Warner Robins native Crissy Marie Parks is the owner of Sweet Creations by Crissy, a home-based bakery in Macon where she bakes custom cakes, creates sweet treats, and designs candy table and decorations for events ranging from weddings and birthday parties to retirements and graduation celebrations.
Crissy has been baking for at least twenty-three years. She learned to bake the old-fashioned way, by watching her mother and other family members bake and decorate cakes from an early age.
“Baking started as something that I liked to do for family,” says Crissy, “and the first cake I made, I was probably around 13-years old.”
“I don’t have a picture of it, but I can assure it looked pretty horrible,” she laughs, “but it tasted delicious!”
Crissy has had other professions outside of baking. She had worked as a waitress and a landscaping wholesaler before coming to Macon. “After I came to Macon, I started working at what was then a Foodmax grocery store where I learned to advance my cake skills.”
She became the bakery manager at the grocery store, and soon enough, she was teaching other bakery employees how to make and decorate the cakes and other desserts sold in the store. However, she left the store bakery for different opportunities. She explains, “I never really knew that this was my calling until I was older and family members started asking me for cakes all the time.”
Eventually she found herself working as a licensed insurance agent for the state of Georgia.
“While I was working as an insurance agent, I was actually doing my cakes as a side business to earn extra income for my family,” Crissy explains. “As time went on, I was very unhappy with the desk job, and I really wanted to pursue my cake business full-time.”
Crissy then took a leap of faith: she got her business license, had her home kitchen licensed, bought the supplies she would need for the new generation of cake decorating, and dove headfirst into her baking company. “It felt amazing and scary all at the same time having to run a business and provide my family’s income by this alone,” Crissy says.
“I’m very blessed to be able to do what I love to do, and I’m very humbled by all of the people that love my work. I have to thank God for everything, because without his guidance I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she explains.
Since opening her company, Crissy’s business has grown to include many loyal customers. Her biggest challenge in become a business owner is managing her time so that she can meet the needs of her customers and her family.
“When you work for yourself, the only money you make is what you generate by taking orders and producing them for your customers,” Crissy explains. “There are really no days off working for yourself.”
She is learning to take a day off for herself, and a day off to spend with her family, in an effort to balance the demands of business ownership and leading a life well-lived. “I am a wife, mom, and Nana, and sometimes I’m not the best with balancing business and personal life–sometimes I feel like I work more than I should, but I just want everyone to be proud of me.”
The best part of Crissy’s job is her ability to be part of her customer’s lives. “I would have to say the absolute best thing about my job I guess that it would be that I am blessed to be a special part of people’s celebrations and memories that will last a lifetime,” she says. “I have met some absolutely amazing supportive and encouraging people throughout this journey so far, and I look forward to what the future holds for me.”
Crissy is always up for new challenges in her baking and cake design. She has had more than a few difficult designs that she wasn’t sure she could accomplish, but each time, she has risen to the challenge. “If it doesn’t scare you,” she says, “it’s not worth trying to do it right?!”
“I couldn’t say that one particular kind of order is my favorite,” Crissy explains. “I would have to say that each one actually is very important to me and I give everything in my heart to make the best that I can.” Her goal is to have an “awesome” reaction out of the customer and to know that they are absolutely satisfied with their orders, whether they have requested a cake, treats, decorative spreads, or a combination of things.
“As far as my personal favorite, I guess I would have to say a wedding cake that I did for a young lady,” says Crissy, explaining that “it was simple but elegant, and I love how it turned out.”
One of the most impressive features of Crissy’s business is her support for other bakers and treat makers. Even on her own Facebook page, she frequently applauds the creativity and success of other members of the Middle Georgia specialty dessert community.
Why is she so quick to publicize her competition? “I am very supportive of other cake designers and caterers in and around Middle Georgia because I feel that a home-based business is something that I personally have experienced,” she explains. “Mom-and-pop shops hardly exist anymore and big business is where it’s cheap but not always better. I hope that all of the ladies that I know continue to grow and we all learn from one another.”
Crissy’s story exemplifies the best of what can happen when members of our community take that leap of faith and open their own business. She credits the success of her small business to one significant factor that the big box retailers just can’t match: personal relationships.
“If I had any advice to give others thinking about opening their own small businesses, I would have to say just be genuine and honest and kind to potential clients that are interested in your services,” she says, “I treat all of my clients like I would my family and I have gained a lot of friends and amazing support group through my business.”
“I have faced many struggles throughout my life, and there is nothing that you cannot overcome and accomplish with hard work, honesty, genuineness, compassion, kindness, and prayer,” she continues. “I am truly honored and very humbled by where I am in my life in general not just in my business, and I hope that God continues to bless me to do what I love to do best!”
Sweet Creations by Crissy provides a wide range of products and services for any event to customers all over Middle Georgia. She makes custom cakes and treats, along with candy tables and decorations. For orders, or to schedule wedding cake tastings, call Sweet Creations by Crissy at (478) 250-7966.
Sweet Creations by Crissy is on Facebook, where you can view many examples of her products and services, send messages to the business, and learn more.