“It [entrepreneurship] takes time, especially if you don't have the experience.” ~ Debbie Glanton
(Transcript available below)
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Heidi Higgins: Hi there. I'm Heidi Higgins and you are listening to K12 On Learning. In March we celebrate the role of women making history. As we get started today, please don't overlook the good that you are doing in whatever circumstance you may be in. It was Michelle Obama that said, "Don't ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. You are needed." Women have an interesting role, don't we? We rockthe cradle. We may lead nations. We love, we listen, we partner, we speak, we overcome hardships. We build relationships. We mentor, we educate. We know about home environments. We build businesses. In fact, according to the census taken in 2020, there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States.
Lulu founder and CEO, Alexandra Chong counsels, "Build something you're passionate about." As an entrepreneur, you have to have the passion and drive to stay the course. Today you will hear the story of a woman who is a small business owner. Despite challenging times, she stepped up to the plate and with hard work has found success. Debbie Glanton has received national accolades for her skills in baking, over the top cake decorating, and her community care initiatives. Many of our students, and maybe you, have dreamed about starting your own business. It's not an easy process, but as you hear Debbie's story, I hope you learn from her entrepreneurial lessons that it takes courage, willingness to dedicate time, money, extreme effort, every step of the way. She will share how she learns some things out of desperation. And she'll counsel other potential business owners here to learn from her experience. Debbie Glanton, welcome to the podcast.
Debbie Glanton: Thank you.
Heidi Higgins: Oh, Debbie, it's nice to have you here with us. Would you please share how long you've been in business and what made you decide to start a business?
Debbie Glanton: Been in business for 11 years. In 2009 that's when the economy crashed and I lost my job during that time. So I started looking for a job and couldn't find a job. So then I decided to take care of my grandson for about a year. Then I realized after that, that's not what I wanted to do. My daughter, my oldest daughter knew that I was bored and she's like, "Mom, why don't you do cakes?" I'm like, "Why would I do cakes?" And she said, "Well, you used to make cakes for us when we were growing up." So I'm like, "Yeah, I just hemmed and hawed about them." I'm like, "I don't know if I that's something I wanted to do." So I decided, after a while I said, "Let me start testing these out on some of my friends." I would have them come over and do some taste testings. And they're like, "Debbie, why aren't you doing this?" So I'm like, "Huh, maybe I should give it a try."
So I started making cakes from home. My focus at the time was to only focus on wedding cakes. Paul, he said, "Deb, you need to be focusing more on just wedding cakes. You can't sit here and just wait for wedding cake orders." So I said, "You know, you're right." So I started focusing a little bit more on a little bit of everything else. And I decided, "Okay, it's time to get out of my kitchen." It was just getting really chaotic. Moved out into a place, and I felt like, "Okay, this is going okay, is for me. Here we are." So.
Heidi Higgins: So you came out of a place where you pretty much had to reinvent yourself after you had lost your job?
Debbie Glanton: Yes. And a lot of people, I think at that time, because of there wasn't as many jobs available, a lot of people started doing something different than what they originally had planned. Yes, reinvented myself and it's been really good. I enjoy what I do. And I'm happy with the outcome and just can't wait to do more.
Heidi Higgins: Did you have any business experience before?
Debbie Glanton: No, just kind of did it on my own.
Heidi Higgins: Wow, Debbie, that took a lot of courage. Where did you learn your baking skills?
Debbie Glanton: Growing up, my mom, she usedto make cakes. That was her thing. She liked to make homemade cakes. I've never known her to make cupcakes, it was always cakes. And I'm thinking that's probably where I got it from. On the weekends she would make butter cakes, lemon cakes. That was her favorite, lemon cakes. I think maybe I just picked it up from her. But that's not something I wanted to do growing up or as a kid, wanting to bake all the time. I think because my mother did it for us. So yeah, I can say that I probably got those skills from her.
Heidi Higgins: So you went back to something you were familiar with and developed the skills that you have now? So has it become something you love? Do you enjoy it?
Debbie Glanton: I do. I do. I enjoy it. The best part for me is the decorating. Thekids' cakes are much more fun to do than any other type of cakes. Because I love to see how the kids, they get so excited when they see their cakes. The parents are really excited when they see it also.
Heidi Higgins: I'm going to include your Facebook page so our listeners can see some of these incredible cakes that you have put together. I am blown away by the intricacy of the design and the ones that you do for children are just as amazing as these spectacular wedding cakes. Where did you get that artistic ability?
