Jess whips up nostalgic treats

June 13, 2023

Jessica Kellar is baking up nostalgic sweets as The Heart Baker.

Based in Spark Fairborn’s commercial kitchen, you can also find her at markets and pop-ups around the region. She’s a graduate of 6888 Kitchen Incubator as well as a member of the current Entrepreneur Rising Academy cohort. We caught up with Jess recently to learn more about her entrepreneur journey.

Launch Dayton: Introduce yourself — who are you and what is your company?

Jess: Hello! My name is Jess, I am the owner and baker for The Heart Baker. I infuse every treat I create with love and nostalgic flavors. From mouthwatering cakes to irresistible pastries, each bite is a delightful journey to the past. I’ll be at multiple farmers markets through the summer as well as other events that I always post on my socials @JessTheHeartBaker. Come say hey!

How did your company start?

Although I have baked and cooked for what feels like forever, in 2020 I decided to start working my way through a book titled “How to Bake.” I started posting to social media, and friends and family began writing me asking to purchase things! I had no idea that I could turn what I loved to do into a business, but here we are!

How did you get connected to the Launch Dayton community?

I am following on all the socials, and receive the newsletter as well, but it was past participants that I had met who really encouraged me to get involved in the Launch Dayton community. I am all about building the foundations for success in my business. And I want to grow and scale to make this become the business of my dreams. Entrepreneur Rising Academy has helped me to really solidify lots of the less intuitive parts of running a business. If you ask me to make a cake, I can do that with my eyes closed, but setting the foundations for the future, planning financials, learning how to pitch to potential investors etc. — that’s something I’m not an expert at, and luckily I don’t have to learn the hard way. This covered everything I could have imagined and more. I would absolutely recommend it to other entrepreneurs!

Why this idea?

You can get cookies and baked goods almost anywhere, but these cookies and treats I make are next level! Not only is the product delicious, but the experience is one that is filled with fun and nostalgia. If you’re going to indulge, indulge in retro bliss at The Heart Baker, “Where Sweetness Takes You Back.”

Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?

Somehow, I did not. It was never a goal growing up, I honestly didn’t even know it was an option. I had always worked for others and had done very well doing so. But one day I asked myself, if I’m doing this well working for someone else, I wonder how well I could do working for myself? There is always a maximum you can make working for someone else. As an entrepreneur, the glass ceiling does not exist.

The Launch Dayton community values are: 1. Be Bold 2. All Are Welcome 3. People First 4. Give First 5. Remove Barriers. How do you embody one or more of these values?

I left the comfort and stability of a corporate job to boldly build my dream life. I will always treat everyone with respect, I will not devalue any person for any reason. And I will always give before I ask anything from anyone. Whatever the dream is — for myself or for others — there is a way to make that happen!

What identities or life experiences do you bring to entrepreneurship that helped prepare you for this lifestyle?

I graduated from college with degrees in management information systems and management & strategic leadership andworked for seven years as a consultant for other companies in all phases of their business life cycle. I have seen how successful companies handle their day-to-day operations, as well as plan for their future growth. That gave me the knowledge and experience to start my own business and go through these processes myself. I know what success looks like, and I am confident that I am on my way there.

What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced on your entrepreneur journey?

I want my business to grow, I want it to scale, and I want it to become self sustainable. It is very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and not prioritize planning for the future but to reach that goal, planning is mandatory!

Why do you love what you do?

I used to be a corporate professional, and I spent years working for someone else’s company. When I realized that wasn’t what my passion was, I followed the path to building a business that really brings me joy! I love to wake up everyday and make treats that I hope make my customers feel loved. They bring me a sense of nostalgia and a space to just slow down and enjoy. I feel lucky that everyday, this is the feeling I get to bring to the world.

What advice would you offer fellow or aspiring entrepreneurs?

You are not alone and you don’t have to suffer to succeed. Get the help and advice that is out there, and save yourself time and energy that you’ll be able to put into your craft.

How can the Launch Dayton community support you?

I need to continue to grow my financial literacy and build standard processes that I can use going forward. I also need help with access to grants and networking opportunities.

Curious is Entrepreneur Rising Academy is a fit for you? Learn more and apply for our summer 2023 cohort here!