In 2008, Laura Vida’s kitchen almost always had a light dusting of flour, sugar, and candy sprinkles. It’s the year the stay-at-home mom of three’s cooking classes in her Seattle home evolved into an actual business, and FrogLegs Culinary Academy was hatched.
“(It was) thrilling, scary, exciting … it’s hard to describe how I felt at that time as turning what started as a way for me to work from home and being around my kids was now becoming a full-born business — in my home,” Vida said. “Props to my husband for his patience.”
FrogLegs Culinary Academy is an engaging and hands-on cooking school and special event space for kids and adults. It offers edible education and entertainment with a wide range of cooking classes and seasonal workshops, birthday parties, summer and school break camps, as well as corporate team building, group events, and catering.
In 2016, Vida’s home-based Seattle business hopped over Lake Washington, and she opened FrogLegs in Kirkland. And this summer, it jumped back over to Seattle to open an additional location at University Village, where there are drop-in cake-and cupcake-decorating classes, as well as an expanded schedule of adult cooking classes and team-building events.
“In addition to an expanded selection of food-inspired retail goods and colorful party supplies, the Mrs. FrogLegs Treat Mercantile is a prominent new feature,” Vida said. “We are the first in the area to offer edible cookie dough — no eggs and heat-treated flour make it safe to eat.”
You can get fun flavors of cookie dough goodness at both the Seattle and Kirkland locations. And if you are looking for a sweet gift, they also sell adorable items like giant plush cupcake pillows with smiley faces and a cherry on top, and fresh-baked cookies.
When Vida finds a moment to reflect about how her stay-at-home hobby morphed into a successful business, it continues to energize her. She was raised in Michigan, where she could be found catching frogs (which inspired the name) and spent time with both sets of grandparents, where she cooked alongside them every chance she got. When she got older, friends would ask her how to cook and bake, and later she would get hired to cater events. She had the talent, but wasn’t sure how that would translate into a business.
“When I first started, it was this idea that hadn’t really been done before, so I found the open road exciting,” she said. “It was a blending of all the things I loved: food, gatherings, children, holidays, and celebrations all rolled into one. It was probably about year three that I really felt this could turn into something bigger!”
Her retail marketing, branding experience, passion, and professionalism propelled the company, and she has advice for others who have an idea they are considering growing.
“If you have an entrepreneurial spirit inside, I absolutely think you should pay attention to that. However, that being said, many startup businesses are not successful because the emotion takes over, walls are painted, and décor imagined all before the business plan, budgeting, and real practicality of it all is accounted for,” she said. “Starting a business is a risk. Calculate your risk, surround yourself with people who will give you honest opinions, do your research, know your customers and what they want, and see the demand. Take the emotion out of it, capitalize on your strengths, understand and accept your limitations. Acknowledge that you are now HR, accounting, store manager, dishwasher, customer service, and quality control, and embrace it.
“When this is all accounted for, roll up those sleeves, and start referring to yourself as #girlboss!”
FrogLegs Culinary Academy