You are what I would describe as a local powerhouse. A girlboss. Tell me how you got here.
It’s been messy.
The best stories are.
I was born in Laramie, WY in 1989. However, I grew up with my parents and sister, who is 5 years younger than me, in Casper WY. My parents had an edge to them, they didn’t fit the mold. My mom was creative and had an eclectic taste in art and music. My dad was very technical, an engineer, but still very independent and strong in his resolve, regardless of it is was the popular opinion. He encouraged my sister and I to trust that we could do whatever we wanted. He has been, and still is, my biggest cheerleader.
Growing up, I wanted to be a writer. Or a published author of some kind. In high school I was part of a journalism club, and became the co-editor of the school paper. That’s when I realized that what I really wanted was to be a journalist! I joined the University of Wyoming (UW) as a journalism student. I wrote for UW’s paper, The Branding Iron, and I was very passionate about it. I was also taking anthropology classes as electives, and I loved learning about other cultures. In 2009 I went to Malta as part of the summer abroad program, and that experience was transformative. I took an Anthropology of Food class, and I got to meet farmers and people who were harvesting salt from the Mediterranean… I thought “I want to write about food! Forever”. But, I came back to Laramie. Through a series of events, and some stupid decisions during those formative years… (smiles) I somehow grew up and realized it was time for me to get out of Wyoming. So I moved to San Diego and enrolled in culinary school. I had started dating my long-time friend Jon, who lived in Charleston, SC, and I ended up moving there. We got engaged and I finished culinary school in SC. In 2011 we decided we were going to come back to Laramie, and I went back to school to get my journalism degree. It was a matter of pride at the time, you know? I had approximately a year and a half left, and I started baking cakes and selling them from my house at the same time that I finished school. I would go to bridal shows and book clients that way.
Two thousand and thirteen was a big year. Jon and I got married in January, and I graduated in May. In October, I opened “Sweets”, the downtown bakery. I owned it for two years; it was hard work, and a lot of it was finding out what owning a business is all about. I fell in love with the details of running a business, and being part of a community of business owners. I started volunteering with Laramie Main Street, helping Trey (Sherwood*) with the organization and marketing of events. In 2015 I went with her to my first National Main Street Conference, and that is where, as I like to say, in jest, I “drunk the Kool-Aid”. I became totally excited about the idea of working with businesses, helping them create a brand and find out what excites them, building partnerships, and creating a place in the community that can be a part of people’s memories while they are in town.
I was at a juncture, and I knew that I was not going to have the bakery forever. Sweets was at a point where I was either going to have to hire and train more people or I was going to have to let it go. My body was capped, and my heart was not in it anymore. Jon told me that the daughter of a co-worker was looking to buy a food business, so I approached her with the offer to sell her the bakery. It was the fall of 2015 and, within 6 months, Cody would become the owner.
For the last year and a half I have been wearing many hats and I am not clear on what my title is, what my job is. I am still exploring that. I have been contracting with Laramie Main Street as their Marketing Director, and worked on several projects on my own, including Marketing with The Curiosity Shoppe and The Local Crowd, and as a business coach with other organizations.