The word “zhuzh” means “to make something more stylish, lively, or attractive.” Zhuzh Bakery Owner April James does exactly that with every cookie she makes for her clients. After James and her husband sold their frozen yogurt shop in 2020, they opened a cookie studio where she held local cookie decorating classes and shipping custom cookies throughout the US. In September 2021, Zhuzh Bakery had grown so much that she convinced her husband to retire from his decades-long career running a metals testing lab to work with her fulltime. In 2022, James and her husband decided to leave Oregon for sunnier pastures in Gorman, Texas, where they opened a new 2,800 sq. ft. studio.
What inspired you to get into foodservice?
“It started out as a passive obsession watching bakers decorate cookies on social media videos, and before long I’d convinced myself that I’d watched enough hours of others decorating that surely, I could figure it out too. It was my first lesson learned – don’t be fooled by a 7 second video! 😉 But it was too late – I was hooked.”
What do you love about your business?
“While we love to make custom cookies for our customers, our true passion is teaching anyone who wants to learn how to decorate cookies. We even offer monthly virtual classes for people who can’t make it to the in-person classes at our cookie studio in Texas.”
What’s the most interesting thing to happen to your business?
“We received an order by a popular video game company to make character cookies for a new video game release that they asked us to ship out to their influencers all over the world! When Lord of the Ring’s very own Merry & Pippin were given a tour of the company’s facility in Los Angeles – they feasted on Zhuzh cookies!!”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
“One year into my cookie journey, it became clear that I would not be able to continue to handle all of the orders on my own. I talked my husband into leaving his 27-year career to come make cookies with me full time. Now, I get to hang out with my best friend every day!”
Which Cambro products help make your business work?
“When we prep the icing bags for our virtual cookie class kits, our 6 qt. Cambros are a must! With their airtight lids, we know that everything will be kept in the best shape possible until we’re ready to individually bag everything up to ship out!”
Categories: Cambro Featured Business of the Week