August 10, 2021
Brianna Riley is a graduate student working on obtaining her Master’s degree in Social Work all while running a small business of baking treats within her home. She became more invested in baking once she started grad school due to the fact that she noticed how it helped her mental health tremendously. She never once thought that she could turn a passion into a small business all while fulfilling another passion of furthering her education. As some may know, pursuing additional degrees can be a challenging task and journey in life, but Riley often looks to baking and creating treats as a way of coping with the various stressors of life. For her business, she mostly creates and sells cake pop treats for various events, but she is known to take additional orders of extravagant design cakes or cupcakes when she is able to.
Riley shares that she is equally passionate about both of her roles as both a student and a baker. She finds being a student and working towards a degree such as Social Work, gives her a great sense of pride knowing she is learning and developing the necessary skills and knowledge to professionally help individuals in all areas of their lives. In the same sense, she also finds joy and happiness with every opportunity to create cake pops and yummy treats as a way of being a part of someone’s special day. Similar to studying a particular subject, she also realizes that being a baker requires focus and attention to detail that is incredibly important for success. Riley has fallen in love with the whole process of meeting clients, learning about their needs for a particular event and customizing treats to fit the theme. It is her belief that being such a major part of someone’s day will forever be a memory of theirs and knowing that, continuously fuels her passion.
Riley got started on this small business journey after creating a baking blog in 2018. She used the blog as an escape to bake and learn various techniques that she has since mastered and grown into a business. She was always known as the baker in her family and taking the time to further her skill set led to a greater sense of love for this industry. She has always known that she was the type of individual that loved to serve others and make them happy. Along the way she learned that others were interested in her baked goods which eventually led into something profitable. Riley finds happiness in what she does and what she creates for others. For Riley, there’s something so rewarding about seeing the smile on others' faces whenever they receive something one has put so much love and work into. In both professional aspects, she shares that she wants to know that she is making a difference in the lives of others.
“Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to others” —Gautama Buddha
Riley notes that time management and overall mental health have been major obstacles in pursuing her passion. While having a heavy workload with school, she often finds that she is limited with time to engage in anything that isn’t school work. She found it very hard to adjust to the workload of graduate school and would only be able to bake at odd times within her schedule. Whenever her business became more demanding and time consuming, she felt that her studies were being neglected. In addition, she found that the task of obtaining her degree has been demanding and often hard on her mentally. She states, “It is ironic that I am pursuing a degree that assists individuals with their mental health among other areas of their lives but also found myself struggling.” Whenever she felt like she wasn’t in the best headspace, it was often hard to want to create baked goods or have the interest to. To overcome that obstacle, she would take a step back from the business side and bake out of love. She had to remind herself of her love for baking which further provides a reminder of how much she loves serving others through her baked goods. Everything fell into place with school and baking once she became more level headed.
When it comes to everyday motivation, Riley’s family are who keep her going. From them, she received the greatest sense of support to complete her studies and to continue to push herself as a baker. Riley shares her realizations that without her family to lean on she would probably remain in her comfort zone, leaving her skills and talents dormant. For her they allow her to be creative and provide encouragement and support.
As her journey continues, Riley hopes to one day open and successfully operate a shelter and safe place for women and children escaping violence and domestic situations. Through this business, she hopes to incorporate her love for baking by utilizing it as a medium to serve and assist them. Not only does she hope to own a storefront bakery, but possibly use the bakery as a way of further serving clients and the targeted population of individuals. Her goal is to be a Social Worker that utilizes baking to serve others and change lives!
We asked Brianna Riley what Valiance means to her,
“To me, Valiance means possessing the ability to be determined to complete goals and tasks by any means. Staying focused and dedicated while pursuing your goals is imperative, but also often difficult. We are valiant whenever we push through to complete our goals. We are valiant when we face adversity and come out on top. We are valiant when we’re able to say ‘I did it’ with pride and joy knowing the work we put into achieving our goals.”