Liz Berman is a self-described mother, baker, and terrible sleeper. It makes sense, then, that she founded an independent bakery called The Sleepy Baker. Between a full-time job in Boston and raising her children, she found the time to launch and scale The Sleepy Baker into the successful business that it is today. Now, she bakes and decorates beautiful cakes full-time.
What did you do before starting The Sleepy Baker?
Before she started The Sleepy Baker, Liz had two full-time jobs: one in human resources, and one raising her children. She had never worked in the food business prior to starting her own shop, and hadn’t thought about starting and growing her own business until she started baking cakes.
What is The Sleepy Baker’s origin story?
“I was always very artistic, but I worked in a very non-creative field,” Liz said. As a human resources professional, she couldn’t exercise her love for the arts as much as she wanted to. “I also loved baking and found it to be a calming activity — following the recipe and taking the time to measure out ingredients. I’d never baked a cake before, though.”
Her children only caused her desire to bake more to grow. “Once I had kids, I knew I’d want to bake their birthday cakes just like my mom did for me,” Liz said. "When I had children I started to make them homemade cakes for their birthday parties and the more I baked, the more adventurous I became. Never before had I had a job that was such an outlet for creativity."
“Unexpectedly, I discovered that making birthday cakes for my kids was a wonderful artistic outlet. I got more adventurous with my designs and more confident in my skills. I casually posted pictures of my creations on social media and then friends started to ask me to make cakes for their kids! I thought, ‘Hmmm… could I actually get paid to do this?’”
As word spread, the demand for her cakes grew and never really stopped. For the next six years, she worked full-time at an office job in Boston and would come home to take care of her family. It was only after all of that work was done that she could start baking cakes. “I was exhausted — and that’s how I came up with my business name, The Sleepy Baker,” Liz said. “At that point, I knew that my business was either going to plateau or grow into something bigger, so I decided to go for it. I quit my job and started working as The Sleepy Baker full-time. That was nine years ago and I haven’t looked back.”
Describe your products in one sentence.
“My products are delicious, artistic and made with pride.”
What's your favorite way to enjoy your cakes?
There’s nothing like the feeling of delighting a customer — for Liz, delivering that joy is even sweeter than the cakes she bakes.
“The enjoyment I get from hearing from happy customers and knowing that I helped make their celebration more special brings me great joy.”
Who is another cottage cook or food entrepreneur that you follow and support?
“I follow Anna Banana’s Homemade Goodness — she’s not only a fellow woman entrepreneur, but she is a friend. Her chocolate creations are absolutely delicious and beautiful.”
What's the best thing about this job?
Owning a business is a rewarding part of her job, but much of Liz’s joy is derived from setting a positive example for her children.
“I get to bring joy to others, while also showing my children that their mom is a hard-working business owner,” Liz said.
What's your best piece of advice to share with aspiring food entrepreneurs?
Know that this has to be a labor of love, Liz shares.
“The time, energy and emotion you put into this work is more than you could ever possibly anticipate when you start off. At the same time, don’t be afraid to take a break and find some balance in your life. This is something I’m still working on!”
Her closing reminder to aspiring cottage cooks? “Remember, you’re building your own business and you should be proud of it — never compromise your product, your pricing or yourself.”
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