When two students decide that college isn’t their thing, but know that they have always wanted to own their own business, what would be an appropriate name to call their business? Dropout Bakery is the answer. 

Lacey Evans and William Allam met at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles. Lacey, from Mobile, and William, who is from Connecticut, tried fashion and interior design, respectively, and neither liked where it was taking them, so they quit college and moved to Mobile.

Lacey graduated from St. Paul’s High School in 2018 with a perfect 4.0 GPA. As a teenager, she was into modeling but decided it wasn’t for her and thought perhaps the fashion industry might be a better fit. She moved to Los Angeles to attend school at FIDM. “I hated sewing and knew I was wasting my time in fashion.”

William came into the picture studying design at FIDM but soon decided it wasn’t for him either. The two began dating and have been together ever since. Lacey started building websites in high school and launched a “dropshipping” business selling online swimsuits and jewelry. 

“Dropshipping means you don’t carry any inventory. I knew from the start I wanted to own my own business. You know when you know,” she says. “I knew I was spinning my wheels in college, so I decided to drop out. We both have a sweet tooth, so I started baking goodies at home, and that was the beginning of our business venture together.”

The first baking effort in Los Angeles was a Lemon Meringue pie. “We were looking for a solution to our sweet cravings, and I remembered what my grandmother’s Lemon Meringue pie was supposed to taste like, so I wanted to recreate it from that memory. It turned out great, and I knew I was on to something.”

This wasn’t Lacey’s first foray into baking. “In high school, when I was bored, I would watch Rachel Ray cooking shows, and I loved baking. It was a passion I never thought would turn into a profession.” She tells me she also watched a lot of YouTube videos about cooking and began posting on her social media platforms. “I just did things that made me happy.”

After they moved from Los Angeles to Mobile, Lacey got her Cottage Food Law license and began baking out of her apartment kitchen. Her social media began to blow up and she started getting calls from friends and family for birthday cakes. Demand became overwhelming. That’s when she connected with the Downtown Mobile Alliance and the Innovation Portal.

“They suggested we set up a table with our pastries in front of the Innovation Portal and see what happens. We decided to take a shot. It was Mother’s Day weekend, May 2, 2020, during Covid, and we sold out in 30 minutes. That one weekend led us here where we’ve been for about a year.”

“Here” is the Dropout Bakery at the Innovation Portal, a successful public-private incubation program led by Executive Director, Todd Greer, on St. Louis Street in downtown Mobile. They helped Lacey and William develop a business plan to ramp up their operation. They also wanted to have a convenient place for their members to be able to grab something good and quick to eat.

Dropout Bakery & Company occupies the corner space with great visibility from St. Louis Street. They have three years remaining on their lease and have already outgrown the space. Lacey has 22.4 thousand followers on Instagram and Facebook, and the orders keep flooding in.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” says Lacey. “Devon Walsh, with WKRG, reached out to us in 2020 and did a segment from my apartment while I was making King Cakes for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters King Cake Cook-off.  Things have taken off ever since. Southern Living has done a piece on us, as well as Mobile Bay Monthly and Lagniappe.” 

Lacey handles the menu and social media. William manages the business side and does a little baking, too. “William is the croissant man. That’s his domain, and they are delicious.” She credits the Innovation Portal for helping build the systems William put in place. He also built beautiful display cases. Dropout Bakery also sells popular merchandise with its logo.

William and Lacey have been together for five years, and she says they are skilled in different areas that complement each other well. Of the baked goods, Lacey says everything they make sells out fast. On Monday through Wednesday, they prep. They are open Thursday through Sunday and close when the baked goods are gone. “It’s best to pre-order so we can set aside and ensure we have what you want available.”

Lacey says they sell 336 croissants every weekend. She bakes about 12 cakes a week. Her Macarons, a meringue-based almond cookie, are the most challenging to bake. “Everything in the process has to be just right, including the weather. Rain and moisture will ruin the result if you aren’t careful.” 

“Baking is such a precise science. There are a whole bunch of factors that have to be perfect. We use the highest quality products, like Kerrygold Irish Butter, and everything we do is created from scratch.”  They also offer a breakfast quiche of ground sausage, cheese, onion, and bell pepper.

Wedding cakes and birthday cakes are big sellers. She can make a custom birthday cake with a week's notice. Wedding cakes require three months to a year's notice. Lacey tells me she is experimenting with healthy options, like a shortbread-based Twix bar made with dates, coconut milk, salt, and vanilla paste. She shared some, and it was delicious.

Dropout Bakery also offers Croissant sandwiches such as ham and cheese with Italian flakes. Also, a Turkey with Pepper Jack cheese and lemon pepper. “Everything is homemade, and we want to expand our sandwich offerings to include deli-style sandwiches on homemade French baguettes where you can build your own with shaved ham, pepperoni, turkey, and Italian meats.”

The menu changes weekly, and it's best to order online or stop by before noon, or even earlier depending on what events are happening downtown. Plans are to expand to other cities in the future. The weekend menu is posted online and on social media.

Lacey tells me she and William love living in Mobile. “Downtown used to be tumbleweeds when I was young. Now it’s booming, especially on St. Louis Street, where many historic buildings have been renovated recently.” A self-proclaimed “beach girl,” Lacey tells me they employ four staff and will probably need to move to a larger location soon. 

“That’s sort of how the Innovation Portal works. You launch your business, grow, and leave the nest when you can fly on your own.”

Way to go Lacey and William! You have a great story. We wish you much success! 

Mar 20, 2024
Epicurean Delights

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