We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Lutz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Baking has been something I’ve enjoyed since I was in high school. Cooking never really did it for me, but BAKING. Man. That was my jam. I refused to make cookies from a pre-made mix because baking from scratch was so much more fun and more delicious. My parents always told me I could sell the cookies I made (the ever popular pudding cookies), but I thought they were just being “supportive parents.” Years later, I still love baking and still make the pudding cookies for my gluten and sugar eating friends, but since I eat mostly paleo (no grains, no refined sugar, limited dairy), I’ve been baking more paleo goods than non. In early 2019, I created an Instagram account for food posts only. I started out posting about the various meal delivery services that I was trying and later moved on to things I was baking. One day, my friend Mike messaged me after I posted a picture of a chocolate muffin asking “how can I buy these from you?” I never thought that I would be able to start selling what I bake, especially the paleo stuff that I love, but I thought if he was interested, surely other people would be too. And thus, Cooking Klutz was created.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think what sets Cooking Klutz apart from other baked goods businesses is that everything I make is gluten free and dairy free (sometimes grain free too), and since I’m a cottage food producer, I bake everything myself. I’m still in the early stages of my business with most of my sales coming from the Highlands Farmers Market a few times during the summer and from friends and people I see at the climbing gyms. It hasn’t been easy to get here – there was a LOT of research that I did at the start to make sure I’m doing everything properly and have all the correct licenses and trainings. I’ve learned through this that baking is the easy part…. the business aspects and packaging the food is the tedious and hard part (especially for the farmers markets!). This is my second year going to the farmers market, so I somewhat feel like I’m getting a good system in place for the week before that balances my full time job (I’m a data scientist at Comcast), baking and packaging. Maybe next year it’ll be even better! I want the world to know two things: 1. you don’t have to be gluten free or paleo to enjoy my products! And 2. I didn’t start this business as a way to make more money on the side. I started this business because I love baking for people and wanted a way to bake for more people than just my close friends. As my fiancé says, food is how I show my love for others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting, I would 100% take her to the mountains for some hiking! Some of my favorite places to hike are Berthoud Pass and Rocky Mountain National Park. We’d definitely have to get some food at Just Be Kitchen, Quiero Arepas, Uno Más and the food trucks at Improper City (also have to go there for their whiskey/honey/lemon drink!). And while we’re at Improper City, might as well show her Movement RiNo right next door so she can try some indoor rock climbing. We’d grab coffee at Novo before heading to Pearl Street in Boulder or 16th Street mall downtown to walk around. And no trip to Denver would be complete without going to see Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are a couple people that I think deserve to have this shoutout dedicated to them: my parents, obviously, since they planted the seed of selling my own baked goods back when I was younger; my friend, Mike Seidel, for asking how he could buy the muffins that I made; all of my. friends who come to the Highlands Farmers Market when I’m there either to buy goods or help me set up/tear down; and most of all, my fiancé, Ty, who has supported me since day one, even through all of the stress and breakdowns.