Entrepreneur and Wife, Uses Family Recipe to Launch Business and Change the Breakfast Industry
Making meals from scratch is always something to be cherished, especially when the tradition is passed down throughout the family from generation to generation. Christian Sargent, Founder of Vicky Cakes, grew up making her homemade meals with her siblings every night for dinner and every Saturday morning they would devour her buttermilk pancakes. This later prompted her to launch her business.
Affectionately named after her mother, the pancake recipe has brought bright smiles and full stomachs to everyone who has sat down at their kitchen table. It is genuinely one of the most requested meals in their family and is a staple that will never lose its weight.
“Thankfully, my mother’s love for the kitchen, culinary skills and passion for feeding people’s souls was passed down to me, and I proudly present to you Vicky Cakes Buttermilk Pancake Mix™, the recipe that has won people’s hearts time and time again,” Sargent states.
Their company motto is, “Laugh together, eat together and build together whole enjoying the heart of breakfast”.
I recently interviewed Mrs. Sargent where she chatted more on her company.
Can you tell myself and the readers about yourself and your upbringing?
I was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, the hometown of the late Michael Jackson. I am the youngest of four siblings. My mother, Vicky, was a single woman who was strict in her parenting approach, but she showered us with love and affection. My mother would always tell my siblings and I that our focus should be God and education.
The city we grew up in was very dangerous and it is nothing short of a miracle that all of my siblings and I did not become a product of our environment. We rose above the negative stereotypes thanks to the standards and foundation my mother built for us. I am forever grateful to her for that.
Growing up and still to this day who are your inspirations/mentors? How did they impact your life?
My greatest inspiration isn’t just one person, it is more of my ideas and overall outlook of the limitless possibilities that inspire me in my walk of life and beliefs to strive for the highest level of success because all things are possible to those who believe.
The only mentor I’ve had on my entrepreneurial journey is my husband who is a serial entrepreneur. He is my rock and truly one of the best assets I have in life. The man is bad to the bone! HA!
When did you realize your passion for entrepreneurship?
Believe it or not, the first time I heard the word entrepreneur was at the age of 21 in 2009 and I realized my passion for entrepreneurship in 2011. My husband and I went to a church where the pastor taught it like it was the Bible and we grabbed ahold of it and never looked back after that.
Realizing that we all have gifts and we just have to identify them and operate in them without restraints was all I needed to keep my mind focused and driven to see my gifts make room for me in the marketplace as an entrepreneur.
What inspired you to start your own business and product line?
My husband! Yes, my husband Cortney was the one who tasted my mothers pancakes in 2013 when we went home to visit her for the holidays and he told us right at the table that we should sell them and call them “Vicky Cakes”! We laughed it off and didn’t do anything with his idea/suggestion until May 2019.
I realized that I was doing of a lot of things that I was good at but I wasn’t doing what I LOVED! I love food, I love cooking, I love watching people eat and enjoy my food and I love family! All of these things were incorporated in the family tradition of my mother’s pancake recipe that has been around for 40 years.
It was at that moment I realized I needed to ask her blessing to use her recipe to create and launch a pancake and waffle mix company that would build a legacy for our family and change the breakfast industry forever!
How difficult is it to break into the breakfast food market?
I would say that if you start with a foundation and mission that goes beyond crushing the competition and instead truly being the superior product and caring about the consumer and their experience, it is not hard at all.
I have known my “why” since the beginning and I have confessed the ultimate goal for our brand from the beginning as well; therefore, all of my efforts, thoughts and actions are leading me to those results and nothing else matters on this journey.
What are some obstacles you’ve faced that you didn’t plan for when thinking of your great product?
Okay, this is going to sound strange, but we have not encountered many obstacles. Now there have been some things we didn’t know about because we are new to this but everything we have applied for, gone after, asked for, requested, etc. has been met with approvals and yes’.
There’s been countless hours of research and resources that we have uncovered but it has all been to our advantage to have a mindset of “this is working in our favor” instead of “it may not happen for us”.
Can you tell us some differences in your product and the regular on shelf brands?
We’re often asked at events what makes our pancakes and waffles so different than what is in stores already and we have the best response: It’s a homemade from scratch recipe that will have you looking for our grandma under the stove to see if she made it for you! HA!
We don’t have all of the junk in our mixes that other brands do, no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, additives etc. We also use REAL premium ingredients to make our mixes. For example, I was in utter shock after discovering in my research that less than 90 percent of major brands who offer a “blueberry” product actually uses real blueberries. They are imitation blueberries that consist of sugar bits that have been dyed blue with added fruit flavor to appear as blueberries. They have no nutritional value at all and are just there to give the appearance of the real thing.
We are the difference because we have the real deal in each of our bags of blueberries, pecans and chocolate chip pancake and waffle mixes. Quality should not be sacrificed for price because the families who support and eat our products deserve the best!
What influenced you to make your product vegan/all natural?
I didn’t want just another “add water” only mix on the market. That would take away the from scratch recipe that I grew up on and how my mother perfected it to be. So I decided early on in the product development phase that we would NOT include powdered dairy (milk/eggs) in our pancake and waffle mixes.
At the time my goal was not to intentionally make it marketable to vegans. I didn’t even know that it qualified as vegan until about a week after launching and a few people asking us when we would have a vegan mix and my husband looked at me and said, “You know our mixes are vegan friendly already right?” I was so shocked and excited at the same time!
Think about it, if a “complete” pancake mix already has powdered milk and eggs in it how much preservatives and additives have to go in it for it to sit in a warehouse for 3-6 months, then on the shelves of stores for another month and then in your pantry for 6-12 months? It’s not the best nutritional value or choice for the consumer and I would rather our consumers use their choice of ingredients to enjoy our light, fluffy and delicious pancakes and waffles then to have a dense, chalky tasting breakfast from artificial additives.
How many current flavors does your brand have so far?
Our complete product line currently consists of Original, Blueberry, Pecan, Chocolate Chip and Gluten Free – Original Pancake and Waffle Mixes.
What are some of your short term and long term expectations/goals?
Our short term goal is to be the to be the top selling pancake and waffle mix brand on Amazon. And our long term goal is to replace Aunt Jemima, as Americas best and favorite pancake and waffle mix!
What great words of wisdom and advice can you offer our readers and future entrepreneurs?
Follow your heart. Do not sell yourself short by thinking small and by limiting your success based on how you grew up and what your current situation is now.
In the course of six months your life can change drastically by making one decision today to no longer accept mediocrity. Want more? Know that you deserve more and believe that it is already yours! Go get it!
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