As a self-proclaimed “failed real estate agent,” at age 25 Kat Gordon found herself wading in the (later recognized) privileged pool of dread as she tried to figure out what her post-college plans would be.
“Baking was a thing I was already doing, but never really took seriously,” Gordon said.
She was a year behind from the rest of her friends after being hit by a drunk driver in college and constantly falling into the trap of comparison. She chose to pursue real estate by default in order to avoid not having a path. Through this time in her life, her depression and anxiety grew. She was craving, “control and purpose”, Gordon said.
“I found myself arguing with God about figuring out what my purpose was going to be, meanwhile I was already baking for friends and starting to get paid for it. He was already giving me the tools and passion for something right in front of my face”.
Gordon expressed that the fear of failure that was so daunting. “Taking that leap of faith into the uncertainty of success and into God’s hands was really hard to get over,” but because of conquering that fear, Muddy’s Bakeshop was born.
“Knowing that this might not work out, but committing to myself and my abilities, but more so, trusting in God and in His ability is what got me through that fear.”
Muddy’s mission was then developed through her very own. Their mission states, “To make Memphis a happier place by creating outstanding experiences and delicious food, being kind to everyone we meet, and doing the right thing.”
“Looking back now, I recognize how personal and business missions should intertwine. For me, it was a faith-centered decision to start Muddy’s. I believe that every person is called to a “priesthood”, to a ministry (my personal ministry being hospitality) and Muddy’s business mission being developed through that”, Gordon said.
Something that makes Muddy’s Bakeshop truly incredible is that Muddy’s was created in the midst of the recession.
“Sharing happiness during that time was pivotal for the success of Muddy’s, even though it could have completely gone the opposite way. The Memphis community truly showed up and are the sole reason we are still here today,” Gordon said.
Gordon credits her Muddy’s platform for creating unique opportunities in the Memphis community for her to give back further. She has had the pleasure of speaking at her alma mater, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, and many other opportunities to speak to other entrepreneurs.
“I was asked to speak to Rising Tide Society to talk about growth and scale. Standing up to talk with others about the realness of the uncertainty in starting a small business and the work that goes into maintaining growth was an honor. I still get so nervous before standing up to speak in front of that many people, though,” Gordon said.
The Rising Tide Society is a group of creative entrepreneurs that relish in the spirit of community over competition, something that Gordon believes in wholeheartedly.
She enjoys giving back to her employees too by creating a curriculum for Muddy’s workshops throughout the year. For example, “Fearless Feedback” is about communication in the workplace. Gordon has been intentional with her creation of the Muddy’s community and atmosphere. Believing in her call to hospitality, the Muddy’s atmosphere is one that anyone can walk in the door and feel welcomed with warm smiles and lovin’ from the oven.
When asked how she maintains her energy and mental stability through her crazy badass business woman lifestyle, Gordon answered with a laugh, “I am a hardcore Enneagram 1 which means I feel like the world is resting on my shoulders at all times. I have to remind myself to practice self-care constantly. Practicing balancing work and self is hard and there are going to be seasons when I am better at one than the other. And I have to have grace with myself in those seasons”. Gordon believes that life is not a sprint, “because sprinting only works if you have a recovery period. So, I definitely try to have a marathon mindset”.
Gordon stands for authenticity and hard work. She is learning the beauty of vulnerability in running a small business and surely isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work! “A good Muddy’s product shouldn’t just taste like sugar. It should have substance and flavor. It should have some depth,” Gordon said.
Having that said, she is passionate about sharing her story and the realness of starting a small business.
“Memphis is sort of a city of second chances,” says Gordon, “I am constantly choosing to not live in hopelessness and constantly relearning how to give myself grace. I am trying to share that with the Memphis community.”