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Running a business

Jennifer McConnell is Sharing her Passion for Food with the Community

In honour of Pride Month we are celebrating amazing LGBTQIA+ small business owners that are a pillar in their community. 

Name: Jennifer McConnell

Location: Midland ON

Business: Fresh Baked Consulting

What do you do? 

Fresh Baked Consulting is an artisan bakery, and offers private chef services, culinary classes, pop-up supper club, and consulting.

Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get started?

I have been in the culinary industry for over 30 years. In 2021 I felt it was time to open my own culinary studio to share my passion for all things food with others. It’s amazing to have my own space, I have been using a ghost kitchen for a number of years.

What is the biggest lesson you learned in the first year? You need to constantly reinvent yourself and your services to keep current as the culinary field is ever changing. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped my business grow in a different direction than I ever planned, producing specialty food products is one of these changes.

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a business owner? 

The gratitude of clients and support of my community in my recent endeavour.

What is an aspect of running a business that you needed to learn more about when you started? How did you learn about it? 

The marketing and networking involved in getting my business to grow is different markets. Being involved in networking groups such as Canadian Women in Food has helped me learn valuable business skills and develop my knowledge of the culinary industry.

How does running your own business make you feel? 

I am happy and proud to be the proprietor of a business in a small town. I love being able to contribute to my community by providing employment and offering donations to local charities.

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome or are working to overcome as a business owner? 

I love what I do, being at the studio never feels like work, but I need to work on developing a better life/work balance.

What are your proudest moments? 

Recently having one of my recipes promoted in a national magazine as part of a competition with the California Raisin board.

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Find something you're passionate about, add in perseverance and hard work and you can accomplish anything.

What are three things that you feel have contributed to your success as a business owner? 

Lots of long hours and hard work, being creative and not being afraid to “think outside the box,” my clients who offer positive feedback which helps me strive to provide the best products and services

What challenges do you feel are unique to small business owners in the LGBTQIA+ community? Have you come up against any bias? 

I am located in an amazing community where I fortunately have not faced any challenges within the community. Unfortunately there is still negativity with in the LGBTQIA + community I know many businesses who have experienced discrimination and unfavourable publicity due to being part of the community, all I can recommend is be kind, no matter the situation.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs in the community? 

Find something you're passionate about, add in perseverance and hard work and you can accomplish anything

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going? 

A message from a client saying how much my products made there day, such as a custom wedding cake.

What’s your “power song” and why? 

Get This Party Started by Pink! My business is all about celebrating weddings, parties and just enjoying life. Other than to share happiness there is no reason to actually eat cake!

To learn more about Fresh Baked Consulting and support their business, visit their website or check them out on Instagram.

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