"When I first started 11 years ago, I was working as a florist for pretty close to minimum wage. I needed to do something on the side to supplement my income, and I really wanted it to be something that I loved. I had been decorating cakes for my family for a couple of years, and thought that wedding cakes would be a natural extension of flower arrangements. It was a bigger learning curve than I bargained for in the early years! Later, I decided to pick it back up full time so that I could be available at home for my kids, but still be working. I grew up with a mom who was always cooking and baking. There is nothing in the world better than my mom's apple pie. Because of her influence, I learned that the most important thing is flavor because that's the part that turns a customer into a repeat customer. After that, I had to figure out how to make my treats LOOK like something you want to eat, since homemade isn't always known for being the most beautiful! For that, I watch a lot of YouTube videos. My parents are my biggest inspiration. You could say that entrepreneurship is in my genes. My dad left the navy when I was in middle school to start his own business building, of all things, wooden canoes. I learned early that you don't own your own business if you don't want to work long hours because you never stop working! There are times when I miss being able to leave work at work, but working from home is largely a joy. My favorite part about it is that I can be creative without restriction. If I'm watching Nailed It and see something I want to tackle, the only person who can stop me is myself! I love being able to turn on an audiobook, pull out a few favorite recipes, and see if I can come up with something new.
Every Thanksgiving, I have customers who call me afterwards to say things like "I haven't had a pie like that since my mom's" and "that crust really brought me back to my childhood." I LOVE being able to bring people back to their favorite family memories. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries - most of our biggest celebrations revolve around gathering and eating food. I love being part of that.
The biggest thing I've learned is that all criticism is constructive as long as you listen and grow. My goal is for my customers to always be glad that they chose me. If they aren't happy, that means there's something out there for me to improve. That was hard for me when I first started, but as I went, I realized it was an opportunity! There's always someone out there who has been doing it longer than me or has a better method than I do, and most of them are thrilled to pass it on." -Jenn G. of Jenn's Kitchen on the West Tenth app.
To hire Jenn head to the West Tenth app. Find her and bakers near you!