It’s fair to say that most people would prefer an early morning routine of rolling out fresh chocolate croissants to a 9 to 5 desk job. But how do you get there? How do pin down your dreams fast enough to make a career out of them?
After realizing she wasn’t cut out for the daily grind of cubicle life, Sandra Holl decided to buckle down and follow her heart by attending culinary school. At that time, she knew she wanted to be her own boss and make the food she wanted to make. Seeing the opportunities at Chicago’s Green City Market, Sandra decided that opening her own booth would be a low-risk way of starting a business. There she and her husband, Mathieu, used it as a venue to test out their rustic, French pastries and built a name for themselves. Eventually, a brick and mortar space was next step. In 2010, Floriole Café and Bakery’s doors opened in Chicago’s quaint Lincoln Park neighborhood.
When I asked Sandra what the most rewarding part of her job was, she replied,
“I love that I have a family business. I work with my husband and can bring my daughter to work with me. She sees how hard I work and is so proud of her mama. She often tells customers, “This is my mom’s bakery.””
There is no greater feeling than to bring creativity and light to the world through the smile a chocolate hazelnut cookie can yield, while inspiring your own daughter and nudging her along to the discovery that she too can do the same with a little elbow grease and determination.
Here are a few tips from Sandra for anyone striving towards a similar path:
1. Find a chef you admire and work with her or him. Absorb as much of their knowledge as you can, then move on and learn more.
2. Perfect the basics before you get creative. No one really wants a wasabi curry cupcake but everyone wants a perfect slice of peach pie.
3. Everything breaks. Learn how to fix things yourself.
4. Know that you will work seven days a week. Even when you are off, you will run errands for the business, answer calls and emails and when the security alarm goes off in the middle of the night, you will go make sure that it was only a false alarm.