Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jamie Oakland, owner of Sugarshida Custom Desserts & Designs, located in Fresno, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're in the business of bringing party themes to life and enriching every celebration with custom desserts. Sugarshida is all about art and indulgence. Everything that leaves our kitchen must look and taste incredible.
Our clients are looking for something extra special that's going to take their event to the next level, and they find it in our custom desserts. They know the magic is in the details and love to celebrate as much as we do!
Tell us about yourself
I've had a lifelong dream of running my own business and always envisioned doing something with customizable products or in the gift-giving space... now I get to do both!
I do a happy dance every time a client tells me how much their child, friend, or guests enjoyed our custom treats. Knowing our desserts bring happiness to others is the best part of my job.
Planning special surprises and celebrating life events is what makes me happiest in my personal life, so I'm really grateful these aspects are part of my business, too.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Proving to myself that taking risks is worth it. I'm very cautious and have always felt safer with routine and stability. Starting my own business yanked me from my comfort zone. It launched me into a life of irregular paychecks and unpredictable working hours. I had no idea what was in store for me when I started Sugarshida. I felt in my heart that it was worth leaving the safety of my desk job to find out. I've since developed a clientele full of the most supportive, loyal people, and I'm so proud that I get to create edible happiness for them and their loved ones.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I'm competitive and a perfectionist by nature. And I tend to be really hard on myself when I make mistakes. As a business owner and often the only person involved in decision-making, you're fully accountable for all successes and failures.
I spent a lot of time reflecting and analyzing what I could've done differently or how I could've handled a situation better. It's all part of my learning process, but it can definitely take a toll on you if you don't set aside time to decompress and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Incorporate your dreams & do something that makes you smile.
Turn your hobby or passion into your full-time career, and you won't regret it. Skeptics might tell you it's not realistic, but it can be. Start small by serving your family and friends and getting them to help spread the word.
- Be prepared to do the work. Leaving behind an office job to pursue something you enjoy might sound like a picnic, but it requires more work and attention than any other job you'll ever have. It's 24/7. Unless you have staff, you'll be solely responsible for accounting, legal, marketing, advertising, research and development, social media, customer service, and so much more. Invest in a good digital calendar and utilize checklists.
- Embrace community over competition. Don't be afraid to connect with other local businesses in your industry - even if they provide a similar product or service as you. I admired so many local bakers when I started, and now they're a source of inspiration and support for me. We uplift each other and even recommend clients to one another. Relationships within your local community will be your greatest asset.
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.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.