By Lauren Deal
Macon Community News
It would be easy to say that life is pretty sweet for Rebekah Thompson, the teenage daughter of Justin and Lynita Thompson. The 11th-grade homeschooler lives here in Bibb County with her parents, her sister Annessa, her grandmother, Grace Allen, and her two sweet dogs, Darby and Todoe.
Rebekah is the owner of Beka’s Sweets, a small batch baking business that specializes in cookies. “Currently I make petit fours, ladyfingers, and custom sugar cookies. As of now though, my main focus–and bestseller–
has been custom sugar cookies,” Rebekah says.
Rebekah teaches cookie decorating classes at the Cookie School in Bonaire, she teaches private cookie decorating lessons to individuals and hosts parties in her client’s homes, and she sells beautifully decorated cookies for parties, events, and holidays.
Rebekah is constantly working to improve her skills, expand her business, and build a broader clientele base in Macon and Middle Georgia.
She started her business out of a desire to help others: “I started Beka’s Sweets in July 2017, right after returning from my first mission trip to Honduras,” she explains. She uses most of her income from teaching cookie classes and selling custom treats to fund her mission trips, and the money that doesn’t go towards her missionary work is used to buy more supplies for her classes and to expand her business.
In Honduras, Rebekah worked as a missionary helping young children living in an orphanage in the impoverished country. Reading Rebekah’s website, it’s clear that she has a heart for missionary work, and she counts Katie Davis Majors, missionary and author of “Kisses from Katie,” as one of her inspirations.
“When I arrived at the orphanage, I fell in love with the kids” Rebekah recalls, “they were amazing and so loving! I was so blessed to be able to go serve them by spreading God’s love and also help work to improve the orphanage.”
Rebekah was adopted from an orphanage in China as a baby, and although she doesn’t remember her own experiences, she feels that ministering to children in need is part of God’s plan for her life.
“My next mission trip to Honduras is in July of this year, and I can’t wait,” she shares. “Every time I go back, I get hit with this feeling of thankfulness and awe because here in the States we are blessed beyond measure, and we often forget that and are not thankful for what we have. Whereas in Honduras, they literally survive off of their basic necessities.”
After her first mission trip, Rebekah knew that service as a missionary would be an important part of her life, but as a young person, she also knew that she would need to find a way to cover the expenses related to her passion.
Rebekah’s grandmother provided another source of her inspiration. “My grandmother was a cake decorator, so she always used to bake our birthday cakes, and she let us dabble into it also,” she explains.
“I loved baking cupcakes and cakes when I was younger, but I didn’t get seriously into baking until probably early 2017. My mom had signed her and myself up for a cookie class, and I fell in love with the art of cookie decorating,” she says.
“I love to do watercolor and love how with cookies, you can make a masterpiece and eat it too! After that I was hooked and was making cookies as often as I could,” Rebekah continues, “I really enjoyed learning new techniques and seeing my improvement with every single cookie.”
Her favorite cookies so far were an “Under the Sea” set that she created, including octopi and seahorses.
Our favorite is her paint-it-yourself dinosaur cookie, which is featured in a video on her Facebook page, and offers kids the opportunity to decorate their own cookies using food coloring “paint” that is included on the cookie itself. It’s a fun children’s party idea, and it demonstrates Rebekah’s lighthearted nature.
While Rebekah’s primary objective in started Beka’s Sweets was to raise funds for her future missionary efforts, her treat making is serious business. She is working to expand her creative abilities to include cakes, and although she says she has a long way to go before she starts selling them, her talent will take her far.
Although her family and the Cookie School have given Rebekah tremendous support, she has grown as a businesswoman through the assistance of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), a program hosted by the chamber which assists young business owners in areas of business ownership ranging from mentorship to designing business plans. The program also helps young entrepreneurs learn how to obtain funding, register their businesses with the state, and participate in trade shows.
“I absolutely love YEA!” Rebekah exclaims, “It has helped me tremendously. I have been able to form a business plan and figure out goals and how to expand Beka’s Sweets. YEA has also connected me with some amazing people who motivate and believe in me and my business.”
For a high school student like Rebekah, who has a great product to sell and the ambition to be successful, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity. “All the leaders and mentors at YEA are extremely helpful and supportive,” Rebekah explains. “My mentor Lauren is amazing. She helps me improve my business plan, given me general tips with my business, and also she has helped me brainstorm different ways I could get my cookies in the hands of local business owners.”
Beka’s Sweets grew its fans this past Christmas when Rebekah distributed her holiday cookies to several local businesses and services who have helped her throughout the last year. Her treats were featured in local social media posts, including on the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, where delighted chamber employees shared her generosity.
As a businesswoman, artist, and Christian missionary, Rebekah is an outstanding role model for younger children, and she is a shining example of “teenagers today.” When she isn’t teaching, baking, running her business, or spending time with her family and church, Rebekah also participates in Mock Trial, an organization that teaches high school students public speaking skills and understanding of the legal system.
“We all are so blessed to be here in America,” Rebekah says, “and we should be thankful and take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way.”
For more information about Beka’s Sweets, or to place an order, visit her Facebook page or her website, at www.bekasweets.com.