Meet Sierra Bowman, a baker, entrepreneur and designer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her allergen-friendly, vegan bakery, Sweet Earth Confections was created as a result of the pandemic, and through a passion for baking that started when she was a child. Get to know Sierra below.
What did you do before starting Sweet Earth Confections?
“I have two businesses — I run a small mobile art business, doing paint parties and kids’ events. When the pandemic hit, I couldn’t really do that anymore, because it’s so event-based. I tried pivoting it to virtual, and that didn’t really work out. I started baking with my kids to keep them busy while they were at home,” Sierra said.
“Around this time last year, my husband was deployed. My best friend was staying with me at the same time, and she has Celiac’s disease. She couldn’t eat the things we’d usually make, so we started making other food that catered to her dietary needs. We’d make macarons, mini cheesecakes with different types of flours, things like that. I tried to make things that she would enjoy that everyone else would enjoy too.”
“Eventually, I made my friend some cupcakes. She loved them so much that she posted about them in a mommy Facebook group, and it really blew up from there. They were chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles,” Sierra said. “Orders started coming in, and I was like ‘this is kind of fun, I want to keep doing this."
What is the Sweet Earth Confections origin story?
“I started selling more officially in August 2020. In June, I started tinkering with the idea of selling to people. I wasn’t sure about selling my food yet, but I kept playing around with it. In August, I took my first sale outside of my friend group,” Sierra said.
“I started baking with my grandma as a kid. Once I started baking again, I really had this moment of ‘Oh wow, I can do all these things and make crazy cakes.’ That was the spark, and it was made better by the fact that this was something I could do with my kids.”
“I built an Instagram for my business, a website, and it took off from there. I wanted to turn it into a business because having my art business was great, and it was starting to pick up a little bit as well.”
How would you describe your products in one sentence?
“One hundred percent plant-based vegan, one hundred percent delicious.”
Sierra’s customers don’t have to request that their orders cater to special dietary needs — everything she makes is plant-based by default.
She began her journey into vegan baking when a friend started a challenge to get people to think about consuming less meat. “It was a challenge to earn money, and I was competitive. I did this 30-day challenge and it was actually really easy to transition to meatless,” Sierra said. “I was like all right, let’s do this. It made me realize that I had an egg allergy to a degree, and that I was lactose intolerant. I thought, ‘If I can’t have it, why put it in my baking?’”
“I decided if I was going to do something allergy-friendly, I might as well just go for the gusto and do it all the way, vegan too. Then my customers wouldn’t have to worry about cross contamination.”
What's your favorite way to enjoy your products?
“I need to stop enjoying them! I like doing things with my kids, eating things with my kids. My daughter and I make cakies, and she loves coming up with the ideas of seasonal cakies,” Sierra said.
“Last year, she came up with an idea for a Halloween-themed cakie, a black cocoa cookie with green velvet cake as a witch’s hat. I really enjoy doing things with my kids. My son’s favorite part is eating all of my sprinkles — I had to create his own sprinkle mix for him so he wouldn’t eat all of them.”
Who is another food entrepreneur that you follow, and what do you love about their business?
“There’s another lady here in Las Vegas, her business is called Frolic & Folly. It’s another plant-based bakery. She makes the most insanely gorgeous cakes I’ve ever seen,” Sierra said.
“Sometimes you get nervous when someone is in the same market as you, going after the same audience. She’s been baking for 20 plus years, and I thought I couldn't compete. She’s so welcoming, and she gives me so much advice. She’s kind of like my mentor. It makes me really happy to see she makes vegan cakes.”
What's the best thing about this job?
“Creative freedom, and freedom as a whole. Before baking, I had my art business and also worked for a tech company. It was so mundane. I went in and did the same thing every day. I did UX design, and I felt like I couldn’t do anything outside of the box.”
“Having people that trust my vision when they order a cake, people who say ‘I don’t care what you make, just make it chocolate’ — that feeds my creativity and makes me so happy. Now I have the freedom to say yes or no.”
What's advice would you share with food entrepreneurs who are getting started?
“Research the area that you’re going into, that was the biggest thing for me. You need to really get hands on. If you want to be a baker, try out different recipes. Use your friends as taste testers, they’ll love trying everything,” Sierra said.
“Don’t be afraid to jump in and do it. Have your bearings first, get yourself an understanding of the rules and regulations, and then give it your all. Give it 110 percent and go for it — it’s make or break. That’s how you set yourself up for success.”