Working Women Wednesday is a bi-weekly highlight of the hard-working and wonderful women within the Girl Gang.
This week’s feature focuses on Maggie Simenc, owner & operator of Sweet Little Things CLE.
Your Local Girl Gang : Tell us about your business. What is your mission statement? When did you launch?
Maggie Simenc : Sweet Little Things CLE is a small, home bakery that I’ve been running since 2012 while I was in college. My mission is to produce from scratch, handmade pastries that utilize as many local products as possible. I’ve crafted and tinkered all of the recipes to be uniquely mine, putting my own twist on them all.
YLGG : When and how did the idea for Sweet Little Things come to you?
MS : Sweet Little Things came about on day when I was trying to figure out if a cupcake recipe I made went poorly due to either the recipe, or just poor execution. There were lots of experiments coming out of my parents’ kitchen, and lots of family and classmates being guinea pigs for new recipes. It finally came to a point where everyone started to tell me they would pay for cupcakes because they loved them so much. It snowballed from there, and now I have over 100 flavors for cupcakes alone, along with French macarons, tarts, puff-tarts (homemade “poptarts”), oatmeal jumble bars, etc. The name “Sweet Little Things” came from the four little girls in my extended family that were born within a year of each other. They were our “Sweet Little Things” and are my little cupcakes princesses.
YLGG : Growing up, what was your dream job?
MS : My dream job growing up actually changed and developed many times. I went from wanting to be an artist, a teacher, a chef, a dietitian, and then landed in my current role of being a Regulatory Specialist as my full time job. I make sure all food labels are meeting regulations, and that the nutrition fact panels are correct for consumers. My bakery is still something I do on the side, but there are many days (weeks.. months..) where it feels like I am working two full times jobs with the amount that I bake for orders!
YLGG : What is the best piece of business advice you have received?
MS : The best advice I’ve received was to stay grounded, and not pay attention to others who are doing the same thing. It will drive you crazy, and will pull you into a dark hole that you really shouldn’t be. It’s so easy to look at other people, their lives, their businesses, and compare yourself to them. You should really be focused on yourself, and being confident in what you do, and that will show.
YLGG : What characteristic do you most admire in other entrepreneurial women?
MS : I admire their drive. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur, and ever more so being female on top of that. The drive I see in these other women is so inspiring, and helps me keep pushing forward through the struggles.
YLGG : What piece of advice would you give to women starting their own business?
MS : Be your own advocate. You can only rely on other so much to help push you and your business forward, you need to do a lot of the work yourself. Promote the hell out of yourself, and talk to as many other businesses as you can. Create those relationships and connections, they will come in handy one day.
YLGG : What do you like most about your workspace?
MS : Right now my workspace is my own kitchen. I love it because the setup is perfect for my needs. I can be at home while I bake, and simultaneously spend time with friends and family while still prepping orders. Since I do work full time on top of having a small business, it’s not ideal to work out of an industrial kitchen once I’m finished with my day job. I would never see my loved ones, so the kitchen in my home is perfect to still do that while I work.
YLGG : Have any mistakes shaped the way you run your business today?
MS : There have been some mistakes, like taking on too many events in a single day, that have helped me figure out how to schedule things in the future. You really can have too much of a good thing sometimes, and as a one person operation, you can really only do so much at once!
YLGG : What is something you could not go a day without ?
MS : One thing I could not go a day without is talking to my loved ones. I have an hour commute to work, so talking with them and catching up really helps the drive, along with my mood. They are my rocks, and just being able to chat about nothing for an hour really helps my sanity.
YLGG : Name a woman, past or present, who you admire.
MS : I know it sounds cliché, but I admire my mom. She has always been so open and honest with us kids, and is such a strong woman. She may have days where it’s a struggle, but she always puts on a strong, brave demeanor that has taught us it’s ok to have bad day, but don’t let them define you. She’s an advocate for everyone who needs it, and is the greatest person to talk through things with. Thankfully, I come from a tight-knit family, who are a large support group of amazing women. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have started Sweet Little Things.