Bennett was the youngest person in cake decorating classes, then launched her own baking business.
Young Entrepreneur Spotlight: Samantha Bennett
Samantha Bennett, of Greenbrier, Tennessee, was a little girl, she loved
helping out in the kitchen. She would work alongside her grandmother in
creating holiday family dinners, or she would assist with nightly dinners at
home until her mother allowed her to take over. But she found her true passion
was baking. Not only could she bake cakes, cupcakes, and cookies, but she could
use her creative abilities to design them as well.
So, in 2011, at
the age of 13, Bennett enrolled in Wilton Cake Decorating Classes, where she
was the youngest person there by 20 years. The teacher was an experienced baker
who ran a bakery out of her home and helped Bennett as a mentor and introduced
her to a career she never imagined was possible. Sam’s Sweet Sensations was
“That year, word
got out to family and friends,” said Bennett, who won an NFIB/McKee Foods Young
Entrepreneur Award for her business efforts. “The next year, friends of
friends. Now I have clients I do not even know that I am making cakes for. I
have made cakes for teachers at my schools, BETA Club Inductions, and even a
retired NBA basketball player.”
Bennett said her
biggest challenge as a young entrepreneur was getting exposure for her
business. She was committed to putting her schooling first, as well as juggling
another job and playing basketball, and didn’t know where to begin.
“Once someone has
had one of my creations, they love it and use me for more of their occasions,”
she said. “However, being 13 years old when I started and going to school, it’s
hard to have time and even know what to do to get my business recognized.”
She created a
website and a Facebook page, made T-shirts, and set up a table at a show.
Though she said this is still a challenge because she operates the business out
of her home, she has come a long way in five years.
When Bennett heads
to Austin Peay State University to study culinary arts, she plans to continue
running her business, but will hold off on expanding it—and pursuing two
business partnership opportunities she has had—until she graduates. Her
long-term goal is to open a brick-and-mortar bakery location and sell her
products for everyone’s special occasions, including baby showers, birthdays,
weddings, anniversaries, and so on.
“Nothing is more
special to me than seeing one of my creations make someone’s day and put a
smile on their face,” she said.