STANHOPE - You'd better not call Linda Erickson "Lindy," and Suzanne Sogard doesn't care for the name Sue, either - unless you're talking about their new business, Lindy-Sue Sweets.
The mother and daughter team bake and decorate cakes and cupcakes, cake pops, dropped cookies, and rolled cookies from this home-based business headquartered in Sogard's Stanhope home. Erickson lives just a few miles away in her farm home.
Lindy-Sue Sweets came about when "the economy went south," as Sogard put it, and her 21-year career as a freelance court reporter slowed down. "I wanted something that I could still do from home," said the mother of four. "I'd been tossing around this idea for a while."
- Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Billie Shelton
Linda Erickson (left) and daughter Suzanne Sogard show off decorated cupcakes from their business, Lindy-Sue Sweets. Contact them via their website, www.LindySueSweets.com
So she invited her mother to take cake decorating classes with her this winter, and the home-based business took off from there. Except it wasn't all that simple. There were supplies to order, the Sogard kitchen to get inspected, and recipes to develop.
Deciding on a frosting recipe was pretty easy, as the duo started with the one Linda's mother, the late Clara Hostetler, always used. "Frosting makes the cake or the cookies," Erickson pointed out. "We have it down to a science now." And there were plenty of willing taste-testers for the cake recipes that were tested, even though eventually even the Sogard kids - ages 5, 11, 13, and 15 - tired of cake.
Other family support comes from Sogard's husband, Doug, who delivers the finished baked goods.
Graduation and confirmation season in May brought orders for cakes and cookies to the Stanhope women. Both bake their products, but Erickson's department is to do the base frosting for the cakes while her daughter decorates. Sounding like a mother perhaps more than a business partner, Erickson comments on her daughter's creations. "Suzanne is very artistic, and she's very good at this," she said.
For Sogard, cake decorating lets her blend her artistic bent and her interest in scrapbooking.
"I never thought I'd be a baker," said Erickson with a chuckle. The full-time day job for this grandmother of seven is as an administrative specialist at ISU's veterinary medicine department, where she has been for 37 years with no immediate plans to retire. "This is my creative outlet from my job," she says.
With their confidence growing as they successfully fill more orders for sweets, "the more we do, the better we get," Sogard said, adding that she's pleased to have some reorders from earlier customers. "I'm surprised at how fast this has taken off." Online sources have been a huge help for her with ideas and resources for her new business.
So what have they learned so far in this family business? "Well, we're finding out what 100 degrees does to butter cream," Sogard said, referring to this summer's heat wave. "And we've learned that the ingredients used are key."
"It seems like people don't want to bake or decorate today, but they still want baked goods," her mom said.
And Lindy-Sue Sweets is happy to fill that need.