10-year-old Ballston Spa girl develops homemade dessert business

BALLSTON SPA – As 10-year-old Isla Davis watched production of ‘Waitress’ unfold on stage at the Proctor Theater, she was inspired by the lead character’s passion for making pies , she had a business idea.

The soundtrack to the musical now regularly fills her kitchen at home, along with the aroma of Ella’s daily desserts that she bakes for her business, Isla’s Divine Desserts.

Isla, a fifth grader at Gordon Creek Elementary School, started her dessert business in September from a renovated shed in her family’s Ballston Spa home . From cookies to cupcakes and pies, the shed is filled with homemade treats that Isla bakes from scratch every day after school.

Customers can go to the self-service kiosk at 301 Hop City Road to buy candy and pay on Venmo for the packaged item, which has an Isla’s Divine Desserts branded sticker.

“My favorite part of running my business is at the end of the day, I go to the shed and look at all the stuff I’ve sold and how much money I’ve made in a day because it makes me so proud,” the self-professed entrepreneur Say.

In many ways, Isla’s life is similar to that of many other elementary school students, spending her days in the classroom and evenings cheering practice and spending time with her two siblings. But when she opened her fledgling company’s binder, full of recipes and cost analyses, it was clear the 10-year-old had matured beyond her years.

Now that Isla has a state home processor license to legally sell certain baked goods, Isla shows how much her business has changed since she first pitched the idea to her mother a few months ago.

What started as a small table and chalkboard sign touting two flavors of “brookies” (a combination of brownie and cookie batter) has grown into an ever-changing display of decadent desserts beautifully packaged to cater to all the preferences of her customers , including gluten-free and vegetarian options.

While Isla recalls the first few days of being painfully slow in her driveway trying to attract passing traffic, she is now all too familiar with the opposite—often receiving an influx of requests to work several hours in a row in the kitchen. Hours.

But despite the workload, Ella says the job is still more of a pleasure than a job: it’s the result of pursuing a passion with a mountain of family and community support. From her father constantly renovating the shed to meet the growing needs of the business, to her mother spearheading her social media pages, no step is taken alone. Most of her kitchen equipment was even loaned $300 by her grandparents or donated by community members who support her. (And, of course, her two dogs, who generously help clean the floors.)

“The business has really grown and I’m glad I didn’t give up,” says Isla, whose lifelong dream is to open her own bakery in the heart of Ballston Spa.

Countless hours of watching kids baking championships and online tutorials have shaped Isla’s skills in the kitchen, allowing her to perfect her regular menu offerings and take custom orders. It’s not uncommon for customers to ask for items Isla’s never heard of (see: Russian tea cakes), but with a little research, she’s able to fulfill every request.

In addition to the novel recipes, the schoolboy is learning valuable lessons about how to run a business and manage finances. With a profit margin of about 50%, much of her income is recycled back into the business to pay for raw material costs, with the rest going into the savings of her 10-year-old.

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