Michelle Bates has always had a passion for baking, and what was once a hobby has quickly turned into a successful business.
Bates’ journey began nearly seven years ago when she was asked to make cupcakes for her nephew’s first birthday. People loved her cupcakes so much, they floated the idea to Bates that she should start her own baking business.
“Everybody there was like ‘Oh my gosh, you need to start doing this. These are so good,’” she said. “Then I started getting random requests and so I just started dabbling a little bit throughout the years. I had taken a few orders here and a few orders there.”
While people were raving over Bates’ creations, she explained how her journey consisted of lots of trial and error.
“I’ve thrown lots of batches of cupcakes away,” she admitted. “I have researched different recipes and decided that I needed to make things my own so I would add or subtract until I got it to where I wanted it to be.”
Bates also works as a real estate agent, so her time was also limited to experiment and operate her small business. This remained true up until the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When COVID hit, my 12-year-old daughter was no longer allowed to go with me to come show properties, so I thought I would just focus on my baking,” Bates explained.
With this magnified focus, Bates did porch deliveries and scheduled pickups from her home. Last January, she decided to make her business official and became cottage licensed and insured.
Aside from cakes and cupcakes, Bates has baked muffins, parfaits, cookies, brownies and has even offered dessert bars for weddings and other special events, all from her home kitchen.
While Bates’ business has grown significantly since she launched, she acknowledged that running a popular business from her house was not an easy task. Luckily, she has found the perfect business partner in downtown Turlock to further expand her business ventures.
This May, Bates will officially move part of her business inside Lisa’s Cookie Jar on 115 S.
“I’ll be baking at Lisa’s on a regular basis there while still continuing my home-based cottage operation as well,” Bates explained. “I feel blessed that she has allowed me to bake alongside her and see first-hand what having a small bakery downtown would feel like, as well as experience the business side of a commercial bakery.”
Bates explained that the new operations within Lisa’s Cookie Jar will allow customers to order her creations in-person. Nevertheless, ordering by phone, email or social media will continue to be an option for customers.
“I just feel like this business has blessed me,” Bates said. “It’s been a lot of fun blessing others with their treats. It’s been very, very fulfilling.”