Debbie Glanton: As a kid I used to sketch. I was pretty good at it. And I think a lot of that came from me being able to draw colors. And I just put that together with my cakes.
Heidi Higgins: They are spectacular. It's impressive. The color, style, flamboyance that you use. They're pretty great. And I've ordered one from you myself and have seen and enjoyed that my children were just thrilled. I think it was a carousel cake, and you did just a beautiful job with that.
Debbie Glanton: Oh gosh. That was a while ago, yes.
Heidi Higgins: That was some years ago, yes. Where did you get the name of your bakery?
Debbie Glanton: Lovee's came from my husband Paul's grandmother's name. We were sitting around, we couldn't, we were trying to think of a name for the bakery before we opened. Just couldn't figure it out. And then one day we were talking about his grandmother. And then he said, Lovey. And I've never met his grandmother. I'm like, "You know what? That sounds like a great name." I said, "Talk it over with your brother, see what he thinks." And he was like, "Yeah, I think that would be great to call it Lovee's." I couldn't get the correct spelling, but I was able to get another spelling that was available. I love the name and I think it just all mesh together.
Heidi Higgins: Names are challenges for businesses. You can't have the same as another. So I'm glad you were able to find one, a family name, which makes it precious to you and add some charm and warmth to the business. What does a day look like for someone who bakes cakes? And many of us-
Debbie Glanton: Oh my gosh.
Heidi Higgins: Yeah, I know you work hard.
Debbie Glanton: Well, I'll start out usually pretty early. I come in and I bake about anywhere from 10 to 12 different flavors a day of cupcakes and we usually keep cupcakes, bars and cookies in the bakery every day. It's like I have a assembly line per se. So I had to develop a schedule on what we have to do in the morning to get started. And it's usually focused on getting the cupcakes done, then getting the bars done, then getting the cookies done, and just trying to have everything ready by the time we open at 11:00 a.m. in the morning. Come close a few times where I wasn't ready in the morning, but we usually get it done.
Heidi Higgins: Even with an assembly line, sounds like you and your employees have to have quite a schedule and keep to it?
Debbie Glanton: I have to make sure that I have a schedule in order to get it all done, yes.
Heidi Higgins: I bet. What's the hardest part about having an employee, or the best part?
Debbie Glanton: Well, the best part is having a dedicated employee, and it's nice having wonderful people work for you and dedicated [inaudible 00:08:59].
Heidi Higgins: Well, that's what makes it great then.
Debbie Glanton: Yes.
Heidi Higgins: If you've got a team who can see your vision and help you carry it out. When you start a business, obviously there's going to be finances involved. Did you learn how to do that? Do you handle your own, or do you go for help when it came to handling the business and financial end of your [crosstalk 00:09:19]?
Debbie Glanton: Yes, I handle all of that myself. Paul does a little bit of it. He helps. I try to do all of that on my days off. Or any free time that I have I work on the financial end of it. But I do all of that myself, so.
Heidi Higgins: And how did you develop that skill?
Debbie Glanton: Trial and error, but it works out. I think I've been doing it so long that I developed a plan to make sure that everything is running smoothly, finding different ways to cut costs. And it takes time. Especially if you don't have the experience, you don't have the financial advisor and accountant. All of that is me. And I think I've done pretty good being able to do that by myself with thehelp of Paul.
Heidi Higgins: Well, your husband, Paul, I know has been your biggest advocate. He's certainly a great marketer because he sends out, he helps you send out some beautiful cake pictures and mentions all the accolades that you have received. And that's wonderful that you've got a family business there. That's pretty neat.
Debbie Glanton: Yes, he's good.
Heidi Higgins: He is. What has surprised you the most about business ownership?
Debbie Glanton: As a woman business owner it's been really good. I think for the most part people see me as a business owner, they appreciate it. They respect me because of the product that we put out.
Heidi Higgins: Well, that says a lot. You put out a great product. Of course, you know my favorite is your potato chip cookies. What do you wish you had known before you decided to go into business?
Debbie Glanton: Oh gosh. I wish I had known that I should have had a business plan. I wish I had known how much financially it would take. I wish I had known how much time that I would have had to invest. And those probably the most important aspects right there. I didn't know that I should have had a business plan. But I think I did pretty good not having one.
Heidi Higgins: So you've had to develop that over the years?
