Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kelly Beckett, owner of Benlu Bakery, located in South Portland, Maine, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I started and owned a bakery called Benlu Bakery in 2019. I make custom cakes for customers ranging from themed birthday cakes for kids to extravagant tiered cakes for weddings and beyond! I find a way to customize each cake for my customers, so they have something special to treat themselves to!
Tell us about yourself
I enjoyed baking when I was younger with both of my grandmothers. The amount of effort and love that went into everything they made gave me a new appreciation for the work. I started perfecting my skills when my nephews were born, making cakes for them, and seeing their faces when they saw the design brought me so much joy! Their names are Benjamin and Lucas. My cakes were getting better because of the boys, so it was only fitting to name the bakery after them. My motivation comes from my customers! I love providing something I'm really proud of to a customer and seeing them come back to order more; I know every minute I spent on their cake was worth it!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Just starting! I have made cakes for family and friends for a long time, and after a lot of convincing from them, I decided to take a leap and open my books to the public in early 2019. I counted on myself to be able to put in the work, and it's been great to see where that confidence has brought me thus far.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being comfortable with the unknown and practicing patience. There are no rules anymore on how to run a business, and the markets change quickly. It's tough to figure out what is going to work for your business. It was hard not to quit in the beginning because I wasn't immediately successful, and I wasn't reaching the customers I wanted. Growth takes time. Let it!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
1). Do your research: find out what you need to provide for your state in order to get a business registered. It's more than you think, but once it's done, you can get to the fun stuff!
2). Show yourself in your work: with social media, customers, and followers really like to know who is behind the product. Don't be afraid to put your personality into what you do!
3). Allow yourself to learn: you will make mistakes frequently, but they are always a learning experience. Don't beat yourself up; your mistakes lead you to better successes.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Enjoy the ride! Starting and running a business is more than just making something you love. It comes with a lot of work you don't see behind the scenes, but when you see where it takes you, it's all worth it.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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