Name: Jessica Glass
Business/Location: In the Company of Yum / Montclair, NJ
Specialty: Seasonal pies and sweet potato goodness bars, AKA Yamgazms.
What problem does your business solve?: I provide sweet tooth satisfying treats and convenient meal prep options for individuals, families, or parties of 15 or less.
What makes your business unique?: My experience as a barista, bartender, and server has made me an expert at creating food pairings that make taste buds happy. I also develop a seasonal menus and customize orders based on individual tastes. I'm a flavor profile geek!
What’s your story?: My Grandma passed down her coveted sweet potato pie recipe to me when I was around 12 years old and taught me her technique for cooking with your senses. A few years ago, one of my girlfriends sampled one of my pies and ordered a few to serve during the holidays. The rest is history, education, and evolution.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Have a good team. This is not only necessary in your business but in your personal life as well. Not everyone will understand your vision, and many will find your ideas crazy at times, but I would not be where I am without an AMAZING support network of cheerleaders, taste testers, mentors, business associates, and friends.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: Your customers’ taste buds are not your own, and it may be possible that your best seller is something you didn't expect. Be open to different target markets and product variations,. Flexibility is necessary.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: Packaging and shipping is my greatest challenge. I am in the process of reviewing a couple designs so that my packaging is more uniform and recognizable. Shipping pies practically requires a whole army to ensure the crust and lattice work arrive safely, so I am exploring cost effective methods for doing so.
What are you most proud of about your business?: It has been incredibly rewarding to see my business coming into its own. I went from a self-taught baker and cook who started a business making one item, to having seasonal menus, participating in festivals, and collaborating with other entrepreneurs, I'm extremely blessed and very proud of all of the support that I have received throughout the years.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur? I am in an industry that blends history, artistry, innovation, and love in the most beautiful way. It's a ton of work, but when you do something that you love, and it's all yours to boot, that's the end game right there. Food connects us all, makes us smile, feel joy, and honor tradition. To be in a business surrounded by that, I know that I have all I need in my life!
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