Baking up a storm

Vandegrift Alumna runs baking business


Submitted by Hailey Shuster

Hailey Shuster shows off some of her homemade baked goods.

Arabella Villarroel, Staff Reporter

From her childhood kitchen to selling cakes all over Austin, VHS alumna Hailey Shuster has been baking all her life. 

She developed a passion for making cakes at 5 years old by watching her mom bake. Now, she is dreaming of taking her business to the next level, and is aiming to open a bakery in the future.

“I have always enjoyed baking, I’ve been in a kitchen since I was 5,” Shuster said. “One day I signed up for a decorating class, I was 14, and I fell in love with it. And ever since then I’ve been baking, I honestly love it so much.” 

Shuster’s lifelong hobby soon turned into a lucrative passion. She began to sell cakes her freshman year at Vandegrift right up until her 2014 graduation.

“I started selling cakes for Vandegrift because I knew it was where I could make a lot of business,” Shuster said. “And that’s what I did, I baked cakes for all of the sports, band or birthdays.” 

Shuster’s hobby soon turned into a real business opportunity. Now, in addition to her day job, she makes cakes weekly, and says that her business has had continuous growth for about 10 years.

“I’ve always been really entrepreneurial,” Shuster said. “I saw this business opportunity, and made it real, and it’s been a great business.”

She gets many repeat customers from the Austin area, for example, from her middle school, high school and college. Many new clients also find her through her Instagram, @cakesbyhayshu.

“What makes it tick is connections,” Shuster said. “Many of the people that I sell to are the people that I’ve known forever, like my middle school soccer coach. But it’s so cool to see people from six years ago call me and order cakes.”

For now, she plans to continue working in marketing and selling software for Bazaarvoice, a company that sells software to mid market size companies. Meanwhile, she will continue to work on developing her baking business.

I want to have a bakery, [and] be out of the corporate world, by the time I’m 30,” Shuster said. “What I think is next for me is hopefully buying a home and then transitioning into more of the baking dream career.”

Since starting her business at just 15 years, she has been able to grow her shop 50 times larger than when it first began, because of her hardwork and endless motivation to stick with what she has always wanted to do. When Shuster opens her own bakery in the future, she hopes to expand her business to not just selling cakes, but all different types of baked goods.

I feel like all my life choices have led me to this sort of dream point in my life that I’m in,” Shuster said. “I can one day have a bakery of my own. My journey has been exciting, full of hard work, and honestly a dream.”