Reine Bayoc of SweetArt
Last week, we visited the incredible bakeshop/cafe/art gallery SweetArt owned and operated by Reine Bayoc. When you walk into SweetArt, the delicious smells of pastries and coffee hit you. There is a huge red display cabinet full of cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, pop tarts, biscuits, cookies and brownies. Some boast of being vegan and all are vegetarian. If you’re in the mood for a savory bite to eat, grab a buffalo “chicken” macaroni and cheese with a side of hearty kale salad. Are you hungry yet? Lining the walls of SweetArt are lively colorful and captivating paintings by her husband Cbabi Bayoc, who you must check out. Read on for our interview with the inspiring and hilarious Reine Bayoc.
What is SweetArt?
We are a from-scratch bakeshop with traditional, vegan, and gluten free treats. We have a ridiculous breakfast and lunch menu also that is vegan/vegetarian…and we love what we do and are so grateful!
Why did you open your business? Was there an “Aha!” moment that set SweetArt into motion?
I was at my final interview for a job I really wanted and somehow the panel asked me about my “family” life…and I mentioned that I had small children. Before I left, one interviewer asked, “how many children do you have again?” And before I could respond, another interviewer responded for me with raised eyebrows, “Three😐”. I knew it was time to follow my passion…kiddos and all. I did not get the job…thank goodness!
What is your super special skill in relationship to owning, managing and creating SweetArt?
I’m always willing to do anything. I think my staff respects and appreciates my willingness to stay late, scrub the toilet, or lend a shoulder. And I’m always thinking.
What about SweetArt are you most proud of?
I’m so proud of so much!🤣 The fact that I feel as though my staff feels appreciated. The fact that I’m constantly thinking of ways to generate more income to pay people better. The fact that I’m certain I could have closed three or four times by desire or force/circumstances and I’m. Still. Here. Praise God and my ancestors for that shit! I’m constantly humbled and amazed and lifted. And I’m proud that my daughter and other girls like her had their very first job/paycheck from a black woman-owned business.
Have you overcome any business flops? What was your struggle and how did you conquer it?
I still struggle. I flop weekly. That’s part of it. That’s life. Managing people with compassionate leadership has been an amazing development of self work…and I had no role model for that, so it took some time. Working with customers who may be suffering from entitlement or who won’t or don’t value what you are doing in and with your business is another challenge. But it has grown me!
Do you have a favorite story about your business?
Beyonce! During her Formation Tour her folks called us for hundreds of cupcakes. The back story to this day is long and funny… but what’s truly amazing to me is that I was flying back in town to see her concert and my staff handled the order with ease…same day…without my involvement, because they rock!
Have you faced adversity being a woman in the food industry?
Indeed. There is real white-male privilege in the food industry, and I’m not white nor male. I used to use force/fire to be heard and respected; I don’t do that shit any more. You don’t recognize or hear me? Oh. #movingon I have more enlightened people to do business with and better places to be.
Is there anything else about being a badass business babe that you’d like to share?
Trust your gut. Be sure to get quiet every day for at least 20 minutes so you can hear your guidance. No one knows your shit better than you, so stop polling every fuckin’ body. Just trust your gut.
Want to check out SweetArt??
Try some of Reine Bayoc’s incredible eats (get the biscuit) in Shaw at 2203 S. 39th Street. They are open every day except Sundays and Mondays.