This article first appeared on TechAZ. Visit www.techaz.org for the latest news in Arizona entrepreneurship and technology.
What do cookies, cupcakes, and financial independence have in common? You can find them all with a single smartphone application: Tappetite.
On the surface, Tappetite is an iPhone app that helps you satisfy your sweet tooth with, well, a tap. It serves as an online marketplace where home bakers can sell their goods under a state license. Customers begin their search by location, then scroll through nearby vendors until they find the perfect confection. They place their order, pay through the app, then arrange a delivery or pickup. And whether the customer has a late-night chocolate craving or needs a specialty cake for an upcoming birthday, they’re sure to find exactly what they need from a safe, local baker.
But Tappetite is about more than just fresh baked goods. It’s also a way of helping women—namely single moms, immigrant women, and victims of domestic abuse and sex trafficking—build financial independence.
Cooking up an idea
Kay Diggs, Tappetite’s founder and CEO, first came up with the idea for the app three years ago. A single mother of two, Kay chose to leave her busy medical career to take care of her children. She needed a way to pay the bills, and she loved to bake, but buying or renting a bakery was too pricey and time-consuming. When she found out about Arizona’s cottage foods law (which allows you to sell certain homemade goods with a state license), she decided to bake and sell pastries out of her kitchen.
Finding customers, however, was tough. Kay only had Facebook pages and SwipSwap (a neighborhood buying and selling app) to work with, and finding a single customer often took more work than it was worth. But instead of giving up, she connected with other women who had the same goal: to stay or become financially independent by selling home-baked sweets.
Kay decided that they needed a “SwipSwap for baked goods.” The app would allow bakers to create listings for different sweets, like sugar cookies or birthday cakes. Like any other local buying and selling app, each listing would have a price, and buyers could arrange to pick up their favorite items or have them delivered. From this idea, Tappetite was born.
From the beginning, it was clear that Tappetite was an app the community needed. The first iteration of Tappetite counted 3,000 downloads and 420 vendors in the first three weeks. (The new version of Tappetite, which will feature in-app payments and a smoother user experience, launches this March.) Women across Arizona and in Kay’s home country, Jordan, were finally able to begin building financial independence out of something they already loved to do.
How cookies and cake can save women from financial instability
In fact, many of Tappetite’s vendors—and those anxiously awaiting the release of the new app—not only enjoy the app, but need it. Tappetite has become a brilliant resource for single mothers, immigrants, and victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking, who often struggle with achieving financial stability. The app allows these women to essentially work from home when they’re unable to find jobs or leave the house. Through Tappetite, they’re afforded the flexibility they need to get back on their feet.
Many of Tappetite’s vendors find the app on their own. But Kay also teams up with Arizona charities who provide assistance to immigrant women and victims of abuse. She currently works with the All Walks Project, which works to fight human trafficking, as well as the International Rescue Committee, which helps immigrants resettle and find jobs. Kay has even partnered with Happy Tamales, a Phoenix nonprofit that financially empowers victims of domestic violence by helping them sell homemade tamales. Through these organizations and her own marketing efforts, Kay has built Tappetite into an app that helps women around the world.
“Cake is universal, and women’s struggle is universal,” Kay says. “Baking is also about social impact.”
How to sell on Tappetite
The newest version of Tappetite will launch mid-March on the App Store. By then, selling through the app will be a piece of cake. First, potential vendors will send an email requesting cottage foods license information. Vendors will simply acquire the license and review the checklist of accepted foods, then start listing their sweets on the app. They’ll be able to choose whether they deliver or only allow pick-ups. Vendors will even be able to take custom orders for special occasions, like birthdays and holidays.
As Kay perfects the iOS version of her app and prepares to market it to more women worldwide, she’s beginning to seek investors for Tappetite. Those interested in investing or developing the app for Android can contact Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org.