FORT HOOD, Texas - Being a teenager can be tough, but Kaitlyn Riggs loves a challenge.
The 15-year-old has found a way to turn a hobby into a business while also managing the challenges that homeschooling and being part of a military brings.
“I wanted to (do) something I’m very passionate about,” she said about starting her own baking business, Katie’s Cupcakes and Pastries.
She grew up baking with her family and her interest in decorating baked items grew. For the past four months, she has been learning more and more about the art of baking. She makes cupcakes, cakes, cake pops, chocolate-covered strawberries and has garnered more than 1,000 followers on TikTok.
She is proud of the progress she has made, and will continue to make, as she continues learning.
“Honestly, my first big order was for my neighbor. I do think about that a lot,” she said. “My neighbor, she goes, ‘Hey, I want a dozen (cupcakes).’ I was freaking out … and I was so excited. That was my first big order, it was only a dozen cupcakes and I look back on that a lot because I just got done hosting a baby shower. So, I’ve come pretty far.”
She has also learned how to make homemade dog treats, inspired by the love she has for her rescued bulldogs.
“When I sell dog treats and cupcakes and stuff, 50% of the profit goes towards the rescue that I saved my dogs from,” she said.
Katie’s father, Sgt. Jose Gamez, Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cav. Division, and mom, Christina Kiolbassa-Gamez are very supportive and proud of her.
“When Katie does something it’s really because she cares,” Christina said. “She also donates cakes to foster kids in Bell County. She’s tried to make quick sales just so she could raise enough money to get enough Christmas presents for some kids. I don’t know how many times I’ve woken up early in the morning and my groceries are out of my pantry because Katie said somebody needed food. She just has a really good heart.”
She said starting her baking business has helped her mature and taught her patience.
"I’ve never had patience … and I started baking and you cannot mess up,” she shared. “If you mess up, just fix it with buttercream or sprinkles, that’s my motto.”
Growing up in a military family has given her the resilience it takes to be a business owner, and without the military community, she wouldn’t have been able to get started.
“Most of my customers come from military families,” she said. “Without them, I’d barely have business.”