Debbie Glanton: Yes, yes. And then, financially we didn't use a loan. We did that on our own, and I'm proud of that part, not having to invest in a loan for the business.
Heidi Higgins: That's great. That probably helped some with stability and pressure. What advice would you offer a student or his or her family if they were thinking about starting their own business and maybe even a bakery?
Debbie Glanton: You know, I would tell them, first they need to do their research. Definitely have a business plan before they start. Figure out whether or not they want to use their own financial resources or if they want to get a loan for a business. Know that it's a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, a lot of dedication in order to be successful and not to give up, that's the main part. And of course, I've thought about it a few times, but I just couldn't. I had to set an example for my grandchildren, for our girls, just to give it a try. It won't hurt if you fail, you just get back up and try something else if that doesn't work.
Heidi Higgins: Good advice. Now, you have done much more than just create a business. You have offered the community. You've taken that Lovee's name and turned it into love and opened up your doors for the community in some very wonderful ways. Tell us about your pantry?
Debbie Glanton: Paul and I started the food pantry. It was in the middle of the pandemic. Because we knew that a lot of people didn't have resources. Things were tough for a lot of people. What made me start that, I had someone come in and ask me, "Did I know where to get food? They needed food." And that just broke my heart. So I went out my way and did something for that person. And then I talked to Paul about it and I said, "You know, I think we need to do something. We need to start a food pantry, see what happens." There was a lot of pantries I know out there, but I think the more that we have to offer people in different areas, different places would be good. And when we started that, we had a lot of great wonderful customers donating. We've had businesses donate to us. Companies send us donations to help out with the pantry.
And I just have to say, Utah is a wonderful community. They do anything and everything to help, and it's been great. People still bring things in. And we take non-perishable food items. And we also did toys for Christmas. This was the first time we decided to do toys. Because I had someone call me and say, "Hey, are you guys donating toys for Christmas?" And that didn't dawn on me. I'm like, "We should be doing that also." So we started the toy drive and then we had so many people bringing in toys and it is just folks are just wonderful and will do anything to help. We donated also ourselves lots and lots of donations. It's been awesome.
Heidi Higgins: Many families listening today have access to Stride Career Prep courses and extracurricular activities that will help them with their future entrepreneurial interests. So I want these families and students to learn that you are having success, Debbie, because of your hard work, but also because your business gives back to the community. You have a loyal customer base and new ones coming in all the time. And many businesses, especially food businesses did not survive pandemic closures, but yours did, and is in more demand than ever. In fact, in February Lovee's bakery was featured as a bakery spotlight in dawnfoods.com magazine that's online and distributed nationally to artisanal bakeries, supermarket bakeries, food service, and food manufacturers. In other words, your peers. The article celebrates your story like we're doing today, and mentions how you have become the go-to bakery in Utah for high quality specialty cakes and outrageous homemade desserts. And they even list a few.
I'm familiar with your potato chip cookies. Absolutely incredible. I have to mention them again, but the article lists many more. Chocolate covered bacon strips, apple and cherry crisps, pineapple bars, peanut butter bars, chocolate cheesecake bites, and an assortment of 121 cupcake flavors. Wow. Of special note though is your community contribution with the food pantry that's open year round and shows that you listen to and participate in meeting the needs of those near you. What more could we ask of a business? Congratulations.
Debbie Glanton: Thank you, appreciate it.
Heidi Higgins: So, what do you see? Can you picture Lovee's five years from now?
Debbie Glanton: Yes. So Paul and I talked about this and we would love to open another location somewhere, maybe a couple more locations. That'sthe plan.
Heidi Higgins: Well, the popularity says that you'll be able to do it. Debbie Glanton of Lovee's Cakes, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. For sharing your experience as you started your own business. And I certainly hope that oneof those Lovee's franchises, Lovee's Cakes franchises ends up in a neighboring state near me. Thank you so much for being here.
Debbie Glanton: Thank you, Heidi. I appreciate it.
Heidi Higgins: Thank you. Thank you for listening to K12 On Learning, sponsored by Stride. To learn more about online public schools, powered by Stride K12, Stride Career Prep programs that foster lifelong learning, or any of the private school or individual course offerings, please go to stridelearning.com or k12.com. Special thanks to 3K Studios for providing the music for us. Remember to subscribe to this podcast, and feel free to leave us a good review. We hope you'll join us next time for K12 On Learning.
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