Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Niki Dube, owner of Mabel Mae's Bakery, located in Charleston, SC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're a gluten-free & vegan bakery that's showing how baked goods made better for us can be delicious. We also specialize in lactation treats for new moms. The fun part is, we're truly a bakery for everyone: From new moms struggling to produce enough milk for their baby to those with dietary intolerances, to anyone at all looking for a scrumptious treat.
Tell us about yourself
I've been obsessed with food since I was a kid. I tried to make birch beer from an actual birch root, boiling water & sugar when I was seven years old. It failed, but that didn't stop me. It wasn't until In March of 2020, when I lost my mother (Mae) to suicide & my job to COVID downsizing, that I was able to take the plunge to open my own business. Suddenly, stuck at home in quarantine with my 3-month old baby (Mabel), I dove back deep into my love of cooking & baking healthier treats as a way to grieve my recent losses & find purpose again. I made batches of treats, from cookies to cakes, sharing them with friends to brighten their dark early days of COVID. Only telling them after they devoured them that they happen to be gluten-free, vegan & refined sugar-free. I quickly decided this was my chance to help others. I could create beautiful & delicious food for the world that was also better for them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The unbelievable growth we've had since we started officially selling in June of 2020 has absolutely blown me away. So far, my biggest accomplishment is being invited to participate as a talent in Charleston Wine + Food 2022. This is an event I've looked up to with starry eyes for years. I never dreamed I'd be a part of it!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Wearing a hundred hats simultaneously & finding the right, like-minded people to work on our team. These are challenges I honestly love but challenges nonetheless.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't second guess yourself. If you have skill & passion for a particular product or service & see a market for it, go after it.
- Believe in yourself like you never have before. If you don't, no one else will either.
- Reach out to others in your intended industry & ask them for a mentoring session or even a quick Q&A email session. The worst they can say is no, but you'd be amazed how giving people is when they do something they love.
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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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