Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lauren Hambleton, founder of Red Hen Artisanale, located in Priceville, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Red Hen Artisanale. I teach hands-on in-person and online baking workshops, and cooking classes focused heavily on sourdough and whole grains. I work with a whole range of people who are curious about baking. I’ve had people who have never made pie dough before to people who bake sourdough every weekend. The different workshops have something to appeal to everyone. They are a great opportunity to meet more like-minded people. Workshops range in topics from making pretty pies to wholesome sourdough, croissants + danishes, fresh pasta, and even a nature and baking camp for kids!
Tell us about yourself
Several years ago, I graduated from culinary school and immediately began traveling. I lived and worked in The Netherlands, Italy, The UK. During my co-op at the Hilton Amsterdam, they threw me into the pastry department on my own, and I discovered that Pastry was my real passion. Fast forward eight years of working and traveling, and eventually becoming the Pastry Chef for Peller Estates Winery. An opportunity to teach Baking + Pastry at a college was put in front of me. I jumped at it, knowing that I really enjoy helping people learn and become empowered by learning new skills and techniques.
A two-week road trip down to North Carolina to work with a baker assisting her in teaching her wood-fired sourdough baking workshops really solidified that feeling. It opened my eyes to something I always knew I wanted to do but didn’t know existed. I came home and got planning my own workshops. I’ve been hosting workshops for individuals, families, and for corporate team-building events alike for the past five years.
Every day there is something new to work on – a recipe to perfection, a new workshop to formulate and troubleshoot, a newsletter to write to keep my audience engaged, receipts to add up. It’s never a consistent schedule that keeps me on my toes and keeps pushing forward.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
By far, my biggest accomplishment has been in making a dream become a real live space. Since day 1 of hosting my workshops, I knew that I wanted a space of my own. In November of 2021, we poured the concrete pad for my own baking studio to welcome people into. Up until then, I’ve been traveling around to cute spots in Southern Ontario, all ingredients and equipment in tow. Now, I’ve got my own private space to go and work and bring people in for a relaxing day of cooking and baking and eating, and just enjoying.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a person who does everything from R&D to photography, to finances, marketing..etc..it can be a lot some days. The list can be quite long, and it’s filled with all sorts of important things that have to get done. Knowing where to spend the time and energy and prioritizing accurately can sometimes be challenging.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Reach out to other small businesses that you admire, and have a chat. There’s a good chance that they’re willing and wanting to sit down and talk about what works for them what doesn’t. It’s a great opportunity to build a little network of people dealing with many of the same triumphs and obstacles as you are.
- Surround yourself with people who will boost you up when you’re a little bit worn. Some encouraging words help to go a long way.
- Do it because you love it and for no other reason. Everything else will follow.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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