In the Company of Yum – Jessica Glass - Foodpreneur Making It Happen!
By Gregory Burrus
While out the other day at the Glenridge Ave Arts and Music Festival in Montclair, NJ, I encountered someone who was selling pies and cakes. Now, at most festivals, the food selection I find is either great or it's just okay. Today I wandered over to a table identified as “In the Company of Yum.” With some trepidation, I ordered a small pie to take home. At the insistence of the vendor, I took a small bite and put the rest away. I asked a few questions about the business and wandered away throughout the festival. Needless to say, I said wow that pie tasted great! My taste buds wanted more and that pie, as they say, "was gone in 60 seconds." It never made it home. Yup, it tasted fabulous, and I understood why this Glenridge Ave Arts and Music Festival vendor said, we are almost sold out for the day.
Image: Gregory Burrus
So yes, the pie tastes great but also in talking with the vendor whom I now know is named Jessica Glass, I discovered a proud small business owner who is one hundred percent invested in what she does. Since I always love the idea of independent business owners who are passionate about what they do, here’s an interview with Jessica Glass, the owner of In the Company of Yum based out of Montclair, NJ.
G.B.: Can you talk a little about your background?
Jessica Glass: My Grandma taught me how to make her sweet potato pie when I was 11, and I have made it the same way ever since. All other pies evolved from the same methods. I have always loved cooking. All of the women in my family have been able to throw down, and we have always been well versed in a variety of cuisines. But I am completely a self-taught baker. I evolve from a lot of practice and recipe testing and research. Social media...
What are the things in your background that you feel helped you become who you are?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and drive. I am a female minority foodpreneur (entrepreneur in the food industry). I am very proud of that. I support small businesses and other entrepreneurs because they have supported me... we believe in each other. It’s awesome.
What type of “cooking” work is involved in your business?
A lot. I make my crusts from scratch. And it is always an evolving process. I have a million recipes for crust in my head. I will always look at a recipe. There's also a lot of labor and research that goes into my menus. I create seasonal menus based off of what is popular produce-wise, but also based off of holiday and food trends. I also write a monthly newsletter that allows me to talk about recent tricks or cooking hacks that may be of interest. I use a good old rolling pin, peel my fruit by hand most of the time, and use simple ingredients. I want my pie to taste like what it’s supposed to be... Let the fruit/filling speak for itself, not be oversaturated with sugar...
Image: Gregory Burrus
How many shows, events, festivals do you attend a year?
Every year, we challenge ourselves to grow out of our comfort zone. The first year, I only did a couple, very small local fundraisers for women in business showcases. They were also free and a way to test the waters. And we grew into larger ones, and more frequent, with the largest thus far being the Montclair Jazz Festivallast August. This festival season, my goal has been to do at least one festival a month from May through October.
What type of competition can one expect or have you encountered?
In regard to festivals, I always ask the organizer how many other dessert vendors are also signed up and what kind of desserts are being offered. While many do honor and try to keep exclusivity, dessert competes with dessert... so it doesn’t necessarily matter that there's not another pie vendor, I would get just as much competition with a cupcake vendor. We would cancel each other out.
What I try to do is offer an item/pie that NO ONE can get anywhere else. You have to come to me. That's how I remain in competition.
How long have you been in this business?
My business turned 4 this past April.
What’s the hardest part of running a business like yours?
Wearing all of the hats, knowing when to switch from being creative to analytical...
What suggestions do you have for other up and coming cooks or those who want to get started?
Love what you do. You have to live, eat, sleep your business. Have a team of badass supporters who can deal with all of the aspects of yourself and you can trust as Your Counsel. Realize that it will be difficult, very difficult at times, but also very rewarding. When you get down to it, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone savor every morsel of something you created.
Anything else you want folks to know about the business?
While my business is primarily focused on pies and desserts, I do devote part of my business to a more savory side. I offer quiches, pot-pies, and also will provide meal prep services for both regular and low-carb diets.
Jessica Glass is one very friendly Montclair, NJ based business owner. Her business can be found online athttp://www.inthecompanyofyum.net/. Jessica is one small business owner that is dedicated, focused, energetic and passionate about what she does. This foodpreneur is very much all about making it happen. That’s good for you because her pies are wonderful for your palate because they taste great! You should stop by and say hi on Facebook at In the Company of Yum. Tell her I sent you and of course order a pie, you will love it.
About the Writer
Gregory Burrus with Jessica Glass, owner of In the Company of Yum
Gregory Burrus is a supporter of local businesses, community events, jazz, blues musicians and local art exhibitions. On a regular basis Gregory promotes art, music, business, history, government and local community events through social media marketing, writing articles, blogging and photo journalism. Gregory Burrus resides in beautiful, historic town of South Orange, New Jersey, the home of beautiful gas lamps, many historic buildings, some wonderful old trees, the South Orange Performing Arts Center, Seton Hall University, South Mountain Reservation and many gorgeous, vibrant, growing communities in the surrounding North Jersey towns and cities of Essex County. Having fun living life while helping others. Connect with Gregory Burrus: Facebook | Google+ |YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Vimeo
Keywords: foodpreneur, recipe, pie, pies, festivals, vendor, Jessica Glass, In the Company of Yum, business, business owner, cooking, dessert, Montclair, NJ, tastes great