Tyana Franklin turned her own love of French macarons into a growing, home-based business.
Tyana was just 17 and a senior at Hobbs High School when she got the idea a bit more than a year ago, just before the COVID-19 pandemic reached southeast New Mexico. She would routinely go to the bakery to get her fix of the sweet treats until, one day, she decided to try making her own.
“I decided I wanted to try it myself,” Tyana, now 18, said. “I looked at my first macron recipe and decided I’d just get the ingredients for it and try it. It went well.”
Which was quite a feat in itself. French macarons — a sandwich cookie made of ground almond flour, egg whites and sugar — are notoriously one of the most difficult cookies to bake in the home kitchen, according to the website. “Delicate and finicky … the most difficult feat is achieving the right consistency and presentation of the macaron shells,” the website states.
“These are the hardest cookies to make,” Tyana said. “Everything has to be absolutely perfect.”
She went through about 10 batches before she perfected her recipe and Tyana said she soon started getting positive feedback from her peers and the community at large. She’d started attending “pop-up” events, selling her macarons, and soon orders started pouring in.
The next thing that needed to be done was naming the business. Tyana said her mother, Alina Greenway, actually came up with the name — Sugar Queen by T.
“People started asking for catering — for parties, Quinceañeras, small birthday parties, stuff like that,” Tyana said. “I went online and started taking real orders. It just progressed from there.
“I really didn’t sell macarons right away,” she said. “I’m still perfecting (the recipe) to this day, but it’s getting easier.”
Tyana credits her mom, Alina, with being her inspiration.
“My mom is very hard working, very creative,” Tyana said. “She always pushed me to do my best. She helped me come up with the name for the business and really pushed me to do it.”
Tyana soon drafted her younger sister, Madyson, 14, to help out. Between school and the growing baking business, Tyana said she was only getting about four hours of sleep a night.
“She was never sleeping, so I decided why not help her so she can get some sleep,” Madyson said. “I’ll just be a good sister and help her.”
The sisters spend hours, several days a week, producing multiple batches of macarons to fill orders and to sell at different events. And Madyson enjoys it.
“It’s very therapeutic,” she said. “Cooking is always something I loved to do — growing up around my mom and grandma, I always loved to bake.”
Tyana soon branched out, adding strawberries dipped in either milk or white chocolate and covered in one of several flavored coatings to the menu.
“We make about 12 batches (of macarons) per day just so we can have enough flavors and varieties, Tyana said. Each batch yields 50-60 cookies, depending on the flavor, she said.
Growing up, Tyana said Madyson was the real youthful cook of the family, preparing her own meals by the time she was 6-years-old. Tyana admitted she didn’t really like being in the kitchen as a youngster, despite the urgings of her mother and grandmother to learn to cook.
“They were always telling me I needed to come learn to cook for when I got older,” Tyana said. “It wasn’t of any real interest to me.”
Along with her mother, she says her biggest mentors have been her father, Daryl, and an aunt who’s a chef and business owner in California, who’ve both helped her with the business side of her endeavor. Daryl Franklin owns the local Buddy’s Home Furnishing in Hobbs, Tyana said. Both have helped her with ordering supplies, figuring profit margins and pricing her product.
When she started out, “people would tell me I was pricing things too low,” Tyana said. “They said, ‘I was better than that.’”
It’s been a long and difficult year, trying to complete high school and start a business, Tyana said. She not only finished her senior year, she graduated from Hobbs High School with honors, the only black honor graduate in this year’s senior class, she said.
And Tyana was selected to serve as Miss Juneteenth 2021 for Hobbs. It was definitely a balancing act, she said, but one she enjoyed.
“I like to get out into the community and do great things,” Tyana said. “It wasn’t too hard, but it wasn’t the easiest thing to do.
“And I faced challenges in school,” she said. “I actually had teachers telling me I wasn’t going to graduate, that I wasn’t good enough to graduate. I just did what I had to do and graduated with honors.”
For the future, Tyana wants to go to college, possibly at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge or Texas Southern University in Houston, she said. She plans to study business with an eye toward becoming a sports lawyer, again hoping to help athletes negotiate good contracts not just for the short term but to benefit them throughout their careers and after, she said.
Her interest in sports stems from being a three-sport athlete at HHS in basketball, volleyball and soccer prior to last year’s lockdowns. But, describing herself as generally a shy person, the otherwise outgoing young woman hopes to use her talents to improve things for her family.
Her father’s side of the family doesn’t have the best reputation around Hobbs, Tyana said. She hopes, as Madyson grows up, to change that community perception. And Tyana acknowledges — with just a little discomfort — that she can be an inspiration to other young girls to “shoot for the stars.
“I try to tie in with the community, trying to do my best, so I can change the name (perception) for myself and my family,” she said. “I want to change that so when people think of my little sister Madyson, people will thing, ‘Well her big sister was Tyana, so she’s going to do great things.
“I want to make my younger sister happy and my parents happy,” Tyana said. “This is why I do what I do.”
For information, or to order, contact Sugar Queen By T via her website, sugar-queen.square.site, or via Instagram @sugarqueenbyt or by phone at (575) 404-5707.