Rain Adams has been cooking and baking for most of her life, and recently launched her own bakery selling cakes decorated for special occasions, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats. The story isn't uncommon, but the difference with this story is that Rain Adams is fourteen years old.
Adams is a ninth-grader in a non-traditional school program called Destinations Career Academy of Colorado (CODCA), a tuition-free online program that allows students a little more flexibility in terms of schedule and curriculum, offering programs in agriculture, business, health sciences, information technology and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The young baker's big break came two years ago when she entered a turkey chili recipe in Michelle Obama's Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Her recipe won for Colorado, and she was able to represent the state by traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet the first lady at a gala luncheon. Adams parlayed that success into her own business, Bakeology.
Even before winning the cooking challenge, she was making and selling dog treats and donating the proceeds to Denver-area animal shelters. Bakeology caters to human clients (and pets, too); Adams sells her baked goods online as well as at farmers' markets and at the YouthBiz Marketplace, which helps young entrepreneurs achieve their business goals. The baker's focus on art is evident in the cakes and cookies that she designs.
We recently talked with Adams about meeting Michelle Obama and how she balances her school workload with running her own business.
Westword: What did you have to do to win Michelle Obama's Healthy Lunchtime Challenge?
Rain Adams: I had to submit a healthy recipe that fit the guidelines of MyPlate. Two finalists were selected from each state, and the dishes were prepared in the White House kitchen and tasted and voted on. One winner from each state was selected, and those winners got to go to Washington, D.C., to attend the Kids’ State Dinner at the White House. I won for Colorado!
How much time does running your own bakery take every day?
In theory, I try to devote about an hour a day to Bakeology on average. If I have large orders, I might spend anywhere from three to eight hours a day on baking. It is definitely difficult to keep up with this amount of work, but my online school makes it much easier.
How do you like the online school program? Do you still get to spend time with friends and other kids your age through other activities?
I love online school. The program is easy to follow and makes it very easy to go at my own pace when I am learning a new subject. I get to spend lots of time with my friends and classmates. I have online classes with my teachers and classmates every week, where I can chat with them and make connections. Because Destinations is a “pathway” school, this means that there are extracurricular activities and clubs I can take part in where I can meet people both online and in person who share my interests.
What do you like to do outside of school and baking?
Outside of school and baking, I love drawing, which is why I am taking a digital-art class this semester. I love music as well; I enjoy discovering new artists and genres of music.
What has been your favorite baking project so far (a particular cake or recipe that you liked the most)?
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Well, my favorite things to create are my specialty cakes. The orders I’ve gotten so far have been very creative and fun. I got to design a peacock cake for a friend of mine, and a while back I actually made a spherical basketball cake for my dad’s friend. And let me tell you, that was one of the most difficult cakes I’ve done, and that was when I was just getting my business started!
What would you tell other students your age who may be interested in starting their own business but aren't sure where to begin?
I would tell them that it is definitely much more difficult than it looks! But you have to have patience and also courage to get your ideas out there. Researching online local and state government websites is a great place to start. It’s tough, but you should never let your fears hold you back from your full potential.
Go to bakeologycolorado.com to get a taste of Rain Adams's baked goods.