Small Business Highlight: Buttermilk Babes Memphis
Full-time high school administrator turned full-time baker Camile Melton Brown started Buttermilk Babes in 2015 when she was encouraged by her co-workers to make baking a permanent part of her life. She was already known for red velvet cake, but it started to get around that she also made bomb carrot, chocolate, and pound cakes. Now she couldn’t keep the compliments and orders from coming. That’s when she decided to make Buttermilk Babes a part-time gig, but it wasn’t until the pandemic when she decided to put baking at the forefront. She now sells her cakes, cookies, and brownies on her website buttermilkbabesmemphis.com, at Trap Fusion in Cordova and Whitehaven, at the Cordova Pitstop Food Truck Park on Thursday evenings, and at food festivals around town.
Buttermilk Babes is a pretty cool name, and I wondered where Camile came up with it. She came up with her name while she was, of all places, laying in bed. She was thinking about if she had a baking business, what she would call it. “I wasn’t a pastry chef nor a trained baker so I knew I didn’t want the word bakery in it. I started thinking about the key ingredients I put in my items and that’s when it hit me. Buttermilk Babes.” Then she told me the reason she added Memphis at the end is because it was “the people of Memphis who gave me the confidence to make this baking thing official.” The community of Memphis is a powerful thing, don’t ever underestimate it!
Camile loves to bake all day, everyday, so I knew that she has to have a favorite baked good. “I’m most known for my red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. It is rich, moist, and cocoa-y delicious!...But, my favorite dessert to make would have to be my spice cakes; carrot cake, pumpkin spice cake, and hummingbird cake. I stop to enjoy the smell of the aromatic spices right before I mix them into…the batter.” That just made my mouth water reading it! Camile sells other cakes as well, like chocolate cake, strawberry cake, vanilla cake, and three different flavors of pound cake.
Buttermilk Babes Memphis has gorgeous signature packaging: a black box and black and white striped ribbon. It’s so striking that I had to know the story behind it. Camile knew she wanted to convey to her customers the quality of her products and compared the experience to what you get when you go to big name brands. “Think Tiffany, Dapper Dan, Telfar, or Coco Chanel. As soon as you see their logo, or in Tiffany’s case, signature blue color, you instantly know the brand and trust it’s a worthy purchase. I wanted people to view my items the same way so I came up with my signature black box and later added the signature black and white ribbon. It’s bold, sleek, and classy.” And that it is. Take a look for yourself and I know you won’t be able to resist buying something sweet.
Another sweet thing about Buttermilk Babes Memphis is what has surprised her most about her business and she said, “People's reactions after they’ve had my desserts. Beforehand, a few customers come to me with doubt in their eyes, wondering if it’s as good as they’ve heard. But once they have it, they come back and tell me how good it was, share a fond memory of someone who baked in their family or simply give me a hug.” Camile loves it and the support she has gotten from her community has been unbelievable.
Speaking of support, the last question I had for Camile was what she loves most about being a small business in Memphis. She told me, “As a small business owner, support is crucial and by far, Memphis has the most supportive people I have ever encountered in my life. If you have a good product, they will buy it, tell their friends about it, post on social media about it, and roll up on you wherever you are to buy it!” Camile went on to say that she couldn't have started Buttermilk Babes Memphis without the people of Memphis encouraging her every step of the way and she is eternally grateful. Again, if you would like to buy any of Camile’s yummy confections, you can browse her website here and keep an eye on her Instagram for any updates about where she will be in the Memphis area. And we would like to shout a big thank you to Camile for allowing us to talk about her wonderful small business!
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