Tarryn Badenhorst turns passion for baking into a thriving business

Tarryn Badenhorst. Picture: Supplied

Tarryn Badenhorst. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 6, 2024


Greytown resident Tarryn Badenhorst is on a mission to expand her bakery business. Badenhorst bakes exquisite cookies that are perfect for every occasion under her company, The Cookie Tree.

Apart from being a wife and mom, she is an artist whose artistic journey has spanned a variety of mediums. She also has qualifications in physiotherapy and mentorship, which adds an interesting dimension to her skill set.

Badenhorst did not initially set out to start a business. After working as a physiotherapist in state hospitals for many years, she stepped away from her full-time job after her children were born.

Tarryn Badenhorst. Picture: Supplied

“I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have had to be a stay-at-home mom. I soon became a work-from-home mom when I started my part-time private physiotherapy practice, but being part-time allowed me the opportunity to rediscover my creative side and my love for making beautiful things.

“Among the drawing and oil painting classes, I had the opportunity to attend a cookie decorating workshop with The Biscuit Studio in 2021. And with this workshop, I discovered a whole new creative outlet.”

“As time went on, this hobby became so much more. Initially, I made cookies for fun, to give as gifts and to add a special touch to our birthday functions, but I started getting requests and I realised I needed to pay attention and be more intentional with this gift.

“And so ‘The Cookie Tree’ was born. At the moment, I am working as a cookie artist full time and it keeps me very busy. I feel incredibly privileged that something that is a source of joy and fulfilment for me has become a business and source of income,” said Badenhorst.

“There are many extremely talented cookie artists out there and some are a huge inspiration to me. Every artist has their flavour and style and I have a unique way of creating beautiful things.

“The best part of this for me is that I can do it on my own time. I also love being able to be creative. Decorating cookies is extremely therapeutic,” she added.

Despite having fun, there have been ups and downs. Badenhorst said handcrafted goods like custom cookies are a luxury and times are tough for everyone.

“With so many people having a hard time financially, it can be tough for those of us in business like this. People often do not realise the amount of work that goes into handcrafted cookies and so are sometimes surprised by the cost.

“It must be noted that some cookies take hours to create. And it is certainly an art form, which is why it can be pricey.

Some of the cookies from The Cookie Tree. Picture: Supplied

“Load shedding has also been an incredible challenge, especially when there are fast-approaching deadlines. I have had to pull all-nighters at times to make up for this.

“Hopefully, as my business grows, I will be able to make changes to my power situation - or even better, maybe at some point load shedding will be a thing of the past,” said Badenhorst.

The baker said her cookies are made with only the best ingredients and real butter, and the sugar cookie base has a nice crack and is not overly sweet which is to accommodate for the sweetness of the icing.

“I have had excellent feedback on the taste and texture of my cookies so I know they are delicious - my children agree! They constantly ask for cookies - the novelty has not yet worn off.

“I can accommodate certain dietary requirements - the cookies are halaal and can be made egg-free if needed. I am hoping to add vegan, gluten-free and diabetic-friendly options to my range.”

“There have been times that I look at my work and think ‘Wow, did I make this?’. I am also proud of myself for taking a risk choosing to sow into this business and putting my physiotherapy practice on hold.

“It was a hard decision but it has felt right at every point. I hope this can grow more and more so that I can continue to reap the rewards of my efforts,” added Badenhorst.

Ranging from R250 to R550 per dozen, her cookies can be ordered through the The Cookie Tree by Tarryn Instagram page and orders can be couriered nationwide.