arranging baked goods on a counter

I'm Shelley Gupta

As an immigrant student, I learned about different cultures through friends, travel, and food, but not from the classroom. 

According to the US Department of Education, students of color makeup 56% of public schools, yet less than a quarter of curriculum provides cultural relevance. 70% of curriculum decisions happen at the state level, impacting teachers’ ability to provide ethnic and cultural studies.

Cultural education shapes future generations by fostering a more inclusive society. Being culturally aware isn't a “nice to have”, it's necessary for growing up. It's not enough to rely on school-- parents have to create opportunities at home too.

So, I created BāKIT Box, a family-focused subscription box with globally inspired baking projects. Each box includes pre-measured ingredients, color-coded recipe cards, and culturally related STEM activities.

Learn more about my story below!

From Delicious Distraction to Cultural Awakening

I’ve been a business consultant, a recording artist, and a financial advisor. As diverse as my experiences have been, they’ve had one thing in common: I’m always focused on creating community. So when 2020 happened, I needed somewhere to put that energy and I found the answer in the kitchen. I flexed my creativity with a headfirst dive into baking. 

I spent hours wading through the millions of online recipes, digging around for tips and tricks, and scrolling through the authors’ life stories in the process. Back then, I had plenty of time to explore. Baking  was perfectly time-consuming and the payoff was tasty. As my confidence increased, I experimented with more and more unique recipes. 

From simple cookies and cupcakes, I expanded my culinary horizons across cultures to Persian love cakes and sweet empanadas. While baking with a friend, we were delighted to discover that despite our different backgrounds, our families actually shared some of the same sweet traditions – only the names were different.

A Recipe for Connection

As I delighted in my new hobby, I wondered why more people hadn’t discovered the same joy of frosting cupcakes and kneading dough that I had. I thought of my friends with kids; they were always looking for worthwhile activities for the whole family, so why not baking? 

Well, for a busy family, a baking project is a logistical nightmare. Following a single recipe requires a trip to the store for inevitably-oversized packages of ingredients. You end up bringing home 10x the amount of chocolate chips you’ll ever need, and heaven forbid the recipe calls for something even more obscure and you’re left with a lifetime supply of pantry-cluttering spices and extracts! Not to mention the baking aisle, with its fudge frosting and confetti cake, has a serious diversity problem. I wanted to prove that kids of all ages could explore new cultures and build skills while having fun with their families in the kitchen. They just needed the right tools. And BāKIT Box was born.

The First Batch

I took my idea to the Hatchery in Chicago to learn the ropes of starting a food business. Despite the great support, the first days of BāKIT Box were still deliciously messy. Orders rolled in before ingredients were procured. I measured and scooped portioned ingredients into Ziploc bags and assembled the kits by hand. Boxes were delivered - complete with perishable items like butter and eggs - to front porches all around Chicagoland. I prayed that the ice packs held up as the temperature rose. I even fielded a phone call from a confused customer who thought she ordered a cake and was dismayed to find a box of flour and sugar on her stoop.

Families loved making the Persian Love Cake as much as I did, but they were curious, too. What makes it a love cake? Does it include a magical spell? What’s the history, really? So in 2022, I worked with Techstars to refine BāKIT Box’s target market from “anyone who wants to bake” to “busy families with kids,” and doubled down on the educational aspect, knowing that when the family was hungry for something new, any new toy, kit, or experience had to deliver on both education and entertainment value - while taking up enough time to be worth it.

step-by-step baking for kids

The Solution to the Saturday Morning Problem

On any given Saturday morning, families everywhere find themselves stumped. They've spent all week finding activities to do with their kids. It has to be something that will help them learn, will keep their attention, AND that brings parents and kids together. But it also needs to be fun and a new experience, AND can’t require IKEA-like assembly just to get started. Not even Mary Poppins can pull this off, yet parents face this same dilemma week after week. 

With BāKIT Box, families can explore a world of experiences. BāKIT Box is the at-home FAMILY baking kit teaching STEM lessons through food and culture. From Mexican churros to South African black pepper cookies, it’s a hop around the map as kids’ taste buds -- and neurons -- get fired up. Every ingredient comes pre-measured, with easy color-coded recipes, and even learning activities for when the item is in the oven. With BāKIT Box, parents can finally win Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon, and anytime it’s family time.

family baking together

The Sweetness of STEM

The modern form of BāKIT Box took shape with 3 thematically-related kits per box, each complete with educational booklets that cover the recipe, the culture of origin, and a fun activity to do together while the creation came to life in the oven. Our earthquake cake and mudslide cookies, for example, explore east Asian flavors alongside a lesson on the Ring of Fire and tectonic plates. 

And families loved us right away. We made $30K in sales in our first 6 months with an average 5/5 rating from customers. Now that we were a cultural and educational tool, our path to growth was wide open before us.

Claiming Our Piece of the Pie

Through our connections into multiple partner networks, we are able to serve more customers than ever. We’re a hit with the growing homeschooling community, where we’re approved as learning material in 4 states! We are also partnering with afterschool programs and kids programs. And through our retail distribution strategy, we’re getting much-needed diversity on the shelf for the retailers to celebrate more than just Christmas with inclusive holidays from Diwali to Dia de los Muertos.

family baking together

Open the Box to Adventure

BāKIT Box is so much more than a meal kit. We’re bringing community and culture to the kitchen table, because humans have used food to connect with our loved ones for generations.  With BāKIT Box, modern families can raise the next generation of culturally-aware kids while cultivating skills that will serve them for a lifetime. 

The dough is rising. Step into our kitchen.

Contact Shelley Gupta:
shelley @