Updated: Mar 15
I don’t really know where to begin. This is my first blog post ever so please be kind. I want to share our story and document this journey of growing into our own. I think it is going to be quite the adventure.
So…...I guess I’ll start by introducing myself and how I got started on this journey and a bit about our current expansion.
My name is Jenna, I am the mom of 3 wonderful, quirky, witty and sometimes challenging children. I am a wife. I am a daughter, grand daughter, sister, niece, , auntie, cousin and friend to many. I am proud of my Métis heritage. I love to spend time with my family and friends.( I also value my alone time) I love to spend time outdoors, I love being by the water and I am not a fan of crowds. I’m an avid gardener, I love real food…..the kind that’s not processed and as fresh as possible. I love to bake and cook(the kitchen is my happy place, especially after my husband cleans it 😂)! I enjoy learning new things (I am full of useless information and a great trivia partner).
I am resilient and determined and have a hard time giving up even when life's obstacles get in my way. I am a dreamer. I also happen to be legally blind, and involved with the CNIB as one of the venture zone entrepreneurs. I am deathly allergic to nuts (thanks to anaphylaxis setting in in my early 30’s). My love for food and feeding people started at a very young age! I have always wanted my own bakery or restaurant for as long as I can remember. I am now a business owner and the CEO/Director of Jenna’s Nut-Free Dessertery.
As a dreamer, my vision didn’t end at my humble farmers market booth. I have a passion of ensuring everyone and anyone can enjoy gourmet bakery style nut-free desserts at home without all the guesswork. Delicious without being deadly. We are about to release a line of nut-free craft baking mixes based on recipes I use at my bakery and we are also working on our own line of fresh stone ground flour.
Is it just me or does that sound like a dating profile? 🤣 Point is…. I wear many hats and wouldn’t have it any other way!
I am going to share a bit of how I got here and the experiences I've had growing my own business from the ground up! I warn you it will not be a fluffy story, it’s gonna be real and at times gritty but I hope you come along on this journey with me anyway. I’m sure my writing style will change along the way, as this is all new to me, but I feel like it’s a story worth sharing.
The beginning: I started my first business plan back in 2011. That is not a typo; this process has been a full decade of my life. In the beginning I wanted to start a small cheesecake company. I called it Cheesecakes by the Temptress 🤣🤣🤣🤣 a name I now find equally embarrassing and hilarious! I started writing my business plan, eager to try and start a small dessert catering business, mainly for weddings and events. Cheesecakes have been a specialty of mine since I was 13 so I wanted to run with it!!
I spoke with some party planners in the area, pitched my idea to them while they sampled my treats. To my delight, they thought it was a great idea. They threw me a soft launch to see if there was any interest in the city. A kindness I will never forget - thank you Nancy. For the soft launch they went through their industry contacts and invited Wedding planners, party planners, photographers to try my 2 bite cheesecakes. I got great feedback. I even did a wedding show to try to drum up interest with local brides. Again got great feedback. So I started looking into how to get that admittedly flimsy business plan up and running. Turns out it’s really not easy to get a bakery or catering company up and running.
Financing a new business and navigating bureaucracy is an absolute nightmare!!! I should mention I was a stay at home mom of 3 at this point. I also did stints bartending and working retail when my husband would get laid off (👉side note: Bartending while pregnant and having wee ones at home SUCKS…hats off to all you ladies who do it anyways!). We didn’t have the extra cash to get it started and financing was out of the question so it fizzled out. I did however put my name on the list to become a Vendor at the Boyce Farmers Market…..this will tie in again during another post.
The fact that the first attempt fizzled out was a blessing in disguise. My health was not optimal at the time and I had a long road of acceptance ahead of me as I learned of a new and progressing health condition - Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS is a connective tissue disease that affects all of your soft tissue and causes a host of secondary illnesses. Various other health concerns popped up in the few years that followed that could have destroyed anything that I would have started...so many surgeries and appts, travelling all over the country to see specialists 🤦🏻♀️! And this was all before I developed anaphylaxis or lost a good chunk of my eye sight.
As you can imagine, all of that is really hard on your head and motivation, add in parenting young children while your hubby worked out of province…...it’s a wonder we all survived!!
Of course I went through my denial phase, grief of what I thought I lost by having that label attached and finally acceptance that this is me. This is the same me that I was before being diagnosed…..the only real change was it now had a name. I was still in control of which way my life was going to go. I just may have to do things a little differently than most and that is OK!! I am very grateful I managed to persevere. Funny how staying true to yourself and not giving up on things you love to do can help bring peace and success in the end.
In my next post I’ll get into a little bit about the health problems that ultimately brought me to where I am today! Sometimes we just accept change and move on but when you embrace the change with all its obstacles and learn to work with them........truly amazing things can happen!
Until next time