Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shana Taveras, Owner of Blackout Baking Co., located in Oak Park, IL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I'm the owner and founder of Blackout Baking Co. We are a brick-and-mortar and e-commerce bakery specializing in bite-size gourmet cookies. Perfect for gifting and events, we strive to create BLACKOUT-worthy cookies that bring us back to our childhood but push boundaries with new flavors, textures, and forms.

Our primary focus is on making food more social and spreading positivity. Food, to us, is joy. Our customers inherently support our mission by wanting to share and give good food. They know that when they order something from Blackout, it's made with attention to detail, thought, and definitely flavor.

Tell us about yourself

While living abroad in London, I saw the void of great American food, and Blackout Baking Co. was born across the pond through an obsessive journey to bring Londoners the perfect bite of Americana with a cookie (not biscuit). I'm a former NY fashion designer, and Blackout became the outlet for my creative energy and allowed me to focus my energy on food instead of fashion. I found an opportunity to reach people in a special way and to share my love of food by creating something unique, delicious, and inherently social, which is why Blackout Baking Co. specializes in bite-size gourmet cookies.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

What isn't?! Small business owners are truly rockstars and pillars of their communities. They work so hard to make their passion a reality. I'm proud that I've created Blackout from nothing, out of an idea. I've developed every single recipe, as well as our website design, social media, photography, bake shop design, accounting, costing, marketing, hiring, training, etc.; I've done it all myself. Not every day is rainbows and butterflies, but it's satisfying to look around and see what you've built and hopefully have a positive impact on someone's day.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

It never stops. Working on and thinking about your business is all-consuming. I'm slowly starting to let go (a bit) and entrust my team with my baby and take care of myself.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. You have to LOVE it. You'll work harder than you've ever worked before, but if you truly love it, it's worth it.
  2. Find a support system. I joined my local Chamber of Commerce, and on top of being a great resource to push me out of my comfort zone, I met some of my best friends. To have others that understand your highs and lows because they are going through the same things is invaluable. My husband is also a great supporter. I couldn't do it without him.
  3. Get out of your comfort zone. I'm still working on this, but no one's going to know of the great x, y, z thing you do if you're not shouting it from the rooftops.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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