If you hear something enough times, you just might start believing it.
That’s what happened to Christa Lee. Time and time again, friends raved about her homemade cinnamon rolls. They encouraged her to take her casual hobby to the next level with comments like “you could sell these!” and “I still think about those cinnamon rolls.”
On their way back from a beach trip, Christa and her husband, Tyson, talked it over. Christa had come home when their first son, Zeke, was born, and she thought she might enjoy a side gig. That was the beginning of Lovelee Rolls.
“We were not in a place that we were trying to find a business venture, so the cinnamon roll kind of just happened,” said Christa. “The longer we have bake them, the more we realize what a great product it is to sell for many reasons, but we did not think of that on the front end.”
After that road trip conversation, Christa began making pans of cinnamon rolls—four at a time—to sell at the Starkville community market and for local pickup on certain days.
One year into business, Christa and Tyson were able to purchase a double oven and triple their productivity. They added dinner rolls to the menu and created a kickstarter page in hopes of raising enough funds to build a commercial kitchen in their backyard, $35,000 to be exact. A few months and $38,106 later, that kitchen is in their immediate future.
Currently, Christa sets aside a day each week to do her baking. On community market weeks, the process is spread over multiple days, ending with Tyson waking at 1 a.m. to set out the pre-made rolls and Christa waking at 4:30 a.m. to bake them. During their busy season, the Lees are pumping out 60-80 pans of cinnamon rolls per week. According to Christa, once they are in the new kitchen, the possibilities for production and marketing are endless. She estimates that they will be able to make 24-30 pans at a time.
“I think what meant the most to me was that people believed in our vision and understood that it was way bigger than cinnamon rolls for us. It has been great to see how people have continued to be supportive and are always asking and checking in on how the kitchen is coming,” said Christa. “It affirmed for me what we are doing and the way this could grow to impact the community in Starkville.”
For Christa, the best part of her hobby-turned-business is making something from scratch, kind of like Lovelee Rolls itself. What began as the odd compliment here and there from friends has become a homemade delicacy Starkville residents and visitors alike can’t get enough of.
“I enjoy the satisfaction of producing good food that people get to enjoy,” said Christa. “I love getting to hear where people are taking their rolls and who they are sharing them with!”