When Kristen Arnett decided to sell her grandma’s noodles and angel food cakes to raise money for a trip to Europe with her high school French class, she never imagined it would turn into a business.
Four years later, she’s learning a lot, juggling the business and a full course load at UIndy. “They complement each other well, but there are definitely pros and cons,” she says. When she came back from that trip to Europe with her Carroll High School (Flora, Ind.) classmates, Kristen discovered that people still
wanted to buy the goodies she made. Her dad convinced her to continue baking instead of looking for a traditional summer job. Her family bought a building in Burlington, Indiana, 90 minutes north of Indianapolis and created an approved kitchen. “Kristen’s Homemade Delights” was born. What started off as a side job soon became an award-winning incorporated company that now sells 32 types of pies and German chocolate cake, plus the angel food cakes and noodles that started it all.
“I thought it would be a couple-days-a-week hobby, but it quickly grew into much more,” Kristen says.
In addition to serving customers at the store, Kristen’s Homemade Delights sells noodles on consignment in five Kokomo convenience stores—and supplies the Russiaville IGA grocery store with pies. The business is “definitely a family affair,” Kristen says. Her mom manages the store during the week while Kristen hits the books at UIndy. Kristen then heads home on the weekends to make pies and run the store on Saturdays. Her brothers and grandma pitch in to make the products.
“It’s a lot of hours,” Kristin says. The family is looking for a business partner to handle more of the baking aspects of the business. While she certainly maintains a busy schedule, Kristen and her family make sure that school is a top priority.
“I debated about how far from home to go, but my parents were adamant that being a student came first,” she explains. “I chose UIndy because I liked the small class sizes and everything. I can still help with the business, but I schedule my classes first and then work around them.”
That’s using your noodle(s): Kristen turned what she thought would be a one-time effort to raise funds for a trip into a thriving business that’s putting her through school and giving her great hands-on experience in the process. Right: Kristen’s store in Burlington, Indiana.
Even so, the business is still a big influence on her studies. The sophomore even chose her marketing major based on her business experience. She’s also finding that her classes and real world experience go hand in hand, like learning about brand images in marketing class, or inventory control and product delivery in supply chain management.
“There are things I do in class that I wouldn’t have thought of if I hadn’t had the business,” she explains. “I can apply my business knowledge to my
classes and what I learn in class to the business. I get to see everything firsthand, not just read something in a textbook.”