“West Company helped me out of my comfort zone, in a positive way.”
Corrina Pena is used to working. As the owner of Frosted and a mother of two, Corrina has found a way to keep working and earning, while staying home with her girls.
Having received positive response from people she made cakes and cupcakes for, Corrina decided to make it official. She started her business and a few months later when she was referred to West Company, they helped her find direction. They advised on the administrative end of things, helped her understand branding and gave her ideas on how to “get out there.”
Her mentor suggested she approach The Harvest Market and when she was hesitant, he continued to encourage her. The Harvest Market responded enthusiastically to her product and you can now find her shortbread and biscotti there. “That was huge! West Company helped me out of my comfort zone in a positive way.”
Corrina says the business community has been very supportive in general. Her friend Shayne Christensen of Sweet Creations has served as a mentor in certain ways and sometimes refers customers to her. “I think everybody realizes there’s plenty to go around, so nobody’s feeling like mine, mine, mine… and people want different things. Everyone has something a little different to offer.
Corrina’s top priority is customer service and her specialty is kid’s cakes, which the kids co-design with her. She says that when the child gets involved, the cakes become much more exciting and fantastical. One girl knew she wanted her cake to look like an owl. When she started looking at pictures and getting ideas, it became an owl on a branch with colorful feathers and glitter. Also sometimes, they ask for odd combinations of flavors, which is a fun challenge and a gateway to new and delicious tastes.
She always sends a little follow up, requesting feedback from her customers and finds this valuable. “They can love the look of it, but what does it taste like?” Corrina wants to know and she does make adjustments when she feels there’s a need.
Mostly, Corrina works at night and this has been the toughest part. Her daughters would love to help, but her food handler’s certification restricts anyone under the age of 14 from being in the kitchen. That said, her husband and friends have been supportive and one of her favorite things is being able to work by herself. She just puts on her music and feels in her element.
Corrina’s long term goal is a brick and mortar shop. She envisions a fun and friendly place with shabby chic decor and delicious treats, where people can hang out and enjoy the space. She’s starting to work on a business plan with her West Company Mentor. “I don’t know that I’d have the direction I do, without West Company. Business is scary and having knowledgable people on your side is amazing and comforting. You feel like it’s going to be a success and they enjoy your success with you.”
Corrine’s business has been growing, but she’s in no hurry to see her products fly off the shelves. As a mother of small children, she wants her growth to be steady, not fast. She says that being a business owner has contributed to her happiness, but it’s a sacrifice of time, energy and joy sometimes. “If you’re working hard, you may sacrifice moments of joy for the greater happiness.”
So for her, the greatest advantage of working for herself is the ability to say no. The ability to mold her work hours, etc. around her family. She’s the boss, applesauce. And she’s setting an example. She’s showing her daughters that she can be a mom, a business owner and she can be happy too.