You’re lying on a beach soaking up the sun at 11 am. Or maybe you’re traveling with your partner through Europe seeking out adventure. I’m not talking about going on vacation. I’m talking about retirement. That lovely time in the distant future where the world is your oyster and the possibilities are endless. Or are they? That depends on what you save in your 401(k) today.
Females in Food Member Spotlight
This month, we are so excited to share the transformation journey of Christina Whitney and highlight her incredible business, skills, and insight in becoming an entrepreneur in the food industry. In this short Q&A Christina opens up about her journey from nursing to baking and how she has built a business that delivers joy, creativity, and delicious baked goods to a raving customer base in Omaha NE.
Q. Tell us about yourself and your company.
A. I’m a self-taught baker and cake designer with a passion for creating high-quality, handcrafted pastries and baked goods, I focus on using quality ingredients like those that are local, organic, and natural.
My love of baking stems all the way back to my grandma’s kitchen. Watching my grandma’s process of gathering her ingredients, measuring everything with precision and baking masterpieces. I use this same approach and then add in my own creative abilities and new techniques to decorate and design to perfection.
Q. What has your career path entailed?
A. I started out baking as a way to decompress after long and often difficult days while I was practicing as a nurse. I would bring what I had made into the hospital/work for my coworkers and staff. Quickly, my hobby grew into a second job, and I found myself longing for surrounding myself with baking full time. It brought me so much joy, freedom and creativity. Three years ago, I put in my two weeks notice and left my nursing career to start my business, and it has been an amazing, wild ride since. While I do miss my old coworkers, patients, and aspects of my job I am so happy I made the leap!
Q. What accomplishments you are most proud of?
A. Starting a business and continually growing over the last three years. I, often can’t believe I have the privilege of doing what I do.
Q. What advice and insights do you have for others who might be thinking of starting their own business?
A. After working in the medical field for 20 years (5 years as a patient care tech, 12 years as an operating room nurse and 3 years specializing as a nurse in wounds and ostomy care) I started to realize how quickly life can be taken from us. With a desire to have no regrets later in life, coupled with my frustration of the healthcare system and my growing baking hobby, I knew I needed to go for it. While it was scary, and I had no idea how to start/run a business, (I still don’t feel like I do!) I had so many people who were cheering me on. My close friends, co-workers, patients and last but definitely not least, my incredible significant other who has been my biggest supporter, pumping me up and giving me guidance/words of advice the whole way. I’m really fortunate I have so many people who believe in me and what I do…often more than I do in myself. So, if you’re thinking about making your passion your job, I say go for it! Start out slow, maybe cut your hours back to part-time at your current job before jumping right in. Figure out how much money you need to make each month to pay the bills/etc and go from there. While I’m not making the same income as I was as a nurse, I’m so much happier and healthier, and that is what matters most to me!
Q. What do you enjoy doing most in your free time?
A. Hiking. Biking. Reading. Camping.
Q. What advice do you have for others considering entrepreneurship in the F&B industry or those working to pivot their business due to COVID-19?
A. Be flexible. Your best-laid plan most likely will not work out exactly as you wanted. Be open-minded. Think outside of the box and ask yourself what is missing on the market that you know people will need/want.
Money is great. It helps us buy the things we need, like a roof over our heads and food on the table. It also affords us the opportunity to buy what we want, like a good bottle of wine or a plane ticket to a tropical destination. As the saying goes, money makes the world go round. But then why is it that we work every day to make money, and yet, we’re not always the best at taking care of it?
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