*Twenty-nine-year-old Chrysta Wilson has broken new ground as owner of Kiss My Bundt Bakery in Los Angeles. It’s novel in the sense that it specializes in made-from-scratch Bundt cakes and southern-inspired confections.
But her twist on inspiring communities through her business model is a concept whose time has come. She has an undergrad and graduate degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from USC. Just because she’s out of school and out of public policy, it hasn’t stopped her from holding class, changing lives and charting new territory.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Chrysta: My mom fled an abusive relationship and raised three girls as a single parent while pursing her Master’s Degree. She inspired me to be ambitious by always asking me as a child, “What’s your plan?” She was also my biggest supporter and motivator. My Aunt Dia inspired me professionally. I credit her for igniting my passion for baking. I watched her bake amazing cakes. But I also watched how she brought people together and built social networks through her cakes. These were qualities I admired in both women and later emulated as an adult.
Can you point back to that defining moment when you knew this is what you wanted to do with your life?
Chrysta: After I got my master’s degree, I accepted a position in public policy that had amazing growth potential and the opportunity to build relationships with many people in the public and private sector. At the time, I baked as a hobby and I would often bake cakes and take them to community meetings I facilitated. The cakes seemed to bring together people of various backgrounds even during some of the most contentious community meetings. That defining moment happened when my Aunt Dia died, followed by my mother. It was the first time I was faced with the issue of mortality. With the death of those I loved, I realized that tomorrow wasn’t promised. That’s when I decided I had to purse my passion of baking. People thought I was crazy when I gave up my job. At the age of 27-years-old I developed a plan, secured a commercial lease and went into business.
As a business owner, what’s been your most challenging moment?
Chrysta: Not having enough capital and cash flow coming in while trying to grow a business in a recession. There have been occasions when there were bills to pay and not enough money to pay them. A few times I thought I was going to have to close. I have to tell you, I’ve experienced some divine intervention on numerous occasions. My faith has been a big part of the success of this business along with my staff that not only believes in me but depends on me.
Tell me the most rewarding moment of your career?
Chrysta: There are several. I’ve baked cakes for events like the Grammy’s and Vogue Magazine parties. My cakes were on the Today Show in December. Kiss My Bundt has been written up in the Los Angeles Times and featured on local station KTLA. My bakery won “Best Cupcake in LA,” and recently I published a cookbook of my cake recipes. I even started a baking academy right here at the bakery where I get to ignite the passion of baking in people much like my Aunt Dia inspired in me. It’s been wonderful because everything that I have envisioned for this business has happened from the pink and brown doors to the cookbook. I have taken the Bundt cakes and literally made them hip couture. It’s been exciting.
What are you passionate about?
Chrysta: Community building. The biggest success I had while working in public policy was in organizing neighborhood meetings and getting people of diverse backgrounds to talk to each other. I think that is why I am here, my personal mission statement to help improve, inspire and strengthen communities. I was doing that through the public sector through community organizing and now I am doing it through my business. I like to say we help improve communities one Bundt at a time.
What’s concerns you about today’s young women?
Chrysta: I’ve worked with several non-profit agencies in hosting young women for a day of mentorship at my bakery. They asked me many questions and it was a wonderful exchange. What I learned from these experiences is that many young women don’t know their own potential. Sometimes the only thing they need to make better choices is to know that someone supports them and believes in them. I let them know that they absolutely can achieve their dreams just as I have. I believe our time together helped to open their eyes to the endless possibilities that await them.
How important is your faith
Chrysta: It’s everything. If I didn’t have faith, then I would have quit a long time ago and walked away. Faith is integral to me. I don’t know what the future holds, but I have faith I will be ok whether my business model stays the same or if it has to change. For more information on Ms. Wilson visit kissmybundt.net.
(If you have comments about Veronica’s View, email them to [email protected]).