It's been a crazy journey, but I’ve loved every step along the way.
What’s next for Shades of Sugar?
My immediate road map is to keep making macarons, book more events and get the word out about the business.
We are probably going to start working with wholesale partners and accounts, too. That will help people find our products in local coffee shops or restaurants.
I still work fulltime as a graphic designer. My plan is to continue working at my 9-5 for the time being – even though it basically means having two full-time jobs.
What do you hope to gain from QuickBooks Connect?
I’m excited for QuickBooks Connect. I’ve browsed through the website, and it’s clear to me how much I can learn from this event. I’m excited to hear different speakers and meet some awesome entrepreneurs and partners.
Joining the QB Community connects you to others who, just like you and Eric, dare to follow your dreams. (Find the Sign Up link to the upper right!)
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Your macarons sound fabulous! Can't wait to try them and connect with you Eric! I am a lover artisan goodies! :)