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Behind the Frosting With Brandi Lindoe

Photo By Brandi Lindoe

Clemson student Brandi Lindoe had always considered cooking a fun hobby. Whether it be cookies or cupcakes in her apartment, it was a great way to pass the time, and it didn’t hurt that she always ended up with an excess of desserts either. However, after winning a company pitching competition, she decided to open up her own bakery in downtown Clemson thanks to the UPIC program called “Clemson Confectionaries.”

We sat down with Brandi earlier this week to find out how she found such a great opportunity, what her favorite dessert is and what to expect from her bakery in the future!


TimeOut: So, how did you decide to start a bakery?

Brandi Lindoe: I went to culinary school before coming to Clemson. I studied pastry arts in a school in New York and I even had the chance to study in Italy. Unfortunately, pastry chefs don’t make a lot of money. Anywhere. (laughs) Not to mention that there are too many bakeries where I live to try and open one there. So I decided to move down here, and started this business in a Lightsey Bridge dorm room.


TO: I’m sure that was interesting! (Laughs)

BL: That would be an understatement. (Laughs) Once I had an order for 500 cupcakes and we had the whole living room filled. We had to move all of our furniture and desks out of the way just to accommodate it all. It started as a hobby when I was younger, then I started it up again in Lightsey and eventually a demand grew for my creations. It all happened really quickly, so I decided, “Why not just run with it?”


TO: How did you get this opportunity with the UPIC program?

BL: It was all still a small hobby up until last November. I entered a competition here called Pitch Smack Down, where startup companies have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to venture capitalists and talk to investors, with the winners getting a trip to Silicon Valley. I won the competition with my idea for Clemson Confectionaries, and going on the trip opened up the opportunity to come work here and expand the business. With all the knowledge that I’ve gained from that trip, my business has tripled.


TO: That’s really impressive!

BL: Yeah! Like I said, these opportunities that kept coming to me showed that there is a demand for something like this, so I decided to use that to my advantage. I never came to Clemson with the plan to create a bakery, but I’m certainly glad that it worked out that way! I’d much rather open a bakery than be a principal like I had planned on doing before too. (Laughs)


TO: What will be your specialty item on your new menu?

BL: The one thing I’ve learned so far is cookie dough will always sell. (Laughs) Cookie dough cupcakes and cookie dough brownies will probably be my most popular seller. It’s a layer of brownie, a layer of fudge, a layer of cookie dough icing, another layer of fudge, another layer of cookie dough and a giant cookie on top. When I was creating it, my roommate was telling me, “Brandi, you need to slow down!” It was way too much to handle for her. (laughs)

I also invented something called the “Cake Shot”. Its cake lined with chocolate that you can pour your shot into. Take your shot, and then eat the cake!


TO: Where will it be located?

BL: While nothing is set in stone yet, I am planning on getting a space over on Tiger Boulevard in downtown Clemson. It’ll probably be in the plaza with GameStop, Jersey Mike’s and the AT&T store. Things should be ready to go soon, but I won’t officially open the building up until sometime in the Fall.


TO: Will there be any special services for college students?

BL: On campus you’re always seeing food being delivered to students, and one of the best things about the bakery is parents can call in to order desserts for their kids. If it’s their first birthday away from home, their mom or dad can call in and order them a birthday cake or brownie to be delivered to them. The actual bakery will also stay open on Thursdays and Fridays until 2am. It will be really nice for the crowds’ downtown will be able to access all of our sweets late at night when the parties start picking up.


TO: What challenges have you experienced so far starting your own business?

BL: As of right now it’s an independent bakery run out of an apartment and a DHEC kitchen. So it’s all very small and there is no store front. The biggest thing for me right now is the business plan. I am sending the plan out to the government and a few banks and investors over spring break and depending on when I get the money is when I’ll open shop and get everything rolling. But nitpicking this business plan, going over it, making sure I’m asking the right amount of money and that all the numbers match up has definitely been the biggest challenge. It’s all about moving from something small like an apartment to something a whole lot bigger.


TO: Will you be hiring Clemson students?

BL: Currently I have no staff, and I know how hard it was for me to find jobs here, so I will be definitely be making every effort to hire Clemson students. As far as cake decorators and bakers go I may look for someone with a little more experience, but working the store and ordering deliveries will hopefully be Clemson students. This was started by a Clemson student so I want to make it a Clemson oriented business.


TO: How would you recommend other students pursuing their business endeavors?

BL: My advice would be to take advantage of every opportunity that Clemson provides. There are so many competitions and scholarships that go unnoticed. The best thing to do is actually apply, put yourself out there, and network. The more you network the more opportunities will come your way. So take advantage of every opportunity this school provides. And look, it took me out of cooking in a Lightsey kitchen!

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