It was only after his coworkers repeatedly insisted that he bring in his homemade sweets that Austin Jackson got the idea to start a bakery business, Cakesmith, at home.
As reported in The Red & Black, the assistant district attorney for Athens-Clarke County had baked something for a coworker that was retiring back when he was in his first year at the DA’s office, Jackson. After such positive feedback and requests for more of his baked goods, Jackson realized baking “could be a possible source of revenue in addition to my current job.”
A Jackson, Mississippi native who graduated from law school at the University of Mississippi, Jackson moved to Athens to pursue a law career in town. After passing the Georgia bar exam three years ago, he accepted a position in the district attorney’s office.
Jackson said his passion for cooking grew while he was a law student, cooking most of his own meals.
“Some people call me a chef, but I don’t really claim to be a chef,” Jackson said. “I’ve never been to culinary school or anything like that. It’s just always been a passion of mine to cook.”
Not long after joining the staff at the DA’s office, he found himself cooking more for others. One request turned into five, and five into 10, Jackson said, and eventually he decided to pursue baking and obtain a cottage food license through the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which allows him to prepare foods that he can sell directly out of his kitchen.
Jackson bakes pies, cookies, jams and cakes and also offers custom orders.
“What I love about him is that we didn't have to continue speaking every day all day about the same thing,” said Nichole Thomas, a Cakesmith customer and pharmacy tech at the University of Georgia Health Center who commissioned a cake for her daughter’s 13th birthday. “He took my thoughts and created a masterpiece.”
Jackson was the sole owner and employee of Cakesmith until meeting his girlfriend Molly Laughlin, a Warner Robins native and a coordinator for the South Enotah Adult Felony Drug Court.
“We met through a coworker who works in the office,” Jackson said. “And on our first day, we got to talk about how much Molly likes to bake as well, and so that’s one thing we realized we had a lot in common. And that evolved into a partnership.”
Laughlin helped him expand the business beyond baked goods to canning, too.
“And so now we do jams and jellies,” Laughlin said. “We can do, like, apple butter during this season, and that kind of setup, or, like, a lot of people buy apple pie filling, and they don’t want to do all that and have all the spices and stuff, so we can [jar] that, too.”
Jackson is interested in growing Cakesmith, whether that means a brick-and-mortar bakery, a food truck or a catering service.
For now, he’s happy with running Cakesmith out of his kitchen, where customers are given the option to pick up baked goods or have them delivered.
“I do have a full-time job at the DA’s office, and I work 40-plus hours a week,” Jackson said. “So right now, it’s a challenge to manage the cottage food aspect of it and my full-time job.”
However, Laughlin is convinced of the originality of Cakesmith’s products.
“Sometimes, when you buy from a big bakery, like the commercial stuff, you kind of lose the love that’s baked into southern food,” Laughlin said. “And so that’s something that I feel like we’ve been able to reintroduce, and it really just comes from a passion. Absolutely, [we] really like to make people happy.”
Call Pachuta Insurance Today @ 706-769-2262
Welcome to our blog! We hope you enjoy it.