Melissa first met Jen years ago at a terribly organized event where she had a table for her event planning business and Jen had one for her business directly across from one another. They became fast-friends bonding over the bad event and delicious treats on Jen's table. Some years later, Sugarsuckle has exploded and can be seen and tasted everywhere! Especially in her brand new, beautiful kitchen! Jen created this as a working mom of two and makes it look effortless. We were so excited to sit down with her and chat more about this powerhouse mom boss and her DELICIOUS business!
You’ve made the leap into owning a brick and mortar- what is one thing that surprised you the most about owning a storefront?
I dreamed about opening a brick and mortar because I had such a passion for baking and decorating. After I opened and settled in, I am actually spending less time practicing the craft and spending more time strategizing and running a business. I miss working with my hands and the materials, but I am enjoying my new role as a team leader and am very determined to make Sugarsuckle a profitable business that will be around for awhile in Hoboken.
Work/life balance is so hard! What is your best advice to other mom bosses?
I try to ignore this concept of work/life balance, because I know I can never achieve it and don't want to set myself up for constant failure. You don't need to feel guilty about working long hours if it's required, or simply working if it's what makes you happy. In the bakery business, December is the busiest month of the year and I barely saw my two little ones for the first 3 weeks. Once the busy season was over, I made it a priority to spend more quality time with each of them. You just do what you can with the time you have!
Your branding is obviously very important to you, and you make it look so seamless across all of your cakes, materials, photos, instagram, etc. What is your best advice to a business that needs to determine their branding?
Think hard about your customer avatars and what they might want to see/do. It's much easier to make decisions about what photos to post, captions to write, projects to say "no" to, etc. when you know who your audience is.
When you do get a break from business and mom life, where are your favorite local date night spots?
The breaks don't come often enough, but the last one was at Corto in JC Heights! (Editor's Note: We think Jen's on to something here since Corto was named one of the best date night spots in the LH Annual Favorites Awards!)
Do you eat cookies all day?
It seems like it, right? But noooooo.
Besides Sugarsuckle, what are your favorite local eats?
We know you clock in a lot of hours at the bakery. What is something you hope your children take away from watching mommy work so hard?
Success doesn't get handed to you. It takes a lot of sacrifice and hard (and smart!) work. As a new business, you don't know what will work right away, so you need to try, and try again.
What is the best business advice anyone ever gave you? How about the worst?
Source unknown, but I picked this up somewhere along my entrepreneurial journey-- that building meaningful relationships is important, especially with other businesses in your industry. Instead of viewing everyone as a competitor, find a way to partner, collaborate, or even just commiserate together.
Worst advice? I can't think of one! I must have permanently erased it from my memory.
10. A day in the life of Jen. Go!
6:30-7:15 AM - Wake up to a few alarms (I'm not a morning person!)
7:45 AM - Push kids and their dad out the door
8:00 AM-11:00 AM - chug coffee, tackle emails, (inquiries, sketches, proposals) and some admin work
11:00 AM-5:00 PM - studio time (making the task list and schedule, overseeing production, laughing and goofing around with my team)
5:00 PM-7:00 PM - time to pick up the kids from school, make dinner, and chow down together with the fam. Fun times!
7:00 PM-??? - During busy times, I head back to the studio to help out the PM team. If not, it's time for wine (or a strong margarita...depending on the day) and Netflix!
Be sure to check out Jen's website for all of her upcoming workshops, pop-ups, and events. Remember you get 10% off of them with your LH Hook-Up Card! Follow her on Instagram @sugarsuckle to never miss an update!