Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alex Shimshon, owner of Kitchen Island, located in Hamilton, ON, Canada.

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

We're an artisanal bakery in Hamilton, expressing our love for you through creative pastry work with the best seasonal ingredients that Ontario has to offer.

Our pastries are made with the best ingredients that I can find. I cultivate relationships with farmers and local producers so that I am certain of how my ingredients are grown and that they are fresh.

Tell us about yourself

"The connection between food and love was so constant and genuine that I inherited it almost as wholly as I did my parents' genes. There is little wonder, then, in how I came to a career in hospitality."

Growing up in a family where food was the everyday currency of love, I was instilled with an appreciation for hospitality and nurturing meals from a young age. After leaving the corporate career behind, I embraced my passion. I returned to the service industry – absorbing creativity and drawing inspiration and energy from the beautiful, bustling restaurants, cafes, and vibrant markets of Tel Aviv (where I lived the majority of my life).

After moving to Canada and following the call to create a life centered around hosting + hospitality, I completed the Baking and Pastry Arts program at George Brown College in Toronto – laying the foundation for what would become Kitchen Island.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have a couple of accomplishments. The first one I would say would be to start and grow a business during COVID. Many businesses suffered while adjusting to the new reality this pandemic brought. I am very grateful I was able to come up with a business model (freshly baked goods - sweet and savoury - Sunday delivery) that actually works perfectly in times like these.

My second and personal accomplishment was overcoming my own self-doubt and fears, dreaming big, and taking consistent baby steps towards those dreams.

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

MULTITASKING! Wow, where do I even begin? On the business level, as a solopreneur, you are responsible for every single aspect of your business, from strategic planning, through managing the social media and customer service to actual production in the kitchen.

On a personal level, I have two very active kids who, during COVID, needed a lot of attention, help with school, and whatnot.

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

  1. Use any resource available to you to learn. Don't hesitate to ask questions, listen to podcasts, and reach out to people in your industry.
  2. Don't be afraid of failure. You will make mistakes; it's unavoidable. The most important thing is to learn from your mistakes and implement changes.
  3. Create systems in your business and keep everything organized (as much as possible). It really makes a difference.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

My kitchen is the heart of my home; my island is the heart of my kitchen. The kitchen island furnishes many of our labors of love; it's where we nourish, commune with, and care for our family and friends. With this in mind, I named my business after the heart of hearts of my home. My philosophy is centered on caring and carefulness: I care for each pastry I make, and I'm careful in my methods and business practices as a way of caring for you.

Kitchen Island is a name that I hope will continually remind you of the commitment that I have made to prioritize love and to care in all that we produce, as if you were sitting in my home, at my kitchen island.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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