Jean Blacklock

reflections on being an entrepreneur

Latest stories

Lessons learned…again…

It has been a very busy, very intense time at Prairie Girl Bakery. Often people’s response to the type of business we have at PGB is something like, that sounds delicious,  fun, and pretty!  Sure. Some of the time it is. But every business is hard work and in the opening of a 5th store, some PGB team members worked way past any form of work-life balance.  I wasn’t aware of the extent of the...

What’s New – May Edition

The first week of every month I write about What’s New. Here is something big: yesterday, new Head Baker Heather started!! What’s also very exciting is that our most recent Head Baker Alec will continue in a senior leadership role as Heather’s right hand person, to be mentored on the skills required to expand to a multi-location bakery, and also PGB’s first Head Baker Andrea has...

And then there were none (nuts that is)

When casting around for questions for this week’s “Ask Anything” post, Jenna received a variation of this one fairly often: Question: Your peanut butter icing was the best and I am super disappointed that you decided to go nut-free in any store but in ALL your stores?! Answer: Great question! When I opened PGB and decided to include nuts in the menu, I researched the # of people...

Favourite Things

Last night in my diary I wrote that I would not complain once today. Within 10 minutes of getting up, I was complaining to Andrew. I don’t remember what about- with two days left to go to the Grand Opening in Markham, everywhere I turn there is a problem to complain about. Note to anyone thinking of opening a store: nothing will go as planned. Anyway, I have one thing not to complain about...

get out of your head

With the Markham store’s opening just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about details. At this point, details are all over the place: it seems hourly that someone thinks of another detail. This detail fixation is great since so much is still in the hands of external parties like health inspectors, city officials, suppliers, tradespeople and the landlord all of whom can say that a missed...

New Store FAQs!!

Hi! On the 1st Tuesday of every month, my post will answer some of the frequently asked questions that Jenna has received over the previous month. Who’s Jenna? Jenna is on the operations team at PGB and like a couple of other people in operations (Ailish, Director, Customer Service & Catering; and Carly, PGB’s Managing Director), Jenna wears a few hats. Jenna’s hats currently are:...

Ask Anything! Series

Hi! This is the first in a monthly series where I will answer questions about starting a business. If you have a question about my experience here at PGB or about your own idea for a business, please email it to orders@prairiegirlbakery.com. Today’s question is a two-part question that I’ve been asked a lot: Why did you decide to open a cupcake business and how do I know if my idea for a business...

Expansion update!

Recently Andrew met the owner of a Canadian 85-store retail business who told Andrew to pass this along to me: opening stores gets much, much easier after the 10th store. This is good news and bad news. The good news is that apparently opening stores gets much, much easier after the 10th store. The bad news is I have stores 4 through 10 still to go. However, I have to say- this time around, I...

Intention 2.0

Last week I wrote about reflecting on intended outcomes before events, and how that has helped me. I also mentioned another way the word “intention” has floated around for me this fall. It is best summed up by a quote from Stephen Covey: “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions” At the same time I was thinking about how we tend to give ourselves more leniency...

Intentions

Five days after my last post, I signed a lease for a new store in Markham. The realtor said that the negotiation period was extremely quick. In my last post I’d complained how long it was taking. It’s not news that I am impatient but interesting that Ali would describe that particular deal as fast. I need to  remember this because pace was also mentioned in a conversation with a...

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