How this 19-year-old Netflix star got into baking and is now making six figures

When Justin Ellen was first asked to join a Netflix baking show called Is It Cake? on Instagram, he first thought it was unreal until organizers told him there was an interview. He then joined the show as one of the younger and probably less experienced bakers.

The baking show features bakers who create edible replicas of everyday objects such as handbags and sewing machines. To be on the show, Ellen had to skip high school graduation, which was also the longest time he had been away from his parents.

“Because I was super young…and I realized I had to fly and stay alone in a hotel. Filming took an entire month. I’ve never been away from my family for so long “, he told CNBC Make It.

Prior to joining the show, Ellen ran her own baking business and was successful. He revealed that he made sales of $100,000 last year. “With [the] netflix [show] going out, I got a lot more inquiries…my calendar is flooded. I am very grateful to him for that,” he said.

The bakery is part of Ellen’s family. His mother and grandmother were bakers and he learned from them when he was only seven years old. He remembers cooking with them on holidays like Thanksgiving.

According to him, they made everything except cakes. At 14, he had started watching cake tutorial videos on YouTube and was inspired to start his own cake creations.

Mastering the art of baking wasn’t easy for Ellen. He didn’t have much free time on his hands. Nonetheless, he was determined to break down barriers, so he took time out for his passion. He founded Everything Just Baked in the process which is now a full time business. The teenager sold a six-inch cake for $60 when he started. Now he sells the same size for $150.

“At the time, I hadn’t realized how precious my art was. I asked my mother and my mother is like me, she is not expensive. Like, ‘I’m going to have a $100 cake.’ But today, people easily pay for that.

According to CNBC Make It, Ellen now earns up to $12,000 a month running her business full-time. According to the 19-year-old Netflix star, the company is on track to earn $200,000 by the end of this year.

Ellen is now accepting six orders in a week and they keep growing. For now, he is working alone on his home kitchen orders. However, her mother occasionally helps her.

“Honestly, most of my clients don’t choose hyper-realistic cakes, they’re more wedding cakes,” he said. The young entrepreneur now hopes to have a studio by appointment soon.