Meet the Tribe - Julie McAllister
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl? Early Bird, no question. I think my past life of doing the 4AM shift at a bakery has ingrained that in me.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Coffee on the porch! It's my favorite way to start the day and helps me take a minute to focus on my priorities for the day.
What are you reading now? I just start The Desire Map. It's a motivational, goal workbook combo, recommended to me by a fellow Hatch Triber!
Favorite place to getaway from it all? Non-local: Asheville mountains; Local: Kiawah—going to that beach in the winter feels like having your own private island!
If you could get an extra hour today, how would you use it? Bake.
Do you consider yourself more of an Introvert or extrovert? Introvert by a landslide.
What's your favorite food? I don't know if I can break the three-way tie between mac & cheese, mashed potatoes and french fries.
I'm on a mission to... make my mark creatively.
How did your awesome business come to be?
When I was in grad school, I started teaching myself how to decorate cakes as a constructive way to procrastinate. Then when I was working full-time in DC, I started baking on the side and eventually was working at a local bakery from 5-9AM in the mornings, then going to my agency job from 9-6PM, which was exhausting, but gave me some incredible experience. When I moved to Charleston, I knew I wanted to keep baking on the side and decided to focus on specialty cakes, and then For Heaven Bakes was born!
Who inspired you to pursue entrepreneurship?
The biggest support has come from my family—my parents, brother and husband. No matter how old you get, I don't think you ever get tired of hearing your parents tell you they're proud of you and are exciting about what you're doing. And to say my husband has been my biggest cheerleader would be an understatement; he's my sounding board and support team, and whenever I come up with a new business idea, he's the first one to jump up say "let's get started!"
How do you define success for yourself?
This ties in with my answer below, but in addition to that, I feel like my business focus has taken a few different iterations, so for me a definite success milestone is knowing exactly the focus and path I want my business to take, and knowing that actively I'm doing concrete things to hit those marks.
We all love failure & flop stories! Tell us about something you tried in business that didn't work, and how you moved beyond it.
It's not necessarily a black and white failure story, but towards the end of last year I fell into a business lull. Having a time-consuming side hustle is so hard when you also have a time-consuming full-time job, and being in business solo can make it difficult to measure your level of success. In the corporate world, you usually have very concrete goals to meet, and you know 40 hours/week equals $x of a paycheck; but when you're operating a small side business, you can put so much in up front, not knowing when or if it's going to pay off for you in the way you hope. So I had fallen into this lull and needed to recalibrate my business drive, so to speak. I decided to attend a conference for entrepreneurs, creatives and business owners, and it ended up being one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. Being a solo entrepreneur (and even if you have a team), I can't overstate the importance to set aside time to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs to remind you that your business struggles are not unique to you, and being around a group of people with similar professional and personal goals helps move your forward in so many ways, rather than getting stuck and derailed on roadblocks.
What is a recent success that you're super proud of accomplishing?
Last month I made the groom's cake for the Big Fake Wedding in Charleston; I had never done an event of this caliber before, so I was nervous on how the whole thing would unfold and wasn't sure how people would respond to my work (a 3-foot, leaning golf bag cake). But the amount of positive feedback from both attendees and visitors was overwhelming! My favorite thing to hear is when people say then didn't realize my cakes were actually cake, and the amount of people who asked me how I got into the miniature golf bag business made me so happy.
What is your superpower?
Professionally: blurring the line between reality and cake! Personally: getting a duvet cover on in less than a minute. And probably getting way more joy out of that than any sane person should.
What is the least sexy part of your job?
I keep meaning to share a photo of the disaster that my kitchen (and myself) turns into while I'm making one of these cakes; they usually take around 7 hours to complete, which translates to a complete cake decorating war zone in my kitchen where not a single inch of counter space is uncovered. If you ever see me and my hands are dyed various shades of green, blue, etc., you'll know it was a cake week!
What do you hope to learn from this community of your peers (ie. Hatch Tribe Members Circle)?
I have gotten so much—both professionally and personally—out of Hatch Tribe over the past two years, so I'm mainly excited to see the community continue to grow and open the door to meeting more wonderful ladies and the potential business/educational/friendship opportunities that brings to the table.