The Sweet Side
Roslyn Bergen and Victoria Etherington
Food and Beverage
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The Sweet Side is a mobile cupcake bakery operating out of a commercial kitchen is Spruce Grove and providing free delivery in the Edmonton area.
The idea of a bakery business started when the sister-led team of Roslyn and Victoria had a conversation about their mutual dissatisfaction with their existing jobs. With humble beginnings in a local farmer’s market, the business is thriving with sales more than doubling in the last year.
Together, they have learned a number of important lessons about starting and growing a business.
“Over the last three years, we have learned about the importance of division of labour, marketing and the critical role networking plays,” said Roslyn. “In the beginning, we were not sure how we would work together as sisters. Once we knew we worked well together, we formed a natural split of activities between baking and marketing the business – this allowed us to be efficient and balance quality of our product and business growth.”
In addition to financial support, Futurpreneur Canada provided the team with a mentor who specialized in sales and marketing. “We knew we had a great product,” said Roslyn, “but didn’t know how to get people’s attention. Our mentor has been amazing at providing us with guidance and practical ideas – we could not have grown the way we have without his input.” Now, Sweet Side conducts regular marketing initiatives targeting local businesses, has a strong social media presence, and has even been contacted by customers from far destinations such as Australia and Kuwait requesting a delivery to family and friends in the Edmonton community.
When they began, Roslyn and Victoria did not have enough initial capital to put towards traditional advertising. Networking with a wide spectrum of businesses across many industries provided them with the contacts who would become their first customers. Whether it is customers like those in the oil and gas business or from less obvious industries like automotive sales, the combination of meeting as many people as possible and developing creative, tailored products proved to be a cost effective (and fun) alternative to advertising.
“Chances are, for the first five years in a business you’ll work for love and not money. So be ready to give more than you think you had, make less than you think you’re worth, and learn from your mistakes.”