I’m privileged to have an article published on what is arguably the sweetest day of the year. Happy Valentine’s Day, people! Aside from cards and flowers and adorable stuffed animals, candy, cookies, chocolates, and confectionery of all kinds rule this day, to the delight of all children—and chagrin of elementary school teachers, dentists, and dieters everywhere.
What can I say? It makes sense. Love is sweet!
Whether you’re celebrating with loved ones or spending time on your own for this Valentine’s Day, or celebrating the lesser-known “Galentine’s Day” (Feb 13) or “Single’s Awareness Day” (Feb 15), Lissie’s Sweet Creations has got you covered.
I ran across Melissa Parr, the creative whiz behind Lissie’s Sweet Creations, when I finally admitted to myself that I wanted cute decorated cookies for my son’s second birthday that the birthday boy and I would actually be able to eat! (We’re gluten free.)
I reached out to quite a few home bakers who specialized in beautifully decorated cookies, and while regular flour is her usual medium, only Melissa was equipped to make gluten-free cookies to accommodate us. The loads of 5-star reviews from other happy customers, plus the mouthwatering, picture-perfect treats all over her Facebook page, just sweetened the deal. (Sorry, I could NOT help myself.)
Cupcakes, iced cookies, and elaborate cakes are what Lissie’s Sweet Creations specializes in. Every holiday and special occasion is represented when you look through her photographic résumé.
Have you ever seen something perfect online, but didn’t want to try it in case you became a Pinterest fail? Talk to Melissa, and she just might be able to save your bacon. Or make bacon out of fondant, should you need it. As I discovered during our chat, it would be far from the oddest decorative request she’s ever received from a customer.
Me: So, how did you get into baking and decorating?
Melissa Parr: My mother loved to bake and was well known amongst our family and friends as being an amazing baker and decorator. One of my earliest memories is baking cookies with her, and as a kid she always let me play with her cake decorating tools, so it has always been a hobby of mine.
What inspired you to start your business?
I brought cookies to my niece’s birthday party, and someone there asked if they could buy some for their own child’s party. I saw it as an excellent opportunity to make some money while staying home with my children. My husband encouraged me to start a business page on Facebook, and it just took off from there!
What’s your biggest challenge with maintaining a home-based business?
My biggest challenge with working out of my home is definitely managing my time, because I also have three children that I homeschool. I find myself working long nights so that I can dedicate my days to them. Coffee is a staple here, ha!
What are your goals to grow your business and where do you want to be in a year or so?
I plan to stay a home-based business at least until my two older children are in high school. Eventually, I would love to open a bakery or café, but for now my primary focus is my children’s education, so that will have to wait!
What are your most popular products?
Decorated sugar cookies are definitely my biggest seller. I try to offer mini-cookie sets for every holiday, and they are very popular!
The most common compliment that I receive on my cookies is on the icing, which is not the traditional hardening royal icing that most other bakeries use. My icing has a soft bite to it, and people love it!
What’s your favorite product to make?
I am in love with making first birthday cakes, especially smash cakes! I love experiencing the parents’ excitement over their baby’s first birthday, and knowing that the cake I am making for them is often times the first cake that the baby has ever eaten.
What’s the most out-there request you’ve ever gotten?
Most of my requests are pretty traditional, but the most unique order I’ve had so far was probably the “Big Lebowski” themed cake that I made a couple of years ago. I had to sculpt a severed toe!
Which of your creations have you been proudest of?
I take a lot of pride in all of my work, but the cakes that I have donated hold a special place in my heart. I volunteer for an organization called Icing Smiles, Inc., which provides critically ill children and their siblings with dream cakes for their birthdays. One of the first tiered cakes that I ever made was for a child through Icing Smiles, and I was so proud of myself for not only pulling it off, but for delivering it all the way to Los Banos in the August heat!
I know you’re happy to do gluten-free, and are there any other dietary restrictions you can accommodate?
I have fulfilled several orders for egg-free cakes, and am currently working on a recipe for vegan cut-out cookies.
Need that perfect cake, cookies, or cupcakes? Or just want to drool over a lot of pretty pictures? You can find Lissie’s Sweet Creations on Facebook or Instagram or just give Melissa a call at (559) 307-8926.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
[all photos used with permission from Lissie’s Sweet Creations]