Baylee Bakes Owner Sees Value in Saying ‘Yes’ When Starting Out

Baylee Thornton, a University of Georgia graduate, owns Baylee Bakes, which has been selling decorative sugar cookies since 2019.

Q: What is your favorite part of waking up and coming to work every day?

I think my favorite part of this is probably the classes. Because most of the time, we’re doing stuff in here, usually the two of us, which is fun, but it gets boring. We don’t really like see many customers. So I think the classes are fun because I get to talk and interact with the customers, and then they also get to see how much harder it is than they think it is. Then they’re like, “Wow I have a newfound respect for this,” and I’m like, “Good, you should.” So that’s why I do like classes a lot.

Q: What is it like to be a business owner in a rapidly growing town like Athens?

It’s a lot. It’s really overwhelming. I don’t get enough rest. But it’s usually really rewarding, which is nice, especially getting to work with UGA and just other people in Athens. But yeah, the first two years, I think I slept like every other day. 

Q: What are your plans for Baylee Bakes as you move forward? 

Well, the plan all along was to get into a space (on Hawthorne Avenue in Athens), and I finally did that last year, so right now, we’re just kinda rolling with it. Pretty much everything that I’ve done. It’s just been me saying yes to things. So I started teaching classes because someone random asked me to do it. And I was like, “Okay, cool.” I started shipping because someone asked me to do it. I started doing subscription boxes because someone asked me to do it, so we’ll see what they ask of me next. I’m just a woman of the people.

Q: What would you say to UGA students wanting to take that leap of faith and start their own business?

Keep an open mind and say yes as much as you can without like burning yourself out. I mean, none of this would have started if I hadn’t just like said yes to a bunch of people who reached out to me. If I had turned that first person down, this (Baylee Bakes) simply wouldn’t be a thing because I had no plans for it. I’d also say get everything together as early as you can like when you’re starting, get your LLC together and get your taxes together, all of that organized and good to go. Because once it’s late, I mean, you get stuck for like years just trying to catch back up. So definitely start with that if you don’t start with anything else.

Comments trimmed for length and clarity.

Samantha Ramsey is a journalism major and sport management major covering business and consumer news.



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