Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Trisha Bower, Founder of Eat My Shortbread, located in Oshawa, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Baking has been my lifelong passion, and my business is a true reflection of my dedication and hard work. As the youngest among seven siblings, I started baking in Northern Ontario, and it has been my calling ever since. From cakes to cookies and everything in between, I love to bake all kinds of treats, and now, I offer them to the world.
At Eat My Shortbread, we take pride in our generations-old recipe that has been passed down for over 25 years. Our shortbread is a staple at our Christmas dinners, and it impresses even the most discerning shortbread connoisseur. Our products are not only available in cafes, specialty grocery stores, and gift shops but also in butchers, bakeries, hotels, and wineries.
Our customers are women between the ages of 35 and 60 who have disposable income and appreciate premium quality goods. They are the kind of friends who never show up empty-handed to a dinner party, always thinking of others and sharing thoughtful gifts for special and everyday occasions. Although they don't get much time for themselves, they value small moments of indulgence and relaxation. And for those moments, we promise to offer the most delicious and premium treats that will make them happy. Butter is my favourite scent, and I pour my heart and soul into every product we make at Eat My Shortbread.
Tell us about yourself
When I discovered this shortbread recipe, I knew I could create a business around it. Fast forward 25 years later, and I am working and living my dream. I am a true Introverted Extrovert, so connecting with other people is so meaningful to me. I love meeting my customers and hearing their stories. It is because of this that I work every Saturday in my store to be able to interact one-on-one with my customers. I look forward to it every week. My previous career was in social services/advocacy for people with developmental disabilities and mental health issues. I keep in touch with families and teammates from that career and continue to contribute to the local charities and clubs that I once worked with.
Supporting other entrepreneurs is extremely significant to me. I have been a Futurepreneur Mentor for three years and have spoken to women's groups, small business workshop attendees, and to startup companies one-on-one. I provide coaching and support to anyone who may need it. I created another business within my own commercial unit during the pandemic. I founded Rent My Kitchen after recognizing the need for affordable, rental kitchen spaces. It gives local food producers a chance to test their menu and produce small or large batches without having to pay high fees or lease their own space. In 2021-23, over 22 small businesses grew using Rent My Kitchen. My motivation to get up in the morning and work is my desire to succeed and bring my brand across Canada.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Growing my brand to be in grocery stores provincially and successfully navigating the GS1 website.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The isolation, the many hours of worry, self-doubt, low confidence, and feelings of never being 'done' on my to-do list.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- BE CONFIDENT: When you're starting a small business, it's easy to feel like you're in over your head. You might feel like you don't have the skills or the experience to succeed. But here's the thing: nobody does when they first start out. Confidence comes from taking action and seeing results. So if you're feeling unsure, just remember that every successful business owner started out in the same place.
- BE RESILIENT: As a small business owner, you're going to face a lot of challenges. There will be times when you feel like giving up. But here's the thing: Resilience is what separates successful entrepreneurs from those who give up. Resilience means being able to bounce back from setbacks and keep going, even when the going gets tough. So when you're feeling discouraged, remind yourself of all the reasons why you started your business in the first place.
- BE PROTECTIVE OF YOUR ENERGY: As a business owner, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and neglect your own well-being. But here's the thing: You can't run a successful business if you're burned out and exhausted. So make sure you're taking care of yourself. That might mean taking a day off when you need it, delegating tasks to your team, or finding ways to manage your stress. Remember, your business is only as strong as you are.
- BE GRATEFUL AND KIND: It's easy to get so caught up in the pursuit of success that we forget to be grateful for what we already have. But here's the thing: Gratitude and kindness are not only good for your mental health, but they're also good for business. When you're kind to your employees and your customers, they're more likely to be loyal and refer others to your business. And when you're grateful for what you have, you're more likely to attract positive energy and opportunities. Your most important role is to be in service to others.
Let me sum it up for you:
• Confidence comes from taking action and seeing results.
• Resilience is what separates successful entrepreneurs from those who give up.
• Protecting your own energy is key to running a successful business.
• Gratitude and kindness are not only good for your mental health, but they're also good for business.
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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