Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Janet Wong Ken, Owner of Cookie Mama Inc., located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Cookie Mama is a small-batch artisan bakery that focuses on using the purest ingredients in our products from start to finish, from cupcakes to cakes to brownies and our signature vegan ice cream. We specialize in dietary restrictive products, including gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. In addition, we offer custom artwork for cakes and edible logo printing on sugar cookies for events.
Tell us about yourself
I am a first-generation Chinese, born in Kingston, Jamaica. After going to school and working in New York City for 13 years in advertising and spending many more years in the "school of mom," I decided I was more suited for an entrepreneurial career path. I started Cookie Mama in 2008, growing my business organically at local markets before opening my own brick-and-mortar space on 14th Street. As a small business owner who is passionate about what she does, every day is a new adventure, but the ability to try new things, explore, and be creative in everything I make and the ability to change things is the best part.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There is nothing more satisfying than building a business from the ground up. Though there were, and continue to be, a lot of learning and quick thinking to keep my business going, Cookie Mama has grown mainly by word-of-mouth as well as a robust online store. We survived a flood, COVID, and a recession, in large part thanks to our wonderful, dedicated customers and a dash of hard work.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Balancing work and family life is not always easy. We are a family business, and we believe in making high-quality products that we can stand behind. It takes many hours of creating new recipes, baking large batches of our products, taste testing, and social media marketing to ensure our business thrives.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- It is important to remain in touch with what is happening with other businesses in your industry.
- Stay humble.
- Evolve. Do not stand still.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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