28 April, 2015
Like many people, Bree Britt once dreamed of starting her own business. But unlike many people, the 16-year-old American did not wait until she grew up to become an entrepreneur. With a sense of purpose, a plan of action and the help of her mother, she opened Bree's Sweet Treats in Accokeek, Maryland.
For Bree Britt, nothing is more enjoyable, satisfying and calming than preparing food in the kitchen.
"I can be in the worst of moods and once I get started baking, just something turns on where I'm just in my whole other world and I'm just calm."
Being a baker is like being an artist -- the food has to be cooked just right. She says baking enables her to be innovative and creative.
"I like to compare myself to an artist or painter for his canvas. I'm a baker, so of course my cupcakes, cookies and all my sweet desserts are my canvas."
Bree Britt started cooking with her great-grandmother when she was five-years old.
"I can remember numerous of times when I went to my grandmother's house and one of our favorite activities was baking together. She would show me how to do it to the point where when I turned six, I was doing most of it on my own with the exception of putting it in the oven and taking it out."
A short time later, Bree perfected her great-grandmother's step-by-step directions. She then started to create her own recipes. When she was 12, Bree told her mother she wanted to open a bakery.
"She told me to really think about the sacrifices and the things I would have to go through, that I wasn't going to be just a normal teenager or a normal kid anymore. So she told me to really think about it."
Charmaine Britt is Bree's mother. She told Bree to sell her baked goods online first to see if her daughter was serious.
"I thought it was going to fly by night, something that she was going to get tired of eventually once she saw how much work it would be. So my deal was we would start on-line you can bake and I'll deliver on weekends."
The baked goods made enough money through Internet sales that Charmaine Britt became her daughter's business partner. They signed a rental agreement for office space and opened Bree's Sweet Treats. Charmaine is responsible for the store during the day until Bree gets out of school.
Leo Harrington owns a nearby barbershop. He comes to the store almost every day. He likes the choice of baked goods.
"The flavor, she has all great assortments."
Leo Harrington also says he respects what Bree has done.
"I watch her diligence; school, then here, baking all the evening and getting ready for the next day."
Going to school is not easy when operating a business. However, Bree says doing both taught her how to make good decisions about how she spends her time.
"It has also taught me about hard work and responsibility. It has also taught me to be more aware of people, and when they come into the store, (to be) more friendly as I can say, It's taught me a lot."
Whether it is vanilla or chocolate, key lime or another fruit flavors, there is a secret behind Bree's recipes.
"Her cupcakes are made, are flavored with fresh fruits or more of the extracts, more so than the sugar."
Sugar or no sugar, Bree's treats are sweet enough to keep them coming back for more.
I'm Marsha James.
This report was based on a story from VOA reporter Faiza Elmasry. Marsha James wrote it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
entrepreneur – n. a person who starts a business
kitchen – n. a place where food is prepared and sometimes cooked
baker – n. someone who cooks food over dry heat in an oven;
bake – v. to cook food in dry heat
mood – n. the way someone feels
sacrifice – n. giving up something in order to get or do something else
assortment – n. a group or collection of different things
Do you know a teenager who has started a business? What sacrifices did they make to become a business owner? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the comments section.