Budding Young Entrepreneur Bakes Up Success
by Prianka Sharma, Assistant Chief Counsel
At a recent small business popup event, I met the owner of Pryncess Treats, a small business founded during the pandemic. Pryncess Treats’ owner and CEO is a six-year-old named Elysia. Elysia started Pryncess Treats because of her love of baking. After a business unit at school, she mentioned to her father that she thought she could create a small business to sell her banana muffins.
Charles, Elysia’s father, wanted his daughter to learn business acumen, responsibility, and leadership and have fun while doing so. So, he told Elysia that if she wanted to sell her muffins, she needed to create a name for her business, design a logo, and create a business plan. It took Charles and Elysia nearly four months to research and comply with all the regulatory requirements of starting and owning a baking business.
The business launched in December 2021. Within 36 hours, Elysia sold seven dozen banana muffins. Elysia’s marketing techniques included online marketing, popup events, and farmers markets. Charles took advantage of an SBA program from the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center to learn about starting a small business. He and his wife are both active-duty military members and have other small businesses.
Digital presence is very important for new businesses such as Pryncess Treats. Having access to reliable internet and a computer to build a website were key to Elysia’s success. Elysia was lucky that she lived in an area with reliable internet, but many small businesses in rural areas need assistance with access. Advocacy reviewed updates to loan and grant programs from USDA regarding broadband accessibility in rural areas that will help level the playing field.
Due to Pryncess Treats’ success, Charles and Elysia are looking to expand their reach beyond their once-a-month baking popups. To do so they must overcome regulatory hurdles and additional administrative costs. Currently, Elysia is required to provide basic labeling that include the ingredients used in her products and any known allergens. Charles and Elysia are also careful about complying with sanitation requirements when baking.
As Pryncess Treats grows, Elysia will have to include nutritional information, calorie counts, and other information on her labels. This will create new costs and could potentially hinder growth. Elysia likes to try baking new products each month, and Charles is worried that redesigning and reprinting new labels will add to their overhead costs.
Advocacy attorneys are all too familiar with labeling requirements and the challenges they pose for small businesses. For instance, Advocacy worked with USDA on their proposed bioengineered food labeling requirements and the FDA’s regulatory changes to the nutrition facts label to ensure that the requirements were not overly burdensome for very small businesses like Elysia’s.
Charles also mentioned that current global supply chain issues have impacted Pryncess Treats. They have had to hunt to find the specialty ingredients they need for their products. This may also pose a challenge to expansion. If Elysia and Charles are forced to substitute a product at the last minute due to unavailability, they will not be able to completely redesign their labels with the new ingredients. Having flexibility to place a sticker over an existing label or use a QR code so that the information can be provided on their website, will be key to the future success of Pryncess Treats. Such methods are already being used for some labeling requirements and Advocacy hopes that agencies will continue to use such technology going forward.
Pryncess Treats is one of many micro businesses that emerged during the pandemic. The success of these businesses is dependent on their ability to keep administrative costs low, while still ensuring the safety of their products. Advocacy attorneys work daily to ensure that agencies consider less burdensome alternatives while meeting their intended regulatory objectives. Through this work, Advocacy can ensure that the next generation of budding entrepreneurs such as Elysia have a fair chance at thriving and succeeding.