When Shelley Krikorian was in college, she found herself at a crossroads: go to pastry school to become a baker or go to nursing school. She ended up “taking the safe route” and becoming a nurse, eventually working in oncology. But baking, which had been a passion since childhood, continued to be part of her home life.
Now, she’s turned that passion into a home-based business.
Krikorian established Sweet Izzy’s Cupcakes & Confections — named after the grandmother who taught her to bake — in 2013, after the California Homemade Food Act went into effect. The Homemade Food Act — or Cottage Food Law — allows for the preparation of “non-potentially hazardous foods” (foods that do not require refrigeration to prevent bacterial growth) in home kitchens. For years, she said, she’d baked for family and friends. She’d even looked into opening a retail bakery, but found it was too expensive to rent a commercial kitchen. The Cottage Food Law presented an alternate avenue to business ownership.
Sweet Izzy’s was the first business in Clovis to receive a permit under the new law, Krikorian said. Since then, Krikorian has steadily grown the bakery, which specializes in pastries and other sweet treats. Among the crowd pleasing goodies: pink champagne cupcakes, English toffee, caramels and espresso brownies.
A regular presence at the Old Town Clovis Farmer’s Market, Krikorian said the catering and gift basket side of Sweet Izzy’s has taken off. Recently, she converted part of her home into a work space out of which she can run the business. To mark this milestone, she joined the Clovis Chamber of Commerce and hosted a grand opening ribbon cutting and open house tasting event on Dec. 5.
The new space is not, she emphasized, a retail location. Rather, it’s a dedicated space in which she can consult with customers and prepare orders. All client meetings are by appointment.
“Everything I do is all custom, all fresh and made-to-order,” Krikorian said. “I can now do consultations, people can come for a tasting. I can do my wrapping there and not take over my whole kitchen doing my Sweet Izzy’s work.”
Krikorian hasn’t completely left the nursing field. A childhood leukemia survivor, she still works at the Saint Agnes Cancer Center about once a week. But the benefits of pursuing her dream — in her own home — are hard to beat.
“I can still be home and enjoy my boys and my family,” the mother of two said. “This has allowed me to work in my kitchen and do what I love.”
She added that her two careers are connected, in a way: “At my [nursing] job I can help people feel better, and my food makes people happy,” she explained. “I take pride in that I can create something that’s really special to that person.”
To place and order or schedule a consultation with Sweet Izzy’s Cupcakes & Confections, contact Shelly Krikorian at (559) 304-6540 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.sweetizzys.com for more information about the bakery’s menu and services.