For Episode 85 of Amplify Your Business, we’re joined by Trisha Bower of Eat My Shortbread. Trisha is the founder and Chief Baking Officer, here to talk to us about the long road that’s leading her to the goal of a piece of shortbread in the mouth of every Canadian!
(1:54) Tell me a little bit about your business and why you created Eat My Shortbread?
A long time ago, I tasted shortbread and knew there was something special there. As the youngest of 7 children and the daughter of two entrepreneurs, I knew I’d own a business someday, and my love of shortbread made this a natural fit.
I wanted to put something unique out into the world through baked goods. Something that would cut no corners. This made it so that while I could take credit for the successes, I also owned the failures.
(8:27) “Eat My Shortbread” is a very unique name—what can you tell me about that?
If you can’t tell by now, I value humour and won’t take life too seriously. A name should reflect that. The name is a derivative of Bart Simpson’s “eat my shorts” quote—a call to action, a disarming name, a joke all in one.
Even if we do other things as a company, the name stays in people’s minds. I want that name to be synonymous with premium baked goods.
(10:50) Let's get into your entrepreneurial journey. You started the business back in 1995, but it wasn’t until 2014 that you turned the company into your full-time job. That’s a long time to foster a business—what held you back from jumping in with two feet?
I had three reasons not to do it—my three children. But that meant I also had three reasons to do it! I wanted to show them that you can make a living on your passion while also being a friend, spouse, parent, whatever you choose to be.
It’s terrifying to stop receiving a steady paycheque. I took baby steps—I know myself, my product, and the marketplace. I had to treat myself with kindness through the journey and what I could handle in the business.
There are risks, and it's not for the faint of heart. I was a solo parent at the time, trying to figure it out. If I could give advice today to help people decide when to leave their day job, I’d ask, “how ready do you feel? How ready are you to take on the work?”
I’d ask myself, “if this fails, can I look to something else?” Focus on your skills, what you offer, and all the movement you can have in any direction.
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(17:20) What has been the secret to your success so far?
Knowing myself, knowing my capabilities, and staying in my line. Laser focus—I know what I can do. If the market changes or hops on trends, I stick to what I do well and what my customers want. I would also say that I do more listening than talking.
Plenty of entrepreneurs will tell you that when any opportunity comes along, you should say yes. What I see now is that, no, it doesn’t always work for you. When you leave the gates as an entrepreneur, you want to make money doing anything you can. I would say to new entrepreneurs that “maybe” is often as good an answer as yes—focus on your pricing, your strengths, and your value. Be calm and deliberate.
When you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to everything else. That distraction might give you a little bump in revenue but might be a long-term strategic mistake.
(22:15) Some of the best lessons come from mistakes. Do you have any you could share with our audience?
Where do I start? Forecasting is difficult—sales, supplies, events, your time, everything. You forget how long it takes to accomplish certain tasks, especially as a parent.
Secondly, you need to make time for yourself. Not just the big things, but simple life tasks like reading, taking care of your aging parents, and meditating. You need to find that balance and maintain it.
“If the company's leadership is tired, stressed out, or distracted, the business won’t thrive.”
That’s right—if you make a self-care plan, you’re not reacting to stress; you’re responding. Building your personal toolkit for stress management and panic will give you a fantastic resource.
(28:00) If you could go back in time to any point, where would you travel to, and what would you tell yourself?
So many little things like branding, matching t-shirts, the equipment I didn’t need… In hindsight, I should have made shortbread and sold it. Make sure that you’re hiring the right people, especially people that are smarter than you. Look for people that ask you questions about how they grow and how they can use their skills within the company.
(31:51) How can people find and buy your product?
Online is the best way. I have a very robust e-commerce setup, which is probably what saved my business during the pandemic. In Ontario, we are in both smaller and larger retail stores. My tagline was to have a piece of shortbread in the mouth of every Canadian by 2020. Now, it’s my goal by 2022.
Are you a first-time purchaser? Enter “bakemehappy10” and receive 10% off! Thank you, Trisha, for joining us, and we look forward to sharing your goods with our team!
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