Meet the Makers: Strawberry Blonde Interview
- How did you choose the name Strawberry Blonde Bakery?
When I started baking with my former business partner, I was operating as "Jacqui O's" but didn't feel right about that being the name since it was a joint endeavour. So we chose the name she was operating under which was "Strawberry Blonde". I liked it because it had a retro, catchy vibe to it.
- What has been the biggest challenge for you? How did you overcome it?
Oh boy. So many! It's hard to choose just one. From starting out, to losing my business partner, to opening a 2nd location, to Covid19... It's hard to pick the "biggest". If I had to pick I would probably pick dealing with the Covid19 pandemic. It was so unexpected and we shut down for a couple weeks and I didn't know what would happen. From day 1 of SBB, our biggest problem was not being able to keep up with orders and production. With Covid19 everything just stopped. No production. No revenue. No one knew what was going to happen. Yet I felt responsible for my staff, my businesses, my family. Everyone was looking to me to make a decision, including myself, but I had no idea what to do. Like everything else I just took it one day at a time and listened to my intuition. The most important thing is to be flexible; go with the flow; don't be rigid. I think that applies to any challenge.
- Your offerings are so accommodating of dietary restrictions. Has this always been a priority for you?
Absolutely! When I went vegan 15 years years ago, it was so difficult to find food that was safe for me to eat. After that experience, I began to really empathize with people who might have allergies or who couldn't eat certain foods. I understood how frustrating it was to not be able to feel included in festivities where food is such an integral part of the celebrations. After that, I made it a priority to be as accommodating as possible.
- We love the creativity and craftsmanship of your team. What inspires you to get creative?
Thank you! We love being creative and we love when customers get in touch with us about custom cakes, sugar cookies, etc! I'm a big art lover and I think being creative is something that inherently inspires all of us. It's a balance of doing routine tasks (of course customers want consistency of product!) as well as incorporating creativity into our everyday (which is why have our doughnut flavours be "baker's choice" for example!)
At the core of our business we need to think outside the box - it's what we do. We're not your average bakery!
- We all know the tried and true adage ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’. What does a good team require?
Communication and reliability are the two biggest things. Communication is key as problems will always arise, that's just life. But there is no problem too big that can't be solved as long as we all communicate. Reliability because we are a small business and we all rely on each other to get the job done while still having fun!
- What is your favourite sweet treat? Bonus question: what cocktail would you pair with it?
I'm a BIG chocoholic. I will always pick the chocolate option and believe that chocolate pairs well with anything and everything! I think our brownie would pair really well with an espresso martini!
We truly appreciate your time, Strawberry Blonde! What a great reminder of the importance of communication. We wish you a successful spring ahead!