This month we interviewed Jessica, aka The Stubborn Baker. Find out what inspires her, and why she once ended up eating Camel!
Jessica runs her custom baking company out of the Commissary Connect Kitchens, she also often hosts decorating workshops at the pop-up space on site. Check out her website and Instagram for updates on the next workshop and to see her beautiful creations!
How was the idea for your business born?
- My love for baking started as a child. I grew up watching my Mother and Grandmother create delicious desserts for Holidays and was keen to get involved in the process for as long as I can remember. My love for the decorating side of things came a bit later in life. When I was 15 years old I had an accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury and left me quadriplegic. As I learned to adapt to my new life I found myself struggling with the loss of hobbies that I previously loved but could no longer do and was desperately looking for something to fill that void. Cake decorating ended up being a big piece of that — I took all of the Wilton courses that were offered by Michaels at the time and have been absorbing as much information from my environment and honing my skills ever since. It took a 4 year English degree, a brief venture into the event planning sphere, a 2 year hiatus to play wheelchair rugby and a whole lot of cakes for friends and family to realize that I wanted baking and decorating to be a bigger part of my life, so in 2018 I decided to go back to school to study Baking and Pastry Arts and continue to fine-tune my skills. At the end of that program I was left with a decision — search for a job working for someone else or start a business that would be all mine and would allow me to bake and create the things I felt most passionate about — I suppose the rest is history!
Where did the name ‘The Stubborn Baker’ come from?
- The name ” The Stubborn Baker” came from 12 years of living as a quadriplegic and learning the challenges that come with this life and the perseverance necessary to fully embrace it. “Stubborn” became my mantra, because it was the mentality that allowed me to take the worst case scenarios and flip them upside down. Though it isn’t often used as a positive, I truly feel that stubbornness has allowed me to overcome the daily challenges, and nay-sayers. So when it came time to pick a name that represented me, my journey, and what I hope will be the future of my business, I couldn’t think of a better place to start than with The Stubborn Baker.
Whats the best thing for you about being an entrepreneur?
- The best part about being an entrepreneur, in my opinion, is having the ability to choose exactly what matters to me in my business. In today’s world I feel like speed is often prioritized over quality and I absolutely refuse to compromise my finished product. Starting this business has allowed me to create a world where I am allowed to take that extra time to produce a product I’m truly proud of without feeling the external pressure of “just get it done”. Being a part of this community of entrepreneurs has also been incredibly eye-opening. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by others with the same drive to get up and make it happen and see the ways in which that mentality has allowed their businesses to flourish.
Favorite cafe in Vancouver?
Which one meal would you want to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
- Nanaimo Bars… or poutine… or sushi…how the heck am I supposed to pick just one?
What was the first dish you learned to cook?
- Sugar cookies! Feels appropriate since these days baking and decorating sugar cookies seems to make up about 90% of my waking hours.
Most memorable dinner you have ever had?
- As a child I grew up on a sailboat and circumnavigated the world with my family – we were once in Oman and invited for dinner by a local man that served us camel – not sure if that’s the kind of memorable you mean, but I certainly haven’t forgotten it!
Who inspires you the most?
- My family. I’ve been blessed to have been raised by parents and an older sister that taught me to chase my dreams. I’ve watched them reach their own personal goals and seeing their success has allowed me to grow up with the confidence to chase my own.
What are your goals for 2020?
- This business is brand new (I officially launched in October 2019), and like any new little life, I want nothing more than to see it grow and thrive. Hoping 2020 will be the start of an exciting chapter of discovery and growth.
Career highlight so far?
- Honestly it is such an honour to be trusted to create custom desserts for people’s most special moments that the highlight has always been, and I’m certain always will be, getting to bring a little bit of delicious joy into my customer’s lives. Life is short, why not make it sweet?