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The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

Top Tier Talent

Sophomore Mackenzie Thomson’s small business, Keni Cakes and More, sells sweet treats.
Display of Mackenzie Thomson’s desserts at a wedding. Photo by Mackenzie Thomson

With a touch too much of lemon extract, her “chemical” cookies weren’t exactly something she wanted to sell. But through trial and error, sophomore Mackenzie Thomson was able to start her small business, Keni Cakes and More, which sells a variety of sweet treats.

“I thought by adding a lot more lemon extract to [the cookies], it’ll make them taste 10 times better. I was so wrong. I baked them and as I took a bite, they tasted like chemicals. I thought to myself, ‘What do I do?’ I kind of lied to myself and said they weren’t that bad, but they were actually awful so I threw them away. Only one way to learn, right?” Mackenzie Thomson said. 

Mackenzie Thomson began her local, small business back in 2019 where she made all kinds of desserts for friends and family. What started off as just a hobby, the business slowly grew as she gained positive feedback when she shared the treats with her neighbors. 

 “I always thought [my baking] was something average. When I gave it to other people, they were saying stuff like ‘wow, this is really good.’ It made me feel better about the stuff that I was creating,” Mackenzie Thomson said.

Originally just selling cupcakes and slices of cakes, Mackenzie Thomson’s business has now moved onto “cookies, petit fours and other little confections.” The main focus of the business, though, is cakes, but she is “always open to trying new desserts” if anyone requests. 

Since she sells to neighbors and friends who have allergies, Mackenzie Thomson makes most of her baked goods with gluten free flour which gives her a lot of freedom with who she can sell her treats to.

“We use this gluten free flour in a lot of our stuff because one of our family friends is gluten free so we’ve tried to find ways to share desserts with her. It makes it easier just in case we want to share it with our friends. It’s also a way to bring normal desserts to people who can’t usually have them, which I think is important,” Mackenzie Thomson said. 

While she’s had success throughout the process, Mackenzie Thomson, who’s also a student in the marching band, has experienced difficulties as well. The struggle of balancing her academic and musical life along with her baking passion has proved to be a challenge.  

 “I have to make sure that I plan out an entire schedule on what I have to do and when I have to do it by, especially if it’s a petit four order. Those take a long time to make, so I have to make sure everything is planned out, so I don’t deliver anything late or that it conflicts with school,” Mackenzie Thomson said. “If I’m really busy with schoolwork, but I also have to worry about getting an order out, sometimes those conflict, and I’ve had to stay up really late just to get everything done on time.”

Especially with the Sea Hawk marketplace last year, finding time to get everything done was a  challenge for Mackenzie Thomson and her brother, senior Dylan Thomson. She and her brother worked together for the event, her brother selling cookies and pretzel bites while Mackenzie Thomson sold cakes and other treats. As her brother, Dylan Thomson was really proud of her for stepping up to the task.

“She’d usually done around the neighborhood deliveries just in our block, so making all that for the marketplace out in the open was definitely a big challenge and a big step for her,” Dylan Thomson said. “Marching band keeps her incredibly busy, but she still has time to do a lot of other things. It’s incredible how she’s managed to fit it all in her schedule.”

Despite the occasional time crunches, Mackenzie Thomson finds baking to be a mostly peaceful endeavor. She feels, despite being occasionally short on time, that the actual act of baking is “stress relieving and very enjoyable.”

“For me, it’s a good way to turn off your brain from everything else and only focus on your ingredients and how long it’s going to need to bake. You’re going into this little baking world basically, and it’s a good way to remove stress. When you share it with other people and see their happy faces, [it] takes off a little bit of that stress as well,” Mackenzie Thomson said. 

She plans to continue selling treats at least throughout high school and thoroughly enjoys the process and having this small local business that continues to be an outlet of joy. 

“Having this small, local business that caters to neighbors and small events is what keeps me happy, rather than trying to turn it into a full blown and more intense business. I want to keep it fun and casual,” Mackenzie Thomson said. “Even if I continue past high school, I think I would want to keep it small, but I don’t want to give it up either. Just seeing people happy and enjoying the stuff that I’m able to create, it makes me happy.”

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About the Contributor
Leyla Evenson
Leyla Evenson, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Leyla and this is my first year on staff. I love reading, playing music, and listening to music. I'm so excited to be a part of this amazing class this year!

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