Janie @ Janie Bakes: Rebounding with Baked Goods
Janie Deegan | WE RULE Partner

The Janie’s tagline is “life-changing baked goods” for good reason.  Not only am I totally changing lives with my delicious treats but, baking changed my life in a profound way. In my early 20’s, my life was torn apart by addiction. I found myself homeless, penniless, and phoneless (if you can even imagine!!).  Baking had always held a special place in my heart and it helped me once again find hope, strength and inspiration as I climbed out of the darkness of addiction. 

Before Thanksgiving 2015, fueled by the encouragement of my friends and acquaintances, I challenged myself to see if I could sell just 1 pie. I sold dozens! With those pies, Janie’s (formally Janie Bakes) was officially born and quickly proved that it was small but strong and that just like me, it wouldn’t give up.  It has grown from a tiny business built in my kitchen to one selling to huge companies like Chase and Estee Lauder. I am now working on wholesaling and retailing my one of a kind Pie Crust Cookie, which has a cult following who I call my cookie groupies.

It would be a dream to be… mentored by Christina Tosi because she is a creative genius with all things sugar-related.

New York is amazing city to do business in because… the AMAZING free resources for small business owners.  Seriously!  We always hear about the struggle of being a small business owner, which is very real, but the other side is the crazy amount of organizations, like WE Rule, WE NYC, Start Small Think Big, Columbia SBDC, and Hot Bread Kitchen, to name a few. There is an incredible network of other small business owners that I have found, many of whom are now like family. We share tips, encouragement and tears, and are nonstop supportive of each other.

If I could get advice from one person it would be… the most exciting innovation to me is My Pie Crust Cookie, because it's perfect, and delicious and is going to take NYC by a storm.  Plus its an exciting innovation to everyone who try it.

Can you share a story from an event or a meeting that happened because of WE NYC that influenced you or the business in any way? What was it? Why was it impactful?

I attended one mentoring session and Cody Jacobs remembered me and reached out to me to be part of this amazing  free photo shoot that has been featured on WE RULE.

What do you think is amazing about doing business in New York? What resources do the women entrepreneurs of NYC need?

How supportive we are of each other. 

What did you want to do when you were a child? What changed since? Why?

I wanted to be a movie director, and then, once I won a few Oscars, I would open some restaurants.  Everything changed.  This business chose me.  I turned to baking to give me inspiration during a very dark time in my life and it evolved into a business.  When I am feeling super grateful and slightly meta, it feels like I am being allowed to witness the birth and evolution of this company, and I am just lucky enough to be pulled along for the ride  ( with a lot of work and very little sleep). I know that I am doing exactly what I want to do and am supposed to do, and rarely imagine a different path.

Imagine you can choose how your future in 5 years looks like. What is it? Why?

I hope I am just as excited by building this business as I am right now.  I hope that I am not burnt out and still have passion. I hope that I am not spending every waking hour in the kitchen anymore and have a full staff to help me.  I would love to have built a company that nurtures women, especially those who have lost their way.  I aspire to be a second chance employer for those who have a criminal record and for those who have years of gaps on their resumes due to addiction, mental illness etc.

This post originally appeared on WE-RULE.com.

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