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Senior Kaylee Son Opens Baking Business

Tarttreatery is the result of a passion and a vision
Photo by Augusta McKenzie
Son practices piping with Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.

A flaky crust, a light buttery filling, intricate decorations. These are the key components in senior Kaylee Son’s homemade tarts. Son has overcome the difficulties of starting a business, recently opening up the “Tarttreatery,” a local bakery business based in her home.

“I was nervous about opening my bakery business because I thought it would take up a lot of my time, especially with senior year,” Son said, “but I don’t see it as work. It’s something like a pastime that brings me a lot of joy.”

She originally started baking with her mother at the SMU campus. Her family was part of the faculty-in-residence program where they lived on campus with college students in the Boaz Commons. Every Sunday, her mother, Heidi Son, would host all the 180 students and bake a selection of treats to share.

“[Kaylee] would occasionally help me prepare and bake for the students,” Son’s mother, Heidi Son said, “but, after that, she started to experiment and do things on her own in the kitchen, as she became more confident.”

Afterwards, Kaylee Son went through periods of on-and-off baking until she saw a photo of an intricately made dessert and decided she wanted a new way to exercise her creativity.

“For a long time, I enjoyed art, especially the fine arts, but I was looking for ways to expand the places where I could apply the creative process,” Kaylee Son said. “That’s when I happened to see this cool picture of a dessert that had multiple layers in it. That got me thinking, ‘what dessert ideas can I come up with?’”

But it was later in the summer of 2022, before her junior year, when Son really started to develop the idea of opening a business.

“I’m hoping to major in general business administration or hospitality management,” Son said. “So, I thought that incorporating the passion I have for baking and turning it into a business would give me a lot of hands-on experience and give me a potential head start in college.”

Sifting through all the desserts her bakery could potentially specialize in, she landed on tarts. The idea sprouted from the simplicity of the dessert, and their ability to be changed or manipulated to create something out of the ordinary.

“I think I initially got the idea to do tarts because at its very base, it’s an open-face short-crust pastry and the filling can be anything you want and you can even modify the crust,” Son said. “There are just so many ideas you can form with just that one simple crust.”

Furthermore, Son had to research the laws and intricacies of opening an at-home business. This included the cottage food laws, a group of Texas laws describing the rules of selling low-risk foods to the public without having to go through the Public Department of Health.

“[Opening a business required] a lot of research and seeing what other people have done. Then when I had a general idea, I started working on the steps, such as getting a license, finding a website, and then taking pictures,” Son said.
Son also had to go through the process of developing and testing flavors. She took inspiration from other bakers online and then added her own unique touch to make them her own.

“I’ve been involved in the testing of them,” Adam Harris, senior class president and friend of Kaylee, said. “I consumed them, I enjoyed them, and I gave my comments directly to Kaylee after I ate them.”

Testing was the last step before opening. After a successful soft opening, Tarttreatery was finally opened in July of 2023. Son currently sells five different flavors of tarts: strawberry pretzel, chocolate, blackberry cardamom, blueberry almond, and vanilla caramel. She is now expanding her business in the realm of custom orders and catering.

“I have to work on a lot of skills before I’ll be confident to officially offer custom tarts because custom orders bump up my business to a whole new realm of possibilities and also questions like, ‘how do I go about calculating the cost for a custom order,’ or, ‘do I want to do large catering orders?’” Son said.

Her base of supporters comes from all the friends she’s made from her community involvement, and positive attitude in life.

“She is so kind and she loves to help people,” Harris said. “She’s very modest, very humble. Her kindness is outstanding to me, and her intelligence, if I was as smart as Kaylee I would let everyone know.”

Ultimately, Son’s baking business is continuing to grow and gain recognition. Her love for baking has sprouted into an impressive accomplishment: owning a business.

“It’s been awe-inspiring really to see her take this upon herself, and [see how] what was a dream actually came to fruition,” Heidi Son said.

About the Contributor
Augusta McKenzie
Augusta McKenzie, Reporter
What are you looking forward to on the staff this year? Hanging out with the Newspaper staff. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  A tree house on a small island or in the rainforest with tons of colorful birds. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pasta