Jean Blacklock

reflections on being an entrepreneur

Latest stories

Barney and Bud

On January 25th I am the keynote speaker at the annual symposium of the Rotman Commerce Women’s Initiative. I am really looking forward to it. For help with my comments, I am turning to a great book by Chip Heath and Dan Heath called, Made to Stick. One of their main points is that as audience members we just don’t retain information such as “The Top 3 Things to Remember about Success”. But we do...

Behind the Scenes at Prairie Girl

In my last post of the year, I’m going to mention some of the things the team does to help us manage the really busy times for us: Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Maybe the most important part of holiday planning is ensuring our foundation is strong. By this I mean our website, our processes, our team (recruitment and training), and our products. The things that can most jam up a rush period is if...

Crazy stuff happens

I’m really excited about 2020 because I have been thinking about all the stuff that happened in 2019 and it just blows my mind! Some of it really, really sucked, I can’t lie. But other great things that happened like two people on our management team marrying wonderful people (to be clear, they didn’t marry each other, they married other wonderful people) and the original Head...

Becoming nut free

Changing to a nut-free bakery in 2019 deserves a 10/10 rating, but like many worthwhile projects in life, it was a lotta work especially as we were doing it at the same time as building our Woodbine store (we wanted to open that store without ever having had nuts in it). The hardest part was finding all the supplies. They must of course have a nut-free ingredient list but also cannot contain a...

Letting stuff go

I’ve realized that part of change is letting stuff go. My sister’s wedding anniversary is December 29th. That sounds romantic but it was a pain: I was in 2nd year law school with difficult first term classes, there was  Christmas on the farm to get through and Leslie was marrying into a Ukrainian-Canadian family which (we learned) celebrates weddings over a 3 to 4 day period. I am...

The latest on Snackin’ Cakes (TM!)

I’m really excited about our Snackin’ Cakes project! Let’s start with the name: Snackin’ Cakes was a registered trademark of Betty Crocker/General Mills until 2018 – they gave it up just in time for us to register it.  Yes! I think it will be a perfect name for these cute little cakes. Taste-wise, the feedback we received at the Grocery Innovation Congress was really...

Digital advertising

This week in my continuing review of PGB’s changes over the last year I will look at our launch of advertising online. The big picture: digital ads work. Christina, our website and ad manager, often describes ads on Google as the “yellow pages” and ads on Facebook/Instagram as “billboards”. Both types of digital ads work well to increase sales and are fairly cost effective. Having spent ad...

Risky Business

Which of these things increase revenue: opening new stores, recruiting new people, investing in edible printers, creating more appealing boxes and bags, upgrading the online system, or leasing a management office? My answer: all these expenses lead to more revenue. But the last item – leasing a management office – was challenging to wrap my mind around. Whereas the other items are...

Evolving Designer Cakes

In my last post, I listed our 2018-19 changes and promised some detail to come. Here we are at the first one: the revamp of our Designer Cake menu. When we opened in 2011, we only sold cupcakes and I was – in retrospect – annoying on the  topic. People constantly asked for cakes and my answer as the then-catering and customer service manager was that we focused on cupcakes so as to...

The Year of Change

As we head into the  last couple months of 2019,  I’m going to share my thoughts on the changes we’ve made at PGB since October 2018, taking each one at a time. In today’s post I will just list the changes and  then will use today’s post as my outline for the remainder of the year. I will share  how the changes went, which projects went better than others and the...

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