What are the ingredients for a really great business?

First you need a large serving of passion, another of commitment, a few shakes of organisation and stir it round with a considerable dose of hard work. Next, leave for a while to consolidate and rise. Leave to cool. Top it off with sprinkles of imagination, support, courage and personality.

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Janet Kissling Barreto

Janet Kissling Barretofounder of Jay’s Delights

Isn’t it interesting how our work can develop to reflect our unique personalities?

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Janet Kissling Barreto, founder of Jay’s Delights, since she first arrived in Basel from New York way back in 2007. My first impression was of a young woman with a wonderfully warm and generous nature, a lively sense of humour and someone who was prepared to roll her sleeves up and make her contribution. We worked together for nearly 3 years on the Centrepoint Board – and Janet used her creative and organisational skills to develop and deliver new programmes for the growing membership.

From time to time, Janet also turned up to our Board meetings with something delicious to eat! And her stories of her home baking creations made your mouth water.  .  .

So it wasn’t a total surprise when Janet turned her passion into her own business, Jay’s Delights!

Janet’s commitment to her business and to her customers is second to none. I’ve been her client several times over now – and each time you feel like she is baking uniquely for you. And that’s even when I know that her order book is full! When you see the finished result, you know she’s listened to what you want and used one of her sprinkles of imagination too!

What I’ve noticed since the beginning is the organisation behind Janet’s business. Her invoices are professional, her bakery is immaculate, her timing is precise and her website is bright, clear and easy to get around. This was a “Start as I mean to go on” start up.

All business owners out there know about the hard work required to get going and keep going. It’s about keeping going despite being tired, despite disappointments, despite plans not working out first time and despite being on your own much of the time. However, I’ve dropped in at the Jay’s Delight’s bakery at the peak times and have always picked up on an underlying sense of fun (and a taste of whatever’s baking!).

Imagination fits in at all levels in this business – it’s a constant creative endeavour to make a special cake to suit the celebration and to wow the person celebrating. Yet Jay’s imagination has spread further – she’s run workshops at  Coop, she’s hosted cupcake parties, she’s got her fridge full of yummy treats in Bider and Tanner, and she’s permanently cooking up new ideas. Literally!

Gathering support for your work isn’t always straightforward or easy – and in this kind of business, word of mouth is imperative. Fortunately for Janet, birthdays and special occasions are things that people like to talk about and share, and her cakes are so visually attractive, her Facebook page gets regular likes to keep the brand alive. And when you look at the page, you see that Janet has drawn people in from all around the community – Swiss and International. Behind the scenes, Janet gives her support to the local community too, little publicised donations to people in need, giving her time too to local events.

It takes courage to step up and start something new; courage to come out of your comfort zone, courage to go public with your passion, and courage to make wholehearted investments in your business. And in another country, add yet another shake from the courage pot. Did I mention that Janet has been running her Coop courses in German?

What do I most love about going into Janet’s Bachstübli? Is it the cupboard of sprinkles and decorations of all kinds? Is it the delicious smell wafting towards me? Is it the eager anticipation of being asked to taste some new treat? Or the knowledge that inside these boxes are unique and special gifts that are going to really make someone’s special day – and goodies to make every day a little special?

None of the above! The cakes ARE to die for, the smell is amazing and I love to nosey at the new designs. But what I most love about my visits there is to see Janet doing what she loves – her personality shining through in each delicious creation.

Do you ever wonder how much your work reflects your personality?

Article by PWG member Kristin Barton

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