Passion Project to Baking Business: How Little Boo Boo Bakery Got Started
by Theresa Christine Johnson on 06/13/2017 | 4 Minute Read
Marshmallows are marshmallows, right? Not if Little Boo Boo Bakery has anything to say about it. In part 2 of a 4-part series, we're learning about the very beginning of Little Boo Boo Bakery, the artisan marshmallow company in New York started by Hannah Scarritt-Selman. In this part, we'll take a closer look at how these scrumptious sweets went from a passion of hers to a product available for purchase.
Be sure to check out the first part to this series on the Little Boo Boo Bakery brand.
Baking is a passion of yours, but how did you initially get the idea to start Little Boo Boo Bakery?
Hannah Scarritt-Selman: I took a pastry technique class at the French Culinary Institute to establish a basic understanding of desserts. Beyond that, I’d always had a major sweet tooth and loved experimenting with different recipes. One holiday season I made marshmallows and it was pretty simple but tasted amazing. I began to think about how a marshmallow with quality ingredients that didn't cost a premium was absent from the market. This idea was immediately exciting to me.
Once you decided this was something you really wanted to pursue, what were your next steps? How did you take it from an idea to physical products people could buy?
Hannah Scarritt-Selman: From the idea, the next step was to fine tune the recipe and really hone in on what our product was from a foundational level. We’ve made conscious efforts to use no dyes or artificial preservatives, so that set certain limits with what we can use ingredient-wise. After that, it was a matter of finding a kitchen space. We arrived at Hot Bread Kitchen in East Harlem and have made it our business’s home since 2013. They helped us with figuring out what types of permits we needed in order to be operational.
What is the significance of the name “Little Boo Boo”?
Hannah Scarritt-Selman: Little Boo Boo is my childhood nickname, however I have found there’s an underground network of folks who either have it as their nickname or the name of a pet.
When you were just starting, what did you operation look like? How many people did you have helping you then, where were you baking, and how have you expanded?
Hannah Scarritt-Selman: When we started out, the business was just myself and my partner, Kieran. He did the website, branding and packaging, I handled the cooking and wholesale side of the business. In recent years, we have built a small team to help in the production of the marshmallows, however Kieran still does all the branding and packaging.
Since you’re dealing with food, what permits did you have to get in place before making or selling any of your marshmallows?
Hannah Scarritt-Selman: For food businesses, NY state has (understandably) a lot of requirements to ensure food products are made in safe and clean environments. We’re fortunate to work with Hot Bread Kitchen because they handle a large number of requirements in the facility in terms of sanitation. Anyone working with us has to be trained in some aspect of food safety.
How did you spread the word about Little Boo Boo Bakery when you were just starting out?
Hannah Scarritt-Selman: Beyond our family and friends sharing pictures on social media, a lot of the word was spread initially by my cold-calling businesses and asking if I could bring samples by.
What advice do you have regarding cold calling? What is the best practice to do this so you get the word out there and find good businesses to partner with?
Hannah Scarritt-Selman: Cold calling can be tough. I think it certainly helps to have your ideas bullet pointed so that you hit each item you want to convey. I also have studied improv comedy so I feel fairly confident going into most cold-calling situations. It's been helpful to remember that at the end of the day, you're just calling a person and the worst they can say is no. The world will continue to spin, and you will find other businesses to work with. That being said, there's nothing wrong with a healthy dose of respectful persistence. The important people are often not reachable via cold calling, so try to make appointments, either in-person or over the phone.
Jackson Family Wines
Jackson Family Wines
Jackson Family Wines