When your child receives a diagnosis of any kind, it changes your world. You immediately go into “mom mode” to help! This is exactly what Nikki Thompson Frazier did when she discovered both of her young children have severe food allergies. The East Lansing mom of two was worried her children would not be able to enjoy the simple things such as a cupcake at a birthday party and knew store bought gluten free products were not the same as homemade.
Nikki decided to put her love of baking into action and Sweet Encounter Bakery was born. An online bakery specializing in gluten free and allergy friendly desserts. “Everyone deserves to encounter the best and at Sweet Encounter, you will receive exactly that: the best!” Nikki expressed.
Fast forward to a pandemic and Nikki’s creative ideas flow again! She wanted to provide a service that allows families to connect with their kids through the love of food. Sweet Encounter Kids Culinary Academy was founded! The monthly culinary cooking club is designed to educate and foster a love of cooking in kids. Read all about the monthly subscription below–Nikki has been kind enough to offer ELAMom’s a special discount code!
But wait, she hasn’t stopped there. This hard working mompreneur applied for and won a local startup competition-Lansing Built to Last! She will now be able to share her cooking and baking skills with the community. Sweet Encounter will have a storefront in the heart of downtown Lansing late this summer. Nikki will bake her delicious desserts on site and even offer kids cooking classes.
As the Lansing Built to Last group shared- “Here’s to making downtown Lansing stronger, more connected, and a little bit tastier.” ELAMoms couldn’t agree more!
Hi Nikki! Please introduce yourself-
I’m a mompreneur who loves all things food and family! I own Sweet Encounter Culinary Kids Academy, a subscription box cooking club for kids. I also offer hands-on cooking classes for kids. I’m married to my best friend and biggest cheerleader, Terry Frazier. We have two amazing girls, Melia and Madison. We also have guardianship of our sister Shona, who has Down Syndrome.
Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Muncie, IN. As an adult I’ve lived in M, NY, IA, TX, AL and now Lansing, MI. We relocated to Lansing in 2015 after my husband accepted a position at Michigan State.
You’re a mom! How many kids do you have and what are their ages? What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
I have two adventurous, spirited and independent daughters, Melia who is 10 and Madison who is 7. One of the best things about being a mom is watching my kids learn, grow and become the best versions of themselves.
You are BUSY! How do you juggle working and being a mom and a wife?
WOW! Some days I wish I could clone myself. Since I can’t, here are some practical ways I manage the “chaos”: 1. My google calendar is my brain and my lifeline. If it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist. My husband’s admin adds me to every events he has after 5pm and on weekends. We share important events and details with each other on our calendars. This helps to make sure everyone is in sync. 2. My kids have family contributions: dishes, sweeping, laundry, cooking, etc.. This helps lighten my load and teaches them responsibility and accountability. 3. I have a village. Every mom needs a village of family or friends who helps us take care of our babies!
We’re big on self-care for moms, as hard as it is to find the time, what’s something you do just for yourself?
Prayer, mediation, exercise, therapy, reading, and regular massages. I do my best to start my day with prayer and meditation along with exercise. This helps me to start my day recharged, centered and focused. I do weekly therapy to help me process and balance all the crazy because let’s face it…life can be crazy! I love reading and lately its been more “ear” reading (audio books). Lastly, I get regular massages thanks to our health plan flex spending. Many plans cover massages…check into it!
What are your go-to restaurants and shops in the Lansing area?
I LOVE to eat local! Soup Spoon, Taste of Thai, Meats, Maru Sushi, Tavern 109, Capital Prime….I could go on for days!
For shopping, I love Eastwood Towncenter, Grace Boutique, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and of course Target!
You’re a mompreneur! Tell us about Sweet Encounter Bakery and Cafe and what inspired you to start this?
Nearly six years ago, I opened Sweet Encounter Bakery, an online and wholesale bakery. The bakery specializes in gluten free and allergy friendly desserts because both my daughters have food allergies. I believe everyone deserves to enjoy a sweet treat on their birthday so I started the bakery with the intention of making sure my kids – nor anyone else’s – would be deprived of a cupcake on their special day.
