Avery Beamon has been dabbling with baking as far as she can remember. In 2019 she took the leap and founded CrAves by Aves, a custom cake studio with a commercial licensed kitchen. Avery participated in the reSET Food Incubator and won the Audience Choice award at the Foodie Demo Day pitch event. She spoke with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about her experience.
NAN PRICE: When and why did you decide to start your own business?
AVERY BEAMON: Three years ago, after I graduated from Johnson & Wales University, I was working at a bunch of different places and I helped open a business. With that experience I realized, I can do this for myself. I can open my own business. So, I just went for it. Fast forward to now, I’ve built my own commercial kitchen and I’ve been working out of there.
NAN: How and why did you become involved with reSET?
AVERY: Johnson & Wales played a huge part in me learning how to run and operate a business. I majored in baking pastry arts and food service management. For the first two years, we did baking and then the last two we learned the business side of everything—how to run the operation and all the administrative and accounting stuff. I’m still learning to this day.
I applied for the reSET incubator to help me work out some kinks in my business. I wanted to be a part of like-minded people—food entrepreneurs—to learn more about their businesses and how they’re doing things. I also wanted to learn more about my business and what I can be doing better to get it where I want it to be.
NAN: What did you gain from participating in the program?
AVERY: I gained more confidence, mainly the ability to talk about my business and understand my path and the direction I want to take with my business. It also helped me understand my customers’ standpoint and cultivate my business for the community.
I also gained wholesale experience. I’ve always thought about wholesaling, but I never knew how to approach it. Being in the incubator program opened up my eyes to other ways of working in the food industry, producing for people, and getting your name out there.
Some of the food entrepreneurs I met through the program wholesale in different restaurants and cafés. So, I was able to learn from their experiences and even form collaborations with them. I have one wholesale account so far.
NAN: You mentioned working out of a commercial kitchen. Tell us about the process of finding that space.
AVERY: When I first started, I was in a shared kitchen space with Perfect Poundcakes in East Hartford. When the pandemic hit, we realized we couldn’t continue working that way. I knew I needed to be somewhere with more refrigerator space. I had contacted the landlord at the Manchester Armory building the first year I started my business, so I knew he had a kitchen space. But I would’ve had to set up everything in there, which wasn’t within my budget yet. I thought, I’ll reevaluate this at another time. When the pandemic hit, I decided to go for it. It was just four walls and I spent about a year building it out, doing all the plumbing and electrical. It was a long, hard, tiring process, but the reward outweighed the risk.
NAN: How are you marketing and building clientele?
AVERY: It’s been a lot of word of mouth and building an online presence with Google and social media. Google has built a lot of traction. Every day I’m waking up with new requests from Google. I didn’t expect that much traction from it.
NAN: What makes you innovative or sets you apart from other bakers?
AVERY: I specialize in custom cakes and cheesecakes, but specifically cheesecake jars. I think my cheesecake jars set me apart from most bakeries, because that’s an option you wouldn’t typically find at a bakery.
NAN: Any advice for others who are thinking about starting a business in the food industry?
AVERY: I actually want to start a program where I help young adults who want to get started in the food industry or even just in the entrepreneurial aspect of things. Everybody has a dream and a goal. I just say, go for it. Because what do you really have to lose? And, as long as you’re consistent and dedicated, you can always achieve your goal. It may take time, but being consistent every single day will get you one step closer to that goal.