After graduating from Western last spring with a degree in management information systems, Jenna Kincaid is ready to bring her baking business, Sweet Petite, to its full capacity.
Kincaid has had Sweet Petite since she was in high school, and had been building it throughout college.
A year ago, Kincaid began thinking of new ways to expand after seeing a women in Los Angeles selling cotton candy out of a cart. With the help of her boyfriend, who built most of the cart, and her brothers' and father's advice, the four-foot-long food cart, called "The Sweet Whip" was created.
Although she did dessert catering at events throughout college, she said she felt this was the year she needed to take her business to the next level with the cart.
While Kincaid is waiting to get approval from the health department, she plans on bringing treats with her cart to customers by the end of the week.
The cart will feature different desserts each week depending on what ingredients are fresh and in season, Kincaid said. This will include pies, cupcakes, layer cakes and any treat that inspires her, she said.
“I want it to be a very creative process for me,” she said.
By having a variety of treats in the cart she will be able to keep things fresh and inspiring, Kincaid said.
She plans to bring the cart to busy parts of Bellingham about once a week to start. Although she hasn’t finalized any specific locations, Kincaid said she hopes to bounce around from place-to-place as much as possible.
Areas in town that are already popular for food trucks, such as outside of breweries, will be ideal for the cart, she said. Kincaid hopes to use the cart at larger events in order to give it a “whimsical spin.”
“One of the main purposes of [the cart] is to hopefully get noticed and get catering gigs for larger events,” Kincaid said.
For Kincaid, school was a struggle to get through because of her strong desire to drop out and attend culinary school.
“I have always been a business-minded person, and I knew if I got the business degree it would help me,” Kincaid said.
Even while she was living in the dorms, Kincaid was constantly baking and creating, said Marina Bankowski, her long-time friend and old college roommate.
Bankowski said the best treat Kincaid has made so far was a buttercream birthday cake she made for herself in the dorms freshman year.
“She always makes her own birthday cake because she knows exactly what she likes,” Bankowski said.
To Kincaid, the cake was nothing special, but Bankowski said it was the best cake she had ever tasted, created right there in the dorms.
Opening her own bakery to work for herself has always been her dream, Kincaid said.
“I am passionate about food, about eating. It is a very spiritual experience for me,” Kincaid said.
Part of her inspiration to get into food and baking came from her mother, who taught her “the pleasure of great food,” she said.
Her mother, Pamela Kincaid, said that even as a child Kincaid and her sister had a little kitchen set and loved to serve their grandparents pretend tea when they would visit.
“I’ve always liked to bake, and when [Kincaid] was little she must have watched me and learned from me,” Pamela said.
Her mother has always followed recipes when it comes to baking, something she said her daughter began diverting from as she grew up.
Years ago, Kincaid participated in a Future Farmers of America bake sale as a high school student where she was praised for her baking skill.
“It was really funny because back then all I used were boxed mixes, so it was nothing special,” Kincaid said.
After the sale, Kincaid began her own small catering business for friends and family on the side, she said.
The summer after her high school graduation, Kincaid made her business official with a logo and business cards for Sweet Petite, and she catered her first wedding the following fall.
From there, she had the proof to show people that she could do it, she said.
In the beginning, her specialty was cupcakes, and she was known as the girl “who made cupcakes,” a title she hopes to move away from with the variety her new cart will have.
Bankowski validated that claim and said one of her favorite things Kincaid makes are her cupcakes.
Kincaid likes to be creative and take her baking out of the box, her mother said.
“I am not really that way. I tend to just follow the recipes, I am not too adventurous,” Pamela said.
The cart will enable Kincaid to the have a face-to-face relationship with customers, which catering doesn’t offer much of, she said.
By starting small, having the cart will allow her to figure out if she enjoys working with customers more routinely or if she prefers the catering side of the business.
“I am really excited to serve a person a slice of pie and see that is makes them happy,” Kincaid said.
Working with customers will give her the opportunity to breathe personality into the business she is so passionate about, she said.
In the future Kincaid would like to include blogging, food writing and food styling in her business.
Plans for Sweet Petite are boundless, Kincaid said.
“I sound crazy, but I really see Sweet Petite as an enterprise,” she said.
Editor's Note: Marina Bankowski is a previous Western Front Copy Editor.