Jenn Hardin of Cinsational Sweet Treats

How did you start your business? 
I started my business after I had baked for friends’ fundraisers in Cincinnati because I really enjoyed baking and was always willing to help with a good charitable cause. After the third event, there was a great deal of interest, and I started to realize that I could potentially create a business out of my passion.

I was about to accept a position here in Cincinnati that fit my background as an IT recruiter, but I was so drawn to the possibility that I could make a living at what I really loved and just took a chance. I turned down the position and turned to friends and networking, earning my first regular account in October 2011. I also started picking up corporate functions and events in addition to private events such as birthdays, baby and bridal showers and weddings.

How did you come up with the idea for your business? 
I was already baking for events then made changes and developed my scope as I went along. My yearlong partnership with Bow Tie Café helped me transition into more of the coffee house/café pastries in addition to desserts, and I was able to streamline their vendors for pastries into one. I was able to take that concept and take a big chance: pitching what I could offer and what I knew I was good at to Nordstrom in November 2011. Today, they are the bulk of my business.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
I utilized friends in the business. I had the frame of mind that you don’t go back to college to get an MBA in finance, business, web design and development, nor did I have time to go to culinary school. I had friends and referrals in each of these fields so I picked up the phone and started calling.

Interview by Robin Donovan