Jean Blacklock

reflections on being an entrepreneur

Latest stories

lift-off

The shorter days and colder weather are dragging me down – and winter hasn’t even started yet! When I feel this way, items can languish on my to-do list. With my handy-dandy Evernote app, I can move a task from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday with a simple cut & paste. But everywhere I go, there it is! A hack that usually works to get me out of this push-forward rut is this: Aim for...

Feedback

At PGB, we added a small amount of cream cheese to the plain vanilla icing. Some customers liked that, some didn’t. At Sticky, the vanilla icing is a little different – fluffier, all butter – most really like it but not everyone. Similarly, in the early months of Sticky, we had some feedback from customers about getting a bun that was soggy – maybe underbaked? – and then that same day, one of our...

where to spend money

Since opening Sticky this spring, we’ve considered two opportunities for additional space, one downtown and one near our store on St Clair. Andrew and I talked both opportunities through, and for a number of reasons, we didn’t move ahead with them. Although we are open to expanding our physical space in the future, for now we decided that the best approach is to increase revenue through marketing...

shepherd’s pie

Steve Gregory is a gifted teacher about sales management. Steve consulted to the bank,  and Andrew and I heard his talks many times. He is the kind of speaker who paints pictures through his stories  to make memorable  points. One Steve story I have never forgotten is about interviewing people. Sometimes a person shows up for an interview and you know within the first few minutes that they are...

New ideas: 3-step process

There’s a popular saying that Andrew likes: “throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks”.    I’ve thought of this a lot lately as we have been getting to know our customer base and what they want from Sticky. Some new items since we opened have been barn-burning successes: cakes; sticky buns without pecans; sticky buns with cream cheese icing; mini fudgies; cookies; and mini sticky buns...

Live and adapt!

I’ve learned that flexible thinking is a great thing. For example, a few years ago, I would not have agreed to a tipping option in a bakery – and now I have one. In setting up Sticky, we realized the landscape had changed and that some coffee/bakery places include a tipping option in the cashing out process. We decided that a tip option gives customers the ability to give the team something extra...

A Visit to Magnolia Bakery

Andrew and I were in New York on the weekend and as we always do, we stopped into Magnolia Bakery. This business first opened in the 1990s and is still going strong. I have such admiration for the owners’ business acumen over so many years. I also really like some of their products: their icebox pies and cheesecakes are very good, in my view, and those products I don’t like as much, well, so much...

3 Things I Know (about opening a bakery)

It’s been a minute since my last post on May 17th! As I write this on July 9th, it is hard to even remember the gjillion things about the opening of Sticky on May 27th – and the weeks since then. And even if I could remember all the details, that would be a boring litany anyway. Suffice to say that the HVAC broke and then was fixed, that many deliveries were late and then replaced, that...

Coming soon…diary of a new bakery

For most of the last month, the to-do list between Andrew and me has been like those soup bowls in comedy sketches that fill up as soon as a person reaches the bottom. But – knock on wood- the website should launch  May 30th and the store open on June 1st. Yippee! This time around in opening a bakery, we are really hands-on, and in that process, we are learning so much.  As well as Andrew seizing...

Diary of a new bakery – Week 2

Our friend Peter Phoa came to the bakery last week and took this photo of Andrew. I love it. Last week in this blog I suggested just doing the next obvious thing when you have a lot to do and let me say: this is a good strategy for opening a bakery. Really everywhere you look there is stuff to do. I’m sure in hindsight a lot of it will be wrong – like when we had the brainwave before we opened...

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