Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristina Griffin, Owner of Cake Elizabeth, located in South Portland, ME, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business makes custom cakes and cupcakes of various sizes, designs, and shapes. We are one of the only retail stores that work with fondant in the Southern Maine area. Our customers are people of all ages looking for more than a standard cake; they are looking for an art piece to enjoy in their celebration.
Tell us about yourself
I have been baking since I was four years old with my Nonna. I knew I wanted to do something with food as she always made fresh pasta, fried dough, and Italian cookies with me. Eventually, I went to a culinary vocational class in high school and learned I wanted to bake for the rest of my life. I went on to get a business degree from Southern Maine Community College and a Baking and Pastry degree from the Culinary Institute of America. Baking is therapeutic to me, and to be able to make a career out of it has been amazing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
When I knew I wanted to own a bakery, it was more than just not wanting to have a boss; it was also that I wanted to be the best boss imaginable. Working in the food industry, I have seen the toxic work environment that is so popular in this field. I wanted to step away from that cycle and begin a new one. I wanted to be the boss and role model I always wished that I had. I feel as though I’ve accomplished this as I hired a full-time employee last June, and she has repeatedly told me that I have met these goals. I consider her a friend and coworker over being my employee.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
All the paperwork. I love baking, and I love having my own business, but the paperwork is hard to keep track of when you want to just focus on making the customers happy. Having to think about a yearly or quarterly application and fee is hard to think about when you are thinking about the fondant sculptures you need to start on for next weekend.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Buy a filing cabinet and keep copies of everything. Keeping digital copies is great, but always have a physical copy to fall back on.
- Think back on your experiences as a customer and employee. What would you change? What would you have preferred a company had done? Don’t make the mistakes others have made.
- Of course, have fun! Don’t make decisions that will stress you and your employees out. Live out your dream job and enjoy it!
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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