We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaye Manjares and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaye, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
In 2018 I had started the keto diet and soon realized that there was not a lot of options for keto baked goods to be found in my local grocery stores. In order for me to be able to stick to this diet I had to prepare, cook and bake things for myself at home. Prior to finding keto, me and diets did not get along because I have always had a sweet tooth. Many diets say you can’t have sweets or desserts but on keto you actually can. You can have breads, cakes and cookies on the keto diet in moderation as long as you use keto friendly ingredients and substitutions. Most Keto friendly foods are gluten free, sugar free and low in carbohydrates which can be hard to not only find but also to make if you’re not used to working with certain ingredients. My first keto dessert I made was a chocolate mousse recipe I had found on Pinterest. It did not turn out well, I thought it was awful and pretty discouraging. There was a lot of trial and error and definitely some research and learning before I started to create my own recipes that I liked and my family enjoyed. With the lack of ready made items available in stores I figured if this is something that I am specifically looking for then there must be others in my same predicament. That was when I decided to start a small side business baking and selling keto baked goods at my local farmers market on Saturdays. I thought why not give it a try and see how it goes.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Kaye’s Keto Kreations is a cottage bakery that specializes in creating healthy alternative baked goods. Our motto is always keto, low carb, gluten and sugar free. We strive to use certified organic, non gmo and verified gluten free ingredients in all of our products. We understand that everyone is different and has varying dietary concerns, because of this we pride ourselves on being strictly gluten free and using only almond and coconut flours in our items. We want our customers to know that we have their well being in mind by being apparent in our products. When I first started baking and selling my products at my local farmers market I was focused on the keto aspect. Now, after having met so many people from all walks of life my eyes have been opened to how many people have dietary restrictions and how hard it is for them to find these types of products locally. My customers are not only keto, they are also diabetics, have celiac disease, or are on a prescribed anti-inflammatory diet and more. I love being able to interact with my customers face to face and hearing their stories of how they came to find me. It’s a heartwarming feeling when they come back and say they loved what they purchased and that they’re so happy that they can still eat cake and enjoy it. I think my biggest challenge in this business has been deciding whether or not it would be best to grow and expand. From the beginning I have received requests to offer shipping and open a brick and mortar. After nearly two years I still haven’t done either. Not because I think it would not be successful, but because I believe that it will be a success. However, now is not the right time for me to do either of those. My focus is on perfecting what I have right now. There is competition out there and Kaye’s Keto Kreations does plan to grow and expand, but we will do so at our own pace when we are ready. Aside from help from family members we have no employees. Everything is solely decided by me (Kaye) and how I choose to do things. I handle all messages, emails and social media which has been a great marketing tool. Ordering and shopping for materials, washing pans and cleaning the kitchen then baking and packaging is a process but being personable is what I’m all about. I believe that’s what sets Kaye’s Keto Kreations apart from other businesses in the industry. People come out to the farmers market and are surprised that I am the one who makes the products. By being at the market every week after pulling an all nighter of baking to guarantee that items are as fresh as possible I get a chance to really know and understand my customers. A lot of them have become good friends and we enjoy seeing them come back week after week. I don’t ever want to lose out on being able to give someone that feeling of acknowledgement for being a valued customer. It’s something special that you don’t find at a lot of places.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I may be biased but when my friends and family come to visit the Phoenix area I always recommend the Peoria farmers market on Saturday mornings. There are so many local small businesses with great local products to be found and it’s located in the Park West Shopping Center which is great if you want to have lunch or dinner and watch a movie. For a more high-end shopping experience you should go to Scottsdale Quarter. It is not as crowded as Scottsdale Fashion Square but they have cute boutique shops and is a beautiful place to stroll and do some shopping. A few of my must have favorite foods are from locally owned restaurants. For the best tacos, I recommend Tacos Sahuaro in Phoenix. They have the best carne asada tacos and even better customer service! My family’s favorite Mexican restaurant where we go for all of our birthdays and celebrations is Comedor Guadalajara on Central in downtown Phoenix. They have great big delicious plates of truly authentic Mexican food and my favorite piña coladas. There is usually always a long wait for a table but it is definitely worth it. For a refreshing drink or dessert I suggest Pop N Tea Bar near downtown Phoenix. The avocado smoothie with boba is my personal favorite and their shop is a great place for an Instagram photo op. If you’re a coffee lover you need to make a stop at Fair Trade Café in downtown Phoenix. Their coffee is top notch and they have a variety of offerings on their menu featuring local ingredients. Places I love to take my kids for a day out is the Phoenix Zoo where we are members. Lots of great animals to see but our favorite is being able to get up close and personal to the squirrel monkeys in Monkey Village. You can walk into their open exhibit and they are always full of energy showing off. The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale is always fun too. It’s free to go and you only have to pay if you want a ride on the mini train they have which is fun for adults and kids. There are so many great hiking spots in Phoenix but be sure to go early and bring water. A great spot in the West Valley is White Tank Waterfall Trail located in the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in Waddell. An easy 1.8 mile trail with a rare sighting of a waterfall in the desert. There are so many things to do in this beautiful diverse state of ours but just remember that it’s always great to support the local businesses when traveling and that they truly appreciate you for it.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to thank my family for always being there for me. They have spent countless nights of baking that turn into morning in order to fill orders by my side trying to help in any way that they could. The support they show me just by being there for me and standing by me throughout my business endeavors and everyday choices that I make means so much to me and I greatly love and appreciate them for it.
I would love to thank Christa Esquibel and the girls at Mommas Organic Market for welcoming me and my family into their farmers market. Also the other vendors and friends we have made there. It’s great being able to get to know so many other local small business owners while learning and supporting each other.
Linkedin: Kaye Manjares
Kaye’s Keto Kreations
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