From the Kitchen to the Studio, The Girl Can Cook’s Online Expansion Plan is a Simmering Success


Candace Conley, That Girl Can Cook
Candace certainly has fun running their cooking classes, teaching with
an energetic flair and a healthy dose of sass

Candace Conley was a teacher, a journalist and a clinical psychologist but at the age of 50 she realized what she loved most of all was teaching people how to have fun in the kitchen.

After all, the girl can cook.

In 2007 she ran a restaurant that was voted the hottest new eatery in Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, she soon decided to embrace her roots as a teacher and instead focused on opening up her very own recreational cooking school, aptly named The Girl Can Cook.

“Cooking always gave me a sense of accomplishment, but it was also fun,” she said. “If I can’t have fun with what I’m doing as a profession, I don’t want to do it.”

Candace certainly has fun running their cooking classes, teaching with an energetic flair and a healthy dose of sass. Anything to draw their customers in, many of whom “can’t boil water or locate their stove,” she joked.

“I want people to experience something fun and different. They can take a class almost anywhere, but what we do is just unique,” Candace explained. “It’s dinner and a show.”

Growing demand sparked online expansion

Their classes have become so popular that the entrepreneur decided to expand her business online, where she can satisfy the growing demand for cooking classes while reaching a new audience beyond her beloved hometown.

Candace Conley, That Girl Can Cook
Candace reaches new audiences by expanding her cooking classes online.

One thing she needed to do was ensure their unique personalities and teaching style came through online. She launched a podcast with a cheeky new logo to accompany the title, Not a Single Fork.  The goal of the podcast was to entertain and enlighten their followers with relatable interviews and cooking tips all done with their signature sass. Most recently, she launched a subscription service, allowing her customers to pay a monthly fee for an online library of her classes and tutorials.  

But as much as fun as Candace was having, she also knew she needed to take important steps to grow her business in a way that would be sustainable and financially manageable.

First, she was overwhelmed by the reservation system on her website and found it was inefficient to have to manage every guest booking and payment that came through.

“I found a solution through a reservation system that utilized PayPal. It’s a payment solution I can trust and that gives me peace of mind,” she said. “The checkout process with PayPal is seamless. It freed me up to do the things that I really needed to be doing, which was planning for classes, looking at menus, deciding on recipes -- things that would benefit my customers.”

PayPal solutions helped her manage cash flow

As she sought to expand her business and invest online, she found herself in a situation all too familiar to small businesses -- needing some flexibility with cash flow. The summer months were a slower season for her business and she wanted to use that time to fulfill her vision of having a full library of classes and recipes online. This meant she needed funding fast in order to revamp her home kitchen into a workable production studio, to hire top-rate videographers and to update her website so that it could handle a new customer flow. Once again, she found that PayPal was able to provide the help she needed to take her business to the next level.

“I saw the PayPal Working Capital1 loan option and thought, ‘That’s just what I need to get me through this tight period,’” she said.

Candace has taken a total of three PayPal Working Capital loans which have ranged from $2,000 to $13,000 each—and has used the money for everything from hiring and meeting payroll to funding renovations to buying more supplies. She said she liked the fact that the money came quickly, the fees were competitively priced and there was no credit check required.  She also appreciated that the loans could be repaid over time through automatic deductions that are a portion of each PayPal sale.2

When she learned about the PayPal Business Cashback Mastercard3 and the ability to earn rewards that included 3% cashback on PayPal purchases and 2% on all other purchases without an annual fee4, she knew it was another advantageous way to help manage her cash flow. Best of all, she could use it in-store as well as online, giving her the buying power she needed on a daily basis.

Now that she has found some peace of mind managing her business expenses, Candace said she has more time to focus on what’s fun again, namely the online plans she has for The Girl Can Cook.

She said going online means being able to dive deeper into recipes that are more complex and that take too much time for a regular class. She is also really looking forward to doing live virtual classes where they can chat with their participants and experimenting with a cooking show pilot project in the works.

“You have to be adaptable and be willing to try new things because if you don't, you won't be in business,” she said. “Whether it's online or in person, our mission doesn't change. We want to entertain you. We want cooking to be approachable and fun. And we want you to be able to do it.”

1The lender for PayPal Working Capital is WebBank. Applicants must satisfy certain requirements to be eligible. Lender approval required - terms and conditions apply.

2Repayment percentage chosen prior to loan funding and applied to each PayPal sale. Minimum payment required every 90 days. See Terms and Conditions for details.

3The PayPal Business Cashback Mastercard is issued by WebBank pursuant to a license by Mastercard International and serviced by Concerto Card Company. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

4To earn Business Cash Rewards on eligible purchases, you must have an open Business account with PayPal to which your Business Card is linked. If your Business account with PayPal is closed for any reason, you will no longer be able to earn Business Cash Rewards and will forfeit any remaining Business Cash Rewards balance.

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