We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Lyman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
What makes me happy is having the opportunity to share something that I love doing with other people. It helps me to stay motivated to keep going and a blessing to be able to perk up someone’s day with a treat!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is food, confections, tasty sugary treats that I have always described as “like grandma used to make, only better!” I have always had a love for the kitchen. I love how food brings people together in any situation, how it can heal, cheer people up, brighten someone’s day, or even calm someone’s nerves. My personality is that I’m fairly driven and independent regardless of the situation, and this business has thrived because of it. When I first decided this was what I wanted in a career, there really was no stopping me. I was determined to move to Chicago from Casper, WY for school and I was so fortunate to have the support of my parents. I knew I could figure out how to make that happen on my own but I’m so glad I didn’t have to!
Learning all the science and how’s and why’s of baking set me up for more success than I could have ever imagined. I ended up from Chicago, back to Wyoming for a brief time, down to Colorado Springs, back to Denver, and back to the Springs. It was a lot of bouncing around while I figured my life out, but along the way I was able to keep practicing my craft, whether it was continuing to bake, or even just learning the businessy part of a business. Thankfully, my dad also taught me about business from a very early age. He and my mom have owned their own contracting company as long as I can remember. Maybe learning how to paint a house is not the same as baking croissants, but what it did instill in me is punctuality, efficiency, and respect for your position and those around you. Of course the list goes on and on, but the things he started in me all those years ago have stayed with me to today. Before I started my own business, I had to run through the gauntlet that every small business owner must, which is primarily, how the heck do I do this? And how I did it really was just one day and one recipe at a time.
To be honest, how it really started was with a resounding, “why not?!” And so after Christmas 2013 and a boatload of batches of caramels, Steffi’s Confections was born. Thanks in part to a dream that I had not previously put a name to, thanks to my God given abilities to turn sugar into snacks, thanks to my desire to serve people, thanks to always being pushed to do my very best in any circumstance, I answered an unasked question. I started out with just one flavor of caramels, and decided that of course caramel also goes on popcorn. From then, why not try out other flavors of caramels? Why can’t we use honey for caramel corn? Why don’t we all eat cinnamon rolls every day for breakfast? Who doesn’t need a gigantic gooey chocolate chip cookie at any given time? Why don’t I teach everything I know to people who are eager to work and learn and maybe someday follow behind me in my footsteps? I’ve been walking this path, so why not continue clearing a way for another generation with the same love that I do? And I say, why not?
Colorado is such an amazing place for business. My community has had my back since day one! I use as many local ingredients and vendors as I am able; I started up very early teamed with Colorado Coffee Merchants using their kitchen space (and still do to this day), I love the opportunity to have many of my items available in a number of local markets! I love to tell people that when they buy my wares from one of the local shops, they are really supporting two small businesses at once! I know where my ingredients come from, I know the people who are buying my products, and I’m thrilled beyond measure to be able to share my heart with this beautiful state.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Colorado Springs really has the best of both worlds! We have such a great city life as well as myriad outdoor activities that you wouldn’t want to miss. Highlights for me are of course Cheyenne Mountain Zoo! The Manitou penny arcade, a hike through Palmer Park; Garden of the gods is great of course, but the view from palmer can’t be beat! While I love a shwanky restaurant at the Broadmoor, what I really love is a burger and a beer from O’Furrys (definitely hot wings on a Saturday!!) A few cocktails from The Alexander is a must, and of course local beers brewed at Storybook and FH Beerworks! Colorado Coffee Merchants for their incredible “steak night at the factory” on Fridays (likely followed up by their fresh roasted coffee and French toast strata on Saturday morning). A little shopping in Old Colorado City to hit up a few favorites like Sweetwater Flower Market and Gather Food Studio for a few fresh ground spices and maybe an amazing cooking class!
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?
It may sound a little generic, but I really owe a lot to my family. My wonderful husband Marc has put up with a lot off mess, a lot of craziness, and a lot of recipe testing! At the end of it all, he has always been there to support my endeavors and help me avoid any leftovers! He has kept me sane when no one else could and kept me going to matter what I have ahead of me. My Grandma Mary taught me how to bake when I was very little, my mom kept my enthusiasm going by teaching me how to feed a crowd, and everyone has been there to listen to all my highs and lows and planning and rambling and all hours of the day and night. No one does this by themselves and I wouldn’t be able to keep going if I didn’t have their support. Major kudos as well to Eric, the owner of Colorado Coffee Merchants where I use their kitchen. I was able to use this space when no one else was and I still use it now not only for myself, but to support their business as well
Catheryn Becker Matt Reamy Angie Stout