Tianna Gawlak of The Bakery Box on launching a modern and self-service bakery

Tianna Gawlak_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

The Bakery Box is a brand of dessert ATMs that offer luxurious mini cakes and macarons 24 hours a day.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

COVID-19 hit traditional bakeries hard, I was really disappointed to see some of my favorite dessert spots close their doors. However, I saw it as the best time to launch a modern, self-service bakery.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I worked in healthcare for most of my professional career, my Master’s is in health administration.

Abstract empty smooth light pink studio room background, Use as montage for product display,banner,template

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

No, I sorely lacked the confidence to believe I could start something from scratch and be solely responsible for its success. But now that I’m doing it- I can’t believe I waited this long!

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

The Bakery Box launched in December of 2020. I worked with local magazines and newspapers to announce the grand opening. It went better than planned, I sold out for nearly two weeks straight.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

During the launch, I was not prepared for how many things could go wrong. Running out of inventory, technical and packaging issues, etc. I learned quickly how to power through problems efficiently. 

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I am most proud of opening The Bakery Box with two small kids at my side. Plus knowing that the community loves the concept as much as I do!

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

I’m not hiring yet, but I will be searching for delivery drivers next year. I was responsible for hiring in my previous job, and it always amazed me that candidates could rock an interview, say all the right things, but show up for their first day as a completely different person. Hiring is hard, but hiring for a position that directly affects YOUR business is even harder.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

As mentioned above, COVID-19 was a huge reason why I opened The Bakery Box when I did. Seeing traditional bakeries close doors due to imposed restrictions was disheartening, but I saw it as an opportunity to launch a new, non-traditional approach to fresh desserts.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

This year, I’m beginning the first stage of expansion around the city of Chicago. Once things are running as efficient and smooth as possible, I can explore moving into other states. The idea of going nationwide in the future fuels my drive!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

You can have your cake and eat it, too.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

There will be challenges and headaches at every stage of owning/operating a business.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

My kids keep me grounded, for sure. At the end of the day, it’s their slobbery kisses that recharge me for another day.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I still struggle with work/life balance. I often feel like I can either be a great mom & wife OR a great business owner, but being great at all of it requires magical superpowers I haven’t been granted yet!

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

Last year, I published a children’s picture book titled “When You Dream of Chocolate Cake”. During the release of the book, my kids and I were traveling to bookstores at all hours of the day. One evening, my 3-year-old had a total meltdown over wanting to stop at a bakery for chocolate cake. I explained to her that bakeries were closed, but it ultimately inspired the entire concept of The Bakery Box.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

A perfect cup of coffee, having specific goals for the day, and scheduling downtime- even if it’s only a few minutes.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

When I hear the word “entreprenista” I think of a woman who operates a business like a total boss and looks good doing it.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Michele Henry of FACE FOUNDRIÉ on why she leans into her fears, and the importance of dreaming big

Describe FACE FOUNDRIÉ in a few words? Efficient and effective focused facial bar specializing in all things face, facials, lashes, brows, and skincare. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I worked in my parents’ small inground pool business from age 13 all the way through college. Being an entrepreneur is…

Ashley Spriggs of Pivot Media on the power of genuine relationships

Describe your business in a few words? We are a media firm that gets your message the attention it deserves. We offer services in Public Relations and Podcast Management. What made you take the leap to start your own business? It was the right time! I was growing my client list as an independent contractor…

Mary Allard of The Third Place podcast on inviting listeners to explore uncomfortable conversations in a safe space

Describe your business in a few words? The Third Place podcast is a weekly podcast that invites listeners into the hard conversations that we have a tendency to avoid. It is a podcast that “goes there,” within a safe place where curiosity is encouraged, differences are welcomed, and empathy is embraced through healthy dialogue. What…

Kelsea Olivia of East Olivia Creative on creating experiences that spark curiosity, joy, and connection

Describe your business in a few words? East Olivia is a boutique creative agency that specializes in large-scale floral installations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been starting businesses since I was a child, selling my crafts and babysitting. As an adult, I had an innate desire to…

