Starting with just her Grandmom’s soft-baked biscotti recipe, Marlo Gertz started Marlo’s Bakeshop, a small bakery creating fresh takes on your favorite desserts by using wholesome ingredients and time-tested family recipes. Read on to learn more about Marlo and how she came to be a part of the baking business.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you found your way to this business/passion.
Born in San Francisco but raised in New Jersey (so an east coast, Jersey girl at heart), I moved out to the Bay Area when I was working in tech and was offered a job at a SaaS company. I quickly decided to swap software for soft-baked biscotti and launched Marlo’s Bakeshop after I’d completed a professional pastry program across the street from my boyfriend’s apartment (now husband- I lured him in with hot croissants). I was very inspired by other women who had graduated from the same pastry program and were running successful baking businesses and I thought, ‘If they can do it, I can too.”
2. What excites you most about your business/industry?
That consumers are educating themselves about ingredients and standing up to Big CPG to say ‘no’ to ingredient lists full of non-food additives and preservatives. I am obsessed with our ingredient quality and will never compromise on that for Marlo’s Bakeshop because it’s important to me to still feel good about eating our cookies and feeding them to my family and friends. Consumers are more aware now than ever before about what they’re putting into their bodies and that’s an exciting revolution in food.
3. What character trait do you see most common in yourself and fellow entrepreneurs/business leaders?
Passion and perseverance. You have to be passionate about what you’re selling or no one will believe it’s as great as you know it to be; and perseverance because you will be told ‘no’ time and time again and you cannot let it discourage you or convince you that what’re offering isn’t valuable to society.
4. What virtue do you value the most in your team members?
Honesty, attention to detail and a positive attitude. Being part of a startup is an emotional roller coaster so it’s important that everyone remains honest with one another about their workload and bandwidth, that everyone remember to slow down enough to get the details right and that – even when times can be particularly tough- everyone stay positive about our mission and the direction of the company and to keep smiling through it, knowing we will get to the other side together.
5. What advice would you give your younger self?
You will always remember experiences more than things. So stop buying things and save your money to go out and have more experiences.
6. Living business visionary you’d like to share a cup of coffee with?
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanxx.
7. What is one strategy you’ve seen work when growing your business?
The whole sales premise of ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘never’, just ‘not right now’. Time and again I have revisited strategic prospects and ultimately secured them as customers; the first time I reached out just wasn’t the right timing for them. Calling or emailing that buyer one more time has paid off for me in spades over the last five years.
Lightning Round, Answer with the first thing that comes to mind
Coffee or Tea? Medium roast with a pump of chocolate and half and half, please.
Michelin Star Restaurant or BBQ? Michelin all the way. I live for a memorable dining experience.
Would you describe yourself as more of a Beyoncé or an Adele? Oooo for sure Adele though I love me some Beyonce
Personal hero? Probably my husband and my parents. The former because he’s the most gracious, kindest person I know while still being super strong, smart and a very sharp businessman; the latter because they’re both so accomplished in their respective professional fields and have affected so many peoples’ lives in a positive way.
Last good book you read, show you watched, record you listened to, or movie you consumed? Record: Tom Misch, Beat Tape 2