People with food sensitivities know how challenging and frustrating it can be to find healthy, yet tasty food options. When young Karina Hammer of Algona, Iowa, discovered she had celiac disease and other food sensitivities, she thought she might have to give up her love of baking. Instead, she researched and experimented with ingredients and recipes to make gluten-free and grain-free baked goods that still allowed her to enjoy sweet treats. She shared her treats with family and friends and soon began receiving requests from others who also had dietary restrictions
and/or food sensitivities.
Karina’s love for baking quickly turned from a hobby into an entrepreneurial business opportunity. In 2018, Karina’s Kreations, a home-based business, was established by Karina Hammer, then a thirteen-year-old teen. She specializes in baking allergen-free cakes, muffins, bread, cookies, granola mix, and cobbler and fulfills custom order requests. One of her most significant masterpieces was a three-tier wedding cake consisting of paleo vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream, white chocolate glaze, and raspberry puree in the middle.
Karina’s Kreations also creates birthday boxes filled with an assortment of allergen-free baked goodies and ships them monthly throughout the United States and to Canada to member healthcare practitioners of the Health Centers of the Future organization. This was an incredible opportunity for Karina, but one that also required her to do a lot of research on food preservatives, packaging, and international shipping.
Karina has dually managed being a business owner while being a busy, home-schooled teen, along with other entrepreneurial ventures, including pet sitting and providing horse-riding lessons. She has learned the importance and benefit of developing time management and organizational skills. Karina’s family has supported her from day one of this journey, providing her start-up funding, encouragement, and hands-on support in all aspects of her business. This has been a crucial element of her business success and a point she emphasizes to anyone starting a business – make a solid plan and develop a strong support system.
Karina plans to continue providing allergen-free baked goods for family, friends, and our local community and beyond. She enjoys putting a smile on people’s faces with homemade allergen-free treats that they cannot find anywhere else. Her business venture is helping fund her ultimate career goal – to operate a horse rescue and breeding facility.
Karina shared her entrepreneurial start-up journey and advice with high school student participants of the Tietz Entrepreneurial Center’s 2021 Summer Entrepreneurial Experience program. Learn more about Karina’s Kreations on Facebook (Karina’s Kreations Allergen-free baking) and on Instagram.