Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie Richardson.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born and raised in Tainan, Taiwan, and I did not cook or make much at home because most people in the city go out to eat at the many night markets and cafes that permeate most cities there. I married my husband, Brad, in 2010 and we had our first child in 2011. I taught myself how to bake through watching online videos and perusing the Food Network. The very first thing I learned how to bake were cookies, and that wasn’t until 2011! After we had kids, they quickly fell in love with my sweet creations as they grew up with the heady aromas coming from the oven. Cookies are one of the easiest, and quick sweet treats I make for my kids. I attended a few Christmas cookie exchange parties that I enjoyed when we lived in Atlanta after my husband’s job moved us there, it was the first time I saw the decorated sugar cookies from the party and loved that they could be so pretty and tasty! So I started to learn how to decorate them since 2014. At first, I just like to share my cookie creations with friends and family, and then turned into being my favorite hobby and creative outlet. Over time, more and more people who tried my cookies wanted to buy them, so I started the BeFun Bakery in 2020.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
While I did try to follow assorted recipes, it was still a rocky road from the beginning. I would practice at night when my husband was working the graveyard shift. Unfortunately, I woke him up early more than once with the smoke alarm! Over the following years, I would experiment with different batters and chocolate until I felt they were just the right texture out of the oven. Once I had my chocolate chip cookie recipe perfected for my family, I began to work on sugar cookies. That was when I really started to enjoy the Christmas cookie exchanges. It was only then that I taught myself how to create various icings to adorn my sugar cookies, followed by a trial-and-error approach with multiple techniques. Achieving and surpassing a customer’s expectations are my ultimate goal and what consistently pushes me to reach new heights in my edible creativity.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I have been baking for about 10 years, and in that time, I have dabbled with cakes, scones, cupcakes, brookies, and assorted fruit crisps when the fruit is in season. It is the aromas that fill my home and the ensuing delightful glee of my children that, pardon the pun, are just icing on the cake for me. While none of those are currently available for sale, I will certainly consider them if I expand the business in the future.
I am most proud of our children we have raised and watching them grow and expand their horizons. They will always have that special light in their eyes to me when they bite into their favorite cookie, no matter what their age. My husband loves to tease me that my baking is what is going to keep bringing them back home after they finish high school.
I believe what sets me apart from others, is the time I put into the detail when decorating each cookie by hand. It is not done with an automated process that gives you a pretty design with artificial flavors on a dry and crumbly cookie.
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
I remember when I told my husband that I was never going to bake again after I burned my first attempt of a store-bought box of cornbread. Then I look at where I am now. So never say never and keep being persistent. When I started selling my cookies, I was nervous that if my price goes up due to the manual labor involved, will I lose customers? However, I’ve learned that if your products are delicious and the prices are reasonable, your customers will keep coming back. Lastly, NEVER doubt your worth!
Emily Grace Photography