Jen Essex, owner and baker at Ruby Jean Patisserie came to the Small Business Development Center with a passion for baking and a dream of opening up her own bakery shop. Having completed her French technique training in Chicago Jen was driven to make her dream a reality. Jen decided the best strategy was to enroll in our 11 week Leading Edge Business Planning course which prepares students for starting their own business and writing a business plan. “My favorite part of the Leading Edge Course was the business model section. It was that night of class that my idea came together,” stated Jen when asked what her favorite part of the course was.
Jen opened Ruby Jean Patisserie in January of 2018 and has been steadily growing her company one client at a time. She started selling her pastries in pop up shops for farmers markets and mall spaces in Denver. It took a bit of encouragement from her SBDC consultant to really focus on starting out with catering and work her way up to opening her own independent shop. “My SBDC consultant really encouraged and pushed me to start smaller with my business and grow until I was ready to open my own store. It is still a huge goal of mine to open my own bakery in the next few years, but it has been really good building up the business first”. When asked what the biggest challenge has been so far Jen stated, “Staying organized and learning to say no in order to keep the integrity of my brand has been the biggest challenge overall.” Unlike other bakeries, Ruby Jean Patisserie does not work with fondant or gum paste and instead specializes in American inspired baked goods utilizing French technique. The bakery focuses on using the best ingredients available and is baked without artificial flavorings, preservatives or shortening.
The patisserie is continually growing and will soon be offering its products at a winery and a cheese shop in Denver. Jen is very optimistic with the growth of her patisserie business and continues to work with new opportunities that are coming her way. When asked why Ruby Jean for a company name Jen stated with a laugh, “Ruby Jean would have been the name of my son if I had a girl, but now it is the name of my business, which had become my baby”. Coming up on a year since the formation of her company, she has been able to focus on her patisserie full time with the support of her family. Jen is excited about all of the new growth in her company and is excited to keep working towards her goal of opening her own independent shop.