Sweet Petit Desserts
Becoming empowered to follow your dreams
Taren Kinebrew of Sweet Petit shares her story to empower other to succeed.
One small dessert could change your life.
The simple sweetness could turn a bad day around, mend a broken relationship, or propel your dreams and goals closer to reality.
For Taren Kinebrew, owner of Sweet Petit Desserts, a tiny treat from her bakery symbolizes years of experience and hard work, a supportive community, empowering others and making people smile.
Taren’s path toward creating Sweet Petit Desserts was a winding one, with several experiences each playing a distinct role in her eventual endeavor. While serving in the Army National Guard for seven years, Taren earned degrees in information systems and accounting. A corporate career as a programmer and analyst with IBM followed until a downsizing at the company set her in a new direction. After two years of working for Cincinnati Bell and additional time spent as an independent contractor, Taren’s mind began to wander toward the idea of doing something more.
“The jobs that I was doing were great, and it was all working, but it wasn’t something I could see myself doing forever. I started to think about all the things I could do, and I surprised myself with how much I knew,” Taren said.
Meanwhile, Taren had fostered a love for baking desserts, which was brought to life as a child when her grandmother taught her to bake. Until 2009, around the time when she was contemplating trying something new, baking had been something she did for herself and for her family. It was a hobby, not a business.
Suddenly the pieces were coming together. Taren’s professional experiences, her passion for baking and her drive to find a more meaningful, life-long career struck a chord with her. Guided by encouragement from friends and family, Taren took a leap of faith and decided to launch her own business, Sweet Petit, which would focus on small, bite-size desserts.
“I knew I had the skillsets, so I felt like my life came full circle when all of this was happening. I had the discipline from the military, I could design websites, I had done accounting, so I could keep the books and I could make desserts,” Taren said. “I wanted to rely on those skills and allow people to enjoy small desserts without over-indulging.”
With that, Sweet Petit was born. If not for Taren’s determination and support from her connections and throughout the community, however, the popular bakery would not be where it is today.
First she was selling desserts to friends and family. Then a connection through her daughter’s school steered Taren toward Cincinnati’s wedding scene, which led to baby showers and personal parties. From there, a contract deal with Busken Bakery allowed Taren to get the Sweet Petit name out on an even bigger scale. Gradually, tablespoon by tablespoon, Sweet Petit was gaining momentum.
As Taren’s desserts grew in popularity, the space in her home kitchen seemed to shrink in comparison. With help from a mentorship from SCORE Cincinnati, Taren completed an accelerator program with Bad Girl Ventures, now Aviatra Accelerators, and ultimately won a $25,000 low interest loan to purchase space to advance her business. A year later, Sweet Petit Desserts opened at 1426 Race Street in Over-the-Rhine.
“The day we opened, we completely sold out, and I had every emotion you could possibly have,” Taren said. “I learned that when you believe in your dream, you just have to stick with it. For most people, it’s not going to happen overnight and you have to have some perseverance. You have to believe in what you’re doing and let it play itself out.”
While Sweet Petit continues to succeed, Taren has given back to the community that helped her to where she is today. Through a partnership with The Sister Accord, an organization that promotes sisterhood and empowers young women, Taren shares her story and serves as a mentor for girls throughout the Cincinnati region. Additionally, Sweet Petit offers a dessert, LOVE Bites, where a portion of the proceeds go to The Sister Accord Foundation.
“For me, I like a challenge, which is why I’ve done so many things. Life is an adventure, my glass is half full and if it doesn’t work out, I can always do something else” Taren said. “I always tell people, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourselves. Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t let it paralyze you from moving on to the next thing.’ Learning and believing that has made me a better person, and if my story helps at least one person, I feel like I’ve done my due diligence.”
“The world is bigger than Cincinnati, so to have the opportunity to experience different walks of life is to be celebrated. It’s great that we live somewhere where that is happening,” Taren said. “We need to keep telling the stories, keep growing as people and keep following our dreams.”