Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Deidre Lotecki, pastry chef and owner of Sweet Relief Pastries, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sweet Relief is a specialty bakery that focuses on delicious cookies and cakes to make your mouth water and your heart happy! We love making treats…and eating treats! Everything we make has to be delicious, and then we like to throw in some colour and cuteness because that’s how we want to sweeten up the world!
Tell us about yourself
I love baking! I started baking as soon as I could lick a spoon and haven’t stopped since. I started my business while I was baking in cafes and missed making cakes and being creative. I focused on making cakes on my weekends. Eventually, things got so busy that I decided to open a storefront. My job is the best because I get to constantly dream up fun new ideas and flavours, even packaging! There are so many creative outlets for me, and I get to be surrounded by cookie snacks all the time, which is always a great way to spend your day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is getting to a point where I can give my employees health benefits. This might be a small thing for big companies, but it was one of my goals when I started the bakery, and it took five years before we were at a place where it was viable. I am so proud that we can give that to our employees, baking is a very physically demanding job, and I don’t want anyone worrying about how to pay for medical expenses along with all the other bills in life.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest part of being a business owner is remembering you cannot please everyone. You are not for everyone, and that is ok, don’t take it personally.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- This is a 24/7 gig; if you want to work 8 hours a day, five days a week, and take lots of vacations, this is not for you, especially when you first start. That being said, you get to make your own hours which is a nice perk!
- Do something you are passionate about. You might work 12 hours a day, but you’re doing something that makes you excited, so it doesn’t feel that long.
- Hire individuals that are as passionate as you are. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people makes work such a fun and inspiring place to be.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Best advice: you can say no to things. If a job doesn’t suit your business, it’s ok to say no. Doing something that is not your specialty is only going to bring you frustration and possibly make your customer unhappy if you cannot achieve what they want. It’s a powerful word.
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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