Sweet Encounters also offers a monthly kid’s subscription box cooking club. Can you explain how that works-
SE Kids Culinary Academy is a monthly kid’s culinary cooking club infused with STEM activities designed to educate and cultivate a love for cooking in kids. Each month, a child receives a kit in the mail filled with three themed based recipes with step by step instructions, a utensil of the month, a shopping list, and fun STEM based activities. The kit also includes conversation cards that help stark conversation around the kitchen table. I tell parents: it’s the perfect meal time solution and before long, your kids will be cooking for you! Now, isn’t that worth it!
You recently won the Lansing Built to Last startup competition, congratulations! We would love to know more about the program and your business plans after winning!
LBL was birthed as a result of the pandemic and a desire to see a new business strive in downtown Lansing. There were over 55 initial applications. We submitted business plans, financial projections and more. They narrowed it down to five finalists. The last step was reviewing our pitch and out of all the applicants, I won! I launched Sweet Encounter Kids Culinary Academy in Dec. 2020. We offer two things: 1. A monthly subscription box cooking club for kids and 2. Hands-on cooking classes for kids. As the winner of Lansing Built to Last, the Eyde Company is giving me a storefront -rent free for one year! I will open hopefully by the end of summer in downtown Lansing on Washington Square. In this space, we will offer cooking classes primarily for kids and families with sprinkling of fun adult classes. We will also offer our bakery items and people can also special order desserts. Sweet Encounter will be a place where people can learn, have fun, connect, and create lasting memories.
Wow! We are so excited for you to open a store front! What did your online business have to do to pivot during the pandemic?
Our major pivot was starting SE Kids. Its pandemic proof. As long as the mail continues to run, we can ship boxes around the world to kids. Giving them a monthly culinary experience that allows them to learn and connect with their families in new and meaningful ways. As for our classes, we are teaching kids to cook every week through our private virtual classes. Simply email [email protected] to book a virtual cooking class. It’s a great activity for youth groups or for a birthday party.
Now some fun ones!
Can’t live without beauty or makeup product- Mascara and concealer
Favorite place to visit in Michigan and why- anywhere up north by a lake. Specifically, last year we found a cottage house on a small lake near Charlevoix. In fact, we are headed there again this year. It offers private access to the lake and all the water equipment you need: kayaks, boats, canoes, etc. Nothing like lake living. We even went there in January for a ski trip and it was equally as nice in the winter.
Easiest recipe for children to help with in the kitchen-
Quesadillas….they are UBER simple to make, you can dress them up (add lots of yummy ingredients) or dress them down (keep it simple with cheese), and kids love them!
Fun fact(s) about you-
I was on an episode of Food Network’s Bakers vs. Fakers. I won the first round but I didn’t win the ultimate prize. It was a great experience. And my husband proposed to me on the Today Show- it’s always a fun fact to share!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Be ready to work hard and never give up on your dreams. Low points will come. It’s not about how amazing you or your ideas are; it’s about how well you can capitalize on the highs and manage the lows.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I am looking forward to the “ride.” So many times we look forward to the tangible “destination” but I want to enjoy the ride and all the things I will encounter along the way. Of course, I can’t wait to open my doors to customers for the very first time but I’m equally excited about teaching kids how to cook and watch their confidence transform as they figure out how to make the perfect bolognese sauce or bake their first cake.
Last one! Who is your mentor in this business or in life?
My mom! It wasn’t until I became a mom that I realized just how amazing my mother truly was and the undaunting task of being a good mom! My mother showed me what it means to love unconditionally, give selflessly to others, and run a business. My mother owned a beauty salon and I grew up spending my days and nights in her salon watching her color, curl, and style hair. She worked tirelessly everyday and did her best to deliver the best hair care experience for her customers. Her salon was called Perfect Touch and she prided herself on delivering the perfect touch♥
Nikki and Sweet Encounter Kids have generously offered our followers a SPECIAL offer!
If you sign up for our subscription boxes by June 20th, they will receive July’s box for free using the code ELAMOMS.
Do you know an area mom that would be the perfect Meet a Mom feature? Email us at [email protected]