The most successful women entrepreneurs join multiple, diverse networks to learn from their industry contacts, meet customers and develop connections to expertise. Having a critical mass of women in these networks helps us all gain credibility. Brooklyn Cupcake thrives to help small women-owned businesses by trying to transform their concepts of the future of their business- to move them into a place where they have the vision and the confidence to catapult their businesses to a whole new level. On a monthly basis, Brooklyn Cupcake will interview a small women-owned business in an effort to continue supporting one another.
This month’s featured small women-owned business is: Boo’s Bakes
Tabatha “Boo” Roman is a Nuyorican inspired by her culture to bake all kinds of sweet and “sugar-free” treats like: Besitos de Coco; Guava Turnovers; Bacardi Cupcakes; and Puerto Rican-themed Domino and Banderita Sugar Cookies. We are thrilled to be featuring Boo’s Bakes!
Name: Tabatha Roman
Company Name: Boo’s Bakes
Years in Business: 1 ½ years
How many employees do you currently have?
Officially, one… ME! Unofficially, my hubby and grown children are made interns regularly.
Tell us about your business. What product or service do you provide and who is your target audience?
I provide cookies, cupcakes, treats and custom cakes specializing in Latino flavors and design. My core target is the Latino community in the NYC area with a focus on El Barrio and Brooklyn for personal reasons; but larger target is anyone in the NYC area that is looking for sweets that look and taste great!
It takes a certain mind-set and bravado for anyone to start their own business and succeed, but it’s even more difficult for women in business. Please tell us what being a business owner means to you personally. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Are you a mompreneur? Do you work your business part-time? If so, was it due to choice, conflicting family and household roles, or in order to have more flexibility in your schedule to be able to attend to family responsibilities?
Being a mompreneur means turning my passion into a profession and finally truly loving what I do. After 10+ years in Marketing & Advertising, I was hit by the recession. Since I was finally able to spend quality time at home after working 15 hours a day for years, I started baking and realized how much I loved it. I then started tweaking recipes and creating some of my own to rave reviews at family functions. That led to early orders and me working on the visual aesthetics of the sweets. After realizing there was a lack of Gourmet Latino Sweet Shops in NYC that focused on both flavor and visual appeal, I decided to create Boo’s Bakes.
There are observable differences in men and women entrepreneurs’ motivations, goals, preparation, organization, and strategic orientation. How do you perceive the various aspects of the experience of business? What skills do you believe women need in order to run a successful small business?
I believe the main skill needed is passion…without it; you cannot feed the drive that is required to make a small business successful. The other important aspects are organization and creativity…in order to manage a business you need to be organized. I do feel I am equally analytical and creative which allows me to manage both aspects well. I think women have come a long way and are making great strides in the small business world. I believe if more Women were to work together, sharing resources and information it would be easier for more women to take the dive in becoming entrepreneurs.
Most women-owned businesses do not meet the traditional business standards. Women do not have access to the same capital necessary to grow a business. They do not have the same access to contracting and procurement opportunities that may help them to build their business. Women do not have the same access to resources. What barriers and obstacles have you confronted as a women entrepreneur?
I think the biggest barrier has been knowing who/where to go for resources. Every day I learn more about the available resources for small women business owners and am always sharing that information with other women I know that are trying to start their own businesses. Also, starting this business on my own with no partners has been difficult as I have no one to bounce ideas/thoughts off of that is invested in the same way that I am with time & money.
Are you certified as a Women-Owned Business (WOB)? If so, how have you benefited by this? If not, why not?
I am not certified as I am not aware of WOB…I will be looking into it now though. As I stated above, I am always happy to receive AND share any information I have, and so thank you for sharing.
Do you have a professional mentor or coach? If so, how has he/she helped you?
I do not have a professional mentor or coach; however my sister has been a great inspiration to me as she herself stared her own small business as an artist (Art by Mia) later in life and is happier and more fulfilled than I have ever seen her before. I do bounce ideas off of her when I can and respect her input.
Advancements in technology have helped ease the movement of more women in business into leadership. What has been the most effective marketing and/or social media initiative or program you have used to promote your business?
Facebook and Twitter have been great tools to help me catapult myself from obscurity to having a small following that is growing steadily. I have also used Instagram regularly and send out a monthly newsletter to folks that have signed up for it at events throughout the city.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe (and include links if available).
I think one of the most important tools for me has been a great accountant and Microsoft Excel. Keeping great financial records is key to long term success. Other great tools are Square – which can turn your tablet into a full blown register with memory of all sales for a very small fee per transaction; PayPal - which allows small businesses to create links (for free) on their websites turning the site into a retail site without having to pay a monthly fee; You Tube has been a great resource for learning new tricks and skills without having to pay for classes…there is a video of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you want to learn on You Tube.
What business goal do you plan to accomplish over the next year? Are you choosing to remain a small business? Do you desire to have a large enterprise either by revenue, number of employees or market share?
My short term goal is to increase my awareness and expand my fan base so that I can accomplish my mid-term goal of owning my own store front sweets shop. At this time I don’t wish to ever have a large enterprise as I feel places lose their charm and appeal when they become ‘chains’; however I do wish to have a sweets shop that is well known through the tri-state area and popular enough to have a line outside…down the block…daily.
What one thing have you learned as a woman small business owner that has served you well over the years? What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
One of the most important things I have learned is to follow your dreams because ‘what makes you happy’ and ‘what makes you money’ are not mutually exclusive thoughts…and neither are ‘helping yourself’ and ‘helping others’.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Being able to combine my love of my culture (Puerto Rico) and my passion for sweets with art while making people happy is one of my greatest accomplishments. That being said I continue to have great accomplishments every day as I continue to grow and learn new innovative ways to make sweets that make people smile.
Do you have any new upcoming projects or reached a milestone? Are you involved in your community? If so, please tell us about it.
A cool milestone for me was when East Harlem Cafe at 1651 Lexington (corner of 103rd St) began to carry some of my sweets as it was the first time my sweets were regularly available to consumers at a retail location. I am working on a few other retail locations (hopefully soon to be revealed) to carry my sweets as well. I have been and continue to be involved in community projects in Brooklyn (mainly Williamsburg) and Manhattan (LES & El Barrio) as they hold special places in my heart. I was born & raised in Brooklyn (Bed Sty & Williamsburg) and my Grandmother and Uncle still live by Graham Ave (Ave of Puerto Rico) and El Barrio & LES both have so much Latino culture throughout them and I have spent my teen & adult life soaking it in…From the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center and Nuyorican Poets Cafe to the 116th Street Festival & El Museo Del Barrio, I love being surrounded with so much Latino art, music and food.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
The name of my business is very special to me…my mother called me Boo as a child (and still does along with several of my family members) and so when I was thinking of names for my sweets…I wanted to pay homage to my mother (a true entrepreneur since I was a child… an interior decorator and jewelry designer). My logo is also very special to me…I have a love of skulls and so my brother who is a great artist becoming very well known for his work (Adrian ‘Viajero’ Roman) in the Latino community created this great sugar skull image of me which helped create my signature red lipstick & rose which I wear at every Boo’s Bakes event.
What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you (feel free to include the links to your social networks and websites)?
Readers can find me and my sweets at:
Twitter – @boosbakes
Instagram – Boosbakes
They can email me or request to sign up for my newsletter at:
They can place custom orders or ask questions about anything by calling me at 917-428-0807
BEST OF LUCK to you, Boo’s Bakes! Keep up the great work!