Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kelsey Baumgarten, Founder of Hidden Bean Bakeshop, located in Guilford, VT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hidden Bean Bakeshop is a gluten-free bakery providing desserts and slices of bread, all made with beans as a base ingredient to make sweet treats healthier. Many products are also vegan and/or sweetened without refined sugar. My customers range from people with dietary restrictions to anyone who just wants a tasty treat at the farmers market or local co-op. I bake in a small commercial kitchen attached to my house and sell my products at the farmer's market and various other local outlets.
Tell us about yourself
I started my career as a dietitian, working with patients in the hospital and counseling in an outpatient setting. While there were many great things about this work, my passion really lay in food service and using my nutrition knowledge to develop healthier recipes. My motivation each day comes from simply loving what I do, from baking to recipe development to chatting with customers at the farmers market. Most people following a gluten-free and/or vegan diet are used to having just one or two options when they go to a restaurant or cafe- I love the gratification that comes from telling customers they can safely eat anything at my table.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been developing gluten-free, vegan, bean-based recipes that people actually enjoy and attracting a growing customer base despite the initial work of convincing people to try cakes and brownies made with black beans.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me, work/life boundaries are the hardest part of owning a business. I'm never really "closed" or "off duty." Especially with my bakery being at home and loving what I do, it's sometimes too easy to just work all the time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Believe in your idea. Don't give up when there are bumps along the way. But be prepared to adapt, too.
- Start small- at least for me, it was better to keep startup costs small and therefore have low risk and more wiggle room as I grew and found my place in the market.
- Set a schedule. When you're your own boss, it can be hard, but important to have a work structure.
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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