Taya, Co-Founder - CEO - President

 

First, foremost, and most importantly, I am a mother. I have two amazing little boys, Lincoln and Sawyer, who are the light in my world. Every single day I wake up and go to bed thankful for those smiling, adorable little faces I have been blessed with, and cannot wait to see what tomorrow holds for them.

I am a native to the Northwest. Born in Vancouver, Washington, but transplanted to several towns and cities in Oregon throughout my childhood by my mother. Twelve years, eight towns, three elementary schools, four middle school, a pet lamb, and a few years living in a log cabin (on 80 acres with no electricity or running water) later, we finally landed in Sandy, Oregon where my family and I stayed until I graduated from high school.

From high school I worked full-time to put myself through college. I decided on the cost effective route: community college then off to a four-year school to finish up my bachelors degree. It didn’t quite end up the way I planned! Just prior to graduating from Mt. Hood Community College I accepted an entry-level job at a NYSE firm, which I was thrilled about. Days before my first term at Portland State University started, I accepted a promotion that required me to obtain my securities licenses, which took about 6 months of solid studying. So, I put off finishing school. My career took off from there and I still haven’t had the time to go back.

I spent the last ten years in the securities industry. First as a sales assistant, then onto fixed income trading, and ended up an analyst and consultant in the retirement plan industry, consulting to employer sponsored pension, profit sharing, and 401(k) plans. After too many years of putting in 12 to 16 hour days, and a few bad bosses, I became burned out on the finance industry and decided a change was in order.

At about this same point in time, I had my son. Becoming a mother changed me in ways I never thought possible. My priorities and views on life shifted drastically. It became clear it was time that I created something for myself. That something was a business, or two. The year I had my son I started three businesses (event planning, construction, and Scratch & Grain). Only one survived, this one, which has taken up more time, energy, thought, and perseverance than I ever would have imagined.

Having a business partner has made a big difference in making or breaking the start up of the businesses. I thank Leah, the other half of Scratch & Grain, for that. Having someone to be accountable to, to share excitement and disappointment with, and a sounding board with someone that has a stake in the game has been invaluable, and keeps the ball rolling forward. In hindsight, this, of all the businesses, was the perfect fit for me.

As a little girl, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I gave the common answers most kids give: lawyer, doctor, President of the United States, stockbroker (okay, maybe that one is not normal). But really what I envisioned was being the boss and running a company.

Unwittingly, I have spent my entire life going out of my way to obtain jobs and experiences that would teach me how to run my own business. I cannot recall a single instance where I actively pursued a job or position that was the same as what I had previously done. I was constantly on the lookout for responsibilities that were out of my skill set, but I could use  if I ever have my own company. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I made sense of this, and realized I had to start a company of my own someday sooner than later.

In middle school and high school, I loved to bake. I baked for my family all the time. But I never thought of it as a career or something that I was good at, nonetheless had a real interest in. On the contrary, my favorite classes in school were math and anything science related. In ninth grade I had to take a personal finance class. The teacher gave us an assignment that lasted the entire term: build and track a stock portfolio. We had to track our stocks daily and calculate their performance over the term. I couldn’t get enough of it! That class was the beginning of my pursuit in finance and business, and is when I knew that “business” is where I wanted to be.

Prior to starting this business, I hadn’t baked in years. Probably since high school in fact! I preferred to pick up a book and read to spending hours in the kitchen baking. That changed a little over the last 5 years or so though. I have developed a love for cooking.

Leah’s timing on approaching me with the concept of creating baking kits was impeccable. No more than a week before, for the first time ever, a baking cookbook caught my eye and I decided it was time to start baking again.

From where I stand right now, starting, building, and managing Scratch & Grain seems to be exactly where I was destined to be. It blends the skills I have gained over my lifetime with my natural abilities and interests.

Starting this business has probably been one of the hardest, most challenging, scary, and fun things I have done. It is far more work than I had ever imagined. I am the most uncomfortable and overwhelmed than I have ever been, as I am doing things daily that I have never done, or thought I would be doing. At the same time, it is one of the most exciting and gratifying times in my life. Not much compares to hearing “these cookies are amazing!” or “I have made every one of your kits. I love them all. It makes baking so much easier and fun!” I even get a kick out of people raving about the packaging that I spend months developing. It makes all the hard work seem worth it!

I am happy to be here, and hope we can create a company and products that make a positive difference in the lives of people and families across the world, one home at a time!