Karen and her pooch Lulu are on a mission to become Charleston’s only mobile mason jar bakery. Chicago native Karen has a dream of creating tasty treats for humans and their dogs out of a pick-up truck and trailer. I already love it. But, what makes Karen’s idea so special is the fact that she’s doing this all to donate her profits to help shelter dogs find their “fur”-ever home, just like how she found her partner in crime , rescue pup Lulu.
I asked Karen a few questions to learn more about Sweet Lulu's Bakery on Wheels.
Photo by Sea Star Arts Boutique Photography
DB: Where did the idea of a mobile bakery come from?
Karen: Building out a kitchen space in a brick and mortar free standing building is pretty expensive. Building out a truck is less expensive. But, it also allowed me to differentiate myself from the competition. While my goal is to focus on catering with regular Farmers Market events, I didn't want a traditional FedEx-type food truck. I wanted something different. Something that people would love to come over and look at, have their picture taken with and better still have in birthday party or wedding pictures. A cool old pick up truck and kitschy trailer fits the bill.
DB: And the mason jars?
Karen: I love to fish. And when you go out for a day out on the boat, you pack your cooler full of food and drinks, but not dessert. Traditional dessert is hard to transport. A mason jar fits easily in any cooler and it's also in line with Southern traditions. It's a staple many folks already know and love. So it just felt natural to package Southern style desserts like cobblers and some fun out-of-the-box creations like my Wonder Woman or Carolina Girls Cupcakes in a mason jar.
DB: Tell me more about your homemade dog treats.
Karen: Yes! Iced Lulu. The goal hopefully sometime next year is to spin off our ice cream for dogs - Iced Lulu - with all profits going to animal shelters across the country. Kind of like a Newman's Own but for shelter pets. Our "ice cream" is made from human grade ingredients so actually anyone can eat it. It's made with a non-fat yogurt base and depending on the flavor a variety of other ingredients edible and healthy for dogs like bacon, honey, bananas and strawberries.
DB: Where do you find daily inspiration?
Karen: Gosh, everywhere I turn. I moved out to John’s Island so I could eventually grow my own fruit and raise chickens for my bakery. And most of my neighbors are all farmers. Goats, chickens, horses, farm cats, wild guineas and the occasional turkey and pig surround me. It's kind of hard for this "city kid" to not be inspired by the nature and the non-stop antics of so many animals that surrounds me here.
DB: So you’re hoping to grow and raise your own ingredients to make your treats?
Karen: Absolutely! I purposefully moved to Johns Island so we could set up a Sweet Lulu's Farm. Our goal in Winter 2014 is to build a chicken coop to raise chickens (probably Rhode Island Reds) for fresh eggs. In 2015 we'll be planting - we already have lemons and key lime trees but we hope to plant strawberries and blueberries as well as work with a local dairy so we can make our own butter. The goal is to become a South Carolina Certified Product.
DB: Where are you in this stage of your business?
Karen: I'm testing out lots of recipes and have finalized the ones I hope to open with. I completed my website, ordered business cards, finalized my packaging, have been scouring the internet for trucks and trailers as well as looking for a DHEC approved kitchen space and getting my licenses. I've also had two gals book me for their Charleston weddings next year.
DB: What do you need to make your dreams come true?
Karen: Support for my Kickstarter campaign is instrumental in launching my business. It will help with the funds I need to finalize the truck and trailer renovation.
To support Karen in her journey of goodwill, visit her Kickstarter page to donate.
Maddie and I loved our goodies from Sweet Lulu's Bakery on Wheels.
For more information on Karen, Lulu, and upcoming events click here.