Spreading the Sweetness
Sweet Treats by Felicia is feeding Leland’s appetite for fresh-baked desserts.
Homemade fudge-topped brownies, German-inspired apple cream cheese cake, blueberry lemon pound cake — each of these desserts comes out of the oven on the morning that Felicia Rudisill shares her story about her home-based business, Sweet Treats by Felicia.
As a young girl Rudisill would eat no other pie than her father’s apple pie, so it’s a bit ironic that now she makes a big variety of desserts for a living. A barely year-old business, Sweet Treats grew from a hobby into a successful venture for Rudisill to share all things sweet in the Leland and Brunswick areas.
“I didn’t grow up baking, but my dad did a lot,” she says. “I grew up watching him bake.”
From a young age Rudisill worked in a salon braiding hair and then received her license in cosmetology in 2011. But after developing carpal tunnel syndrome and being dissatisfied with a 9-to-5 job, she wanted to find something where she could be her own boss.
“I always knew I was going to have some sort of restaurant or hair salon,” she says about her career path.
Baking had long been an enjoyable hobby, especially making cakes and cupcakes with her son. “It is kind of like therapy,” she says. “It just puts me in a whole other mindset.”
In November 2017 Rudisill found a way to turn her love for baking into a business.
She credits her friend, Christie Chadwick, for sparking the idea at an open house event Chadwick hosted for small business owners. Chadwick was looking for someone to bake cookies made with Young Living essential oils and reached out to Rudisill, who jumped right in.
“I did the cookies,” she says, “and then I did cakes and brownies and the whole spread.”
Rudisill was the only vendor to make sales that evening, so she took that and her new-found creative outlet as a cue to start a business.
“I always say (Christy) is my number one customer, the one who started it all and gave me the idea,” Rudisill says.
Everything fell into place. Rudisill was already food-safety certified from having previously managed a Circle K in Bellville, and she had recently closed on a house with a new kitchen that was perfect for her baking needs. After receiving certification to use her home kitchen, she got to work researching and testing recipes and dropping off her sweet creations with friends and local businesses to spread the word.
“It’s been an adventure,” she says. “A very unexpected, very humbling experience. I started just baking for friends’ gatherings, and it has blossomed into everything it is today.”
With her attention to detail and love for creativity, Rudisill bakes one-of-a-kind treats — from cake pops and tier cakes to muffins and breads. All of her treats are made fresh daily, and her fudge, chocolates, icings, fondant creations and cookie dough are made from scratch. She has dozens of silicon molds to make chocolates and enough molds to make about 10,000 cake pops.
After her initial experiment baking with essential oils, she frequently uses Young Living essential oils in place of many ground spices and flavorings in her baking — like her signature Lavender Pound Cake topped with a lemon glaze. During the holidays, peppermint oil highlights her chocolate and peppermint bark candy. Other oils she uses are cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, tangerine, spearmint, cardamom and ginger.
Sweet Treats offers gluten-free and paleo options, too, like paleo blueberry crumb bars and gluten-free chocolate fudge brownies. Some standard items can be made gluten-free on request.
The majority of Sweet Treats by Felicia’s creations are special orders, which she will happily do with a few days advance notice. She also offers gift bags and baskets, catered party packs and custom creations for special events, like picture cakes or detailed fondant cupcakes.
“I can do it, just tell me what flavor,” she says with a laugh.
Keeping up with her customers’ orders and her daily offerings means Rudisill works early mornings. Every weekday morning she pulls warm, freshly made cheesecake rolls, breakfast rolls and muffins from her oven to have on hand for customers who call in for delivery or pick up.
Every third Thursday she starts baking at 3 a.m. to prepare for a weekend of selling her goodies at the Sea Glass Salvage Market in Leland, where she joins other small businesses selling handmade fare. Sweet Treats is the only baked goods vendor, and Rudisill is able to use that space as a pick-up location for her orders on weekdays.
The early mornings don’t bother her. “I really, really enjoy being able to just be in my own element and do something that utilizes all the creative stuff in me,” she says.
While her father’s apple pie and her grandmother’s vanilla bean pound cake are family recipes she uses, most of what she makes are recipes she has experimented with or heard of from friends. She recently gathered ideas for fall-inspired creations from a trip to Germany, like a 100-layer blueberry croissant.
“I get excited about a new flavor or a new cake design or cookie cutter,” she admits. “I’m like a kid again.”
But what Rudisill loves most about her business is using her creativity to bring a little sweetness to someone’s day.
“I love to see that look of pure ecstasy when someone bites into something I make.”
Got a sweet tooth?
Sweet Treats by Felicia offers delivery and shipping on select items. Find out more at sweettreatsbyfelicia.com or call (910) 299-6198 to place your custom order.