Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Courtni Johnson, Owner of Jaybear, LLC., located in Bartlett, TN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Jaybear Bake Shop is a family-owned and operated bakery in Bartlett, TN. In collaboration with Shari's Berries, we offer a variety of sweets, including custom-order cakes and custom fruit orders. Additional products we serve are cupcakes, cake pops, pies, and cookies, as well as a variety of specialty treats, including gluten-free, vegan, and keto options. In addition to the products we offer, we offer consultation services to help with custom orders. Our customers represent a diverse demographic. We also have a lot of customers with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan.

Tell us about yourself

I decided to go into business with my sister Jami because it allowed me the freedom to express myself through the art of baking. We have always found baking for friends, family, and co-workers to be both therapeutic and rewarding. We've spent years honing our craft by experimenting in the kitchen and educating and challenging ourselves a little more each day. Whether it’s a recipe passed down from our grandmother or our favorite aunt, baking is in the Harbin genes, and we both absolutely love what we do!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our biggest accomplishments have been our ability to expand into 2 Tribune stores in the Nashville airport as well as expanding into the Baptist Desoto Hospital. In addition, we have some big things coming up at the end of this year and in Quarter 1 of 2023.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing we have encountered has been the results of the Covid pandemic and the difficulty in scaling our business utilizing a co-packer.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be prepared to work harder than you ever have.
  2. Don't give up.
  3. In regard to finances, be sure to plan ahead.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.