Tiffany Roman of Small Biz Highlight on creating a platform to help small businesses thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Small Biz Highlight is a web show, created to help introduce the people behind a small/local business, their products and services, and discuss how COVID affected them. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Back in April 2020, COVID shutdowns were in full effect…

11 Mamaprenistas share their best productivity tips to manage a business and a family

1) Tierney Larkin, Founder at Larkin Living Spaces: “Be sure to have a designated space to work that is just for you and your business. It can be a makeshift office in the corner of a room, or even a traveling cart that you can take around with you to store all of your supplies…

How Two Entreprenistas Launched & Scaled Their Business on Shopify in 30 Days

Within 9 years, Stephanie Cartin and Courtney Spritzer have bolstered the presence of over 300 women-owned companies — all through social media strategy, platform management, influencer marketing, paid media and creative service. Given their success with Socialfly, Steph and Courtney recently decided to create a podcast called Entreprenistas, which provides a community to celebrate and…

Sarah Kallile of Lunnie on building the first community-led brand for modern mothers

Describe Lunnie in a few words? Community-led brand for modern mothers. We’re reinventing the nursing bra. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’m a mom of two young girls. While breastfeeding my second daughter, I was frustrated with my clunky nursing bra and how it made me feel frumpy. I…

Ramy Sharp on launching Ramy Brook to fill a void in the marketplace, and what inspired her to take the leap

Describe Ramy Brook in a few words? Happy, Sexy and Strong! Ramy Brook is female owned and operated, stemming from one woman’s dream to uplift, empower and celebrate women. The apparel, accessories and swimwear collections transcend generational dressing, offering something for anyone looking for a vibrant and celebrational style. My vision is for women who…

Charlotte Michailidis of Parenthood Ventures on fueling the next wave of innovation for early stage ParentTech

Describe your business in a few words? Parenthood Ventures is the founder ecosystem for early stage ParentTech – i.e., startups serving parents, from fertility to teens.  Companies in our community span sub-sectors like caregiving, employee benefits, food, physical goods, digital health, retail, clothing, education, media/entertainment and fintech.  The objective is to fuel the next wave…

Vanessa Coppes of BELLA Media + Co on how determining who her customer was changed her business

Describe BELLA Media + Co in a few words? Lifestyle media company sharing content and resources for living a beautiful life. What made you take the leap to start your own business? My mental health. Launching my business literally saved my life. I was suffering from postpartum depression and needed a creative outlet. I launched…

Ingrid He of the Sjogren’s Tracker app on using her creativity to help people with autoimmune disorders manage their symptoms

Describe your business in a few words? Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) Tracker is an app that helps people with autoimmune disorders manage their symptoms and flares. We aim to help our users better understand their conditions and identify triggers to their flares. Our mission is to create innovative solutions to improve the lives of users and facilitate…

Bari Koral of Yogapalooza on pioneering kids yoga with Yogapalooza!

Describe your business in a few words? Bari Koral is a Kids Yoga Pioneer and recording artist. Bari inspires thousands of parents, teachers and young children every day with her kids yoga, music and mindfulness activities and popular YouTube channel. What made you take the leap to start your own business? After burning out on…

Angelica Hanley of ACouplePuns on growing her business while staying 100% true to herself, and the biggest lessons she has learned over the years

Describe your business in a few words? ACouplePuns specializes in sparking joy through laughter and delivers the punniest content and high-quality paper goodies for every special occasion and moment in-between. Whether your bestie loves her house plants, binge-watching Friends, or drinking coffee, ACouplePuns has a punny card for that!   What made you take the leap…

Kelly DuFord Williams of Slate Law Group on disrupting the traditional law firm space and building a business where employees can thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Slate Law Group is a forward-thinking, accessible San Diego-based boutique law firm that provides legal, tax and HR services for small to medium sized businesses and corporations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was inspired to start my own business because I…