Entrepreneurship doesn’t have an age requirement. Kukim Vazquez is proof of that.
Vazquez is a high school senior and the owner of Home Sweet Compton, a Compton-based bakery specializing in cupcakes that are delicious works of art.
She was also the winner of the Business G.IRL Incubator, a virtual workshop hosted by QuickBooks and the Compton G.IRLs Club. The three-weekend workshop ran throughout January to equip young women in underrepresented communities with the knowledge and resources they need to start their own businesses.
Vazquez got involved with the Compton G.IRLs Club toward the end of last year, when she saw a mutual friend share information about an earrings workshop the club was hosting. During that workshop, Chystani Heinrich, the founder of the Compton G.IRLs Club, mentioned the upcoming business incubator.
Knowing that she’d need a business idea in order to participate, Vazquez landed on one of her biggest passions. “I’ve always liked and enjoyed baking,” she said. “I was interested in starting a business for it before the incubator but hadn’t really taken initiative. I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start.”
That’s where Vazquez says the incubator was most helpful. “They laid out all of these steps to make it an actual business,” she said. “I really enjoyed it, because there was so much guidance from all of the women.”
She also noted how valuable the other resources—from the cash grant to the business marketing materials—were for getting some momentum.
“They helped us with money to jump-start our businesses,” she added. “I thought that was really helpful, because I’m from a low-income family, and I didn’t want to ask my family for money for my business. I saw they were struggling with COVID, and I wanted to avoid putting any more weight on them. QuickBooks’ sponsorship with the Compton G.IRLs Club helped so much.”
The business incubator culminated with a pitch contest, where each of the participants pitched their business to a panel of judges. “I did a PowerPoint presentation and went through all of the aspects of what I thought about my business finances, growth, social media interaction, and more,” Vazquez said.
Her hard work was more than worth the effort, as she won the pitch contest. “I was super excited when I won, because there was a lot of competition and the girls had such great ideas,” she explained. “I was so happy just seeing my own progress over the whole experience. I realized that I had planned all of this stuff already,” she added, referring to how much business preparation work she managed to accomplish throughout the incubator.
As she looks to the future, Vazquez is currently applying to colleges and laying the groundwork to really push Home Sweet Compton forward—including finalizing recipes and pinning down her financials. She says she fully intends to keep Home Sweet Compton up and running while she pursues her college education so she can delight customers with her sweet treats.
But she also has bigger plans for her business beyond delicious cupcakes. She has her sights set on social entrepreneurship and using her business to give back, particularly to her own neighborhood. She plans to collaborate with community organizations in Compton in an effort to change the city’s reputation.
“That goes back to the name ‘Home Sweet Compton,’ because Compton tends to have a more negative stereotype associated with it in the media,” she concluded.
She hopes that by partnering with local organizations, she’ll be able to showcase their efforts and use her bakery to bring some well-deserved attention to the sweeter side of Compton.