Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacqueline Jacek, Founder of JACEK Chocolate Couture, located in Sherwood Park, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
JACEK Chocolate Couture is a fine chocolate business that operates on a fashion business model, but that exists to spread joy. We have a line of seasonal bonbons, confections, and chocolate bars, which includes a line of bean-to-bar chocolate that we craft in-house. We have a retail boutique in Sherwood Park (AB), an online shop, and a network of retail partners across the country.
Tell us about yourself
I started JACEK in my basement back in 2009 as a very small business with a big dream. I wanted to build a creative business that brought joy to people, so after a lot of reflection, I chose to pursue chocolate as a medium for fashion as it is four-dimensional with form, function, colour, and flavour. I started selling my products in farmer's markets, and the business essentially grew from there.
One of the biggest motivators for me is growing the business, as we give 1% of our revenue to community organizations.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say that one of my biggest accomplishments is building an incredible team that is deeply connected to our core values of joy, creativity, teamwork, excellence, and experience.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think one of the hardest things is the unknowns. As someone that likes to plan a lot, there are some things that we cannot plan for, such as the pandemic that affected everyone. When these unknowns occur, I feel very lucky to be able to lean on such a strong team to help problem solve and move forward.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I think the top three things that I would share with new entrepreneurs are:
- It's ok to ask for help. Wearing so many hats when starting a business is incredibly daunting.
- Really understand your core values, as this will give a strong platform for everything in your business, from the types of customers you attract to the type of team you build.
- Understand that good (and sustainable!) things take time
there are no silver bullets in growing a business, just a lot of great habits, consistency, and a positive mindset.
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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