Sweet Swirls is a new Canberra business with a twist: it’s run by 14-year-old Samia Sbai, who loves to make creative (and delicious!) cinnamon buns. Samia sells her Sweet Swirls online through her Instagram page and at local markets.
Samia’s Mum Christine says the idea was born from a family holiday.
“We went on a family trip to Canada and had these amazing cinnamon buns. And when we came home, Samia said she wanted to start her own business,” Christine told Region.
“I sort of thought, ‘Oh, right! Okay! Where do we go from here?”
Christine owns a boutique store in Gungahlin and also regularly runs market stalls. She said Samia basically grew up attending markets with her mum so it wasn’t surprising that she was interested in starting her own stall.
First, she had to nail down the recipe.
Samia worked hard to perfect the base recipe for her cinnamon buns and then started developing her own unique flavour combinations. In addition to original buns, she also makes Nutella, caramel pecan, and cookies & cream flavours.
When she had perfected the recipe, it was time to take it to the people!
Her first time selling at Haig Park Markets was a sell-out! Christine said all the stallholders were super supportive and remarked she had done exceptionally well considering it was a slower-than-average day.
Samia and her younger sister are home-schooled, so Christine said this project was a great way for her to work on a number of different skills. Samia developed her recipe and calculated the cost of ingredients and how much she needed to charge per bun to make a profit. She’s worked on branding, marketing, sales and retail skills, not to mention her cooking – and cleaning! – abilities.
Unsurprisingly, for a 14-year-old with the maturity to start her own business, she is very sensibly saving up her sweet profits.
We ordered a mixed box delivery of Sweet Swirls to the Region office and they were a big hit. The dough is pillowy soft and moist with a generous filling of cinnamon. The toppings are all delicious: I especially enjoyed the crunchy pecans with sticky caramel.
My colleagues asked which bakery I’d bought them from and were shocked when I revealed a teenager had baked them!
Christine says she’s unsure where Samia will choose to take the business in the future: maybe she’ll grow Sweet Swirls into a bigger business, she might decide to train as a pastry chef, or she might do something different! Whatever she chooses, Christine says she’s proud of what her daughter has accomplished and hopes that other kids might also follow their passions to start small businesses of their own.
“I think she’s pretty amazing to have a goal and work to achieve it at her age.”
Find out where you can buy Sweet Swirls or place an order via the Instagram page.