We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Valencia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vanessa, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I sort of got pushed into the cookie life. I did a favor for a friend and it slowly morphed into a business. Did I think I’d get to where I am today? No. Honestly when I didn’t hear back about my licensing application, I almost gave up on the idea. I had self-doubt at the beginning. Even if I could get a business license I didn’t think anyone would be interested in buying from me, other than friends and family. Good thing I was wrong. Never underestimate the power of social media. Building my business was a lot of work, and required extra expenses. I had to make changes in my home to make room for baking equipment and create a work space for myself. Deciding what kind of business-person I was going to be required self-reflection. Part of my realization in starting this business was understanding that it’s ok to say no sometimes. You have to know your limits and your self-worth. It’s okay to charge what you’re worth and not what someone thinks you should be charging them. I gave myself a year to get this business off the ground. I am going on two years now and can say it’s definitely one of my greatest accomplishments thus far. I’ve always tried to be the type of woman to go for what I want even if I crashed and burned. You can’t go through life wondering “what if?” So, if you’re reading this and thinking about starting that business…go for it! Don’t let your fear of failure stop you from doing what you love.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m always trying out new techniques and ways to better myself. There’s always a new trend or new item out there for us to buy. I like to constantly push myself creatively and think outside the box in terms of decorating or themes. So if I’m not busy with an order; I’m working on a new cookie idea for a client who I bake for monthly. I also enjoy taking cookie classes, you can never learn too many things. I’m always thinking of ways to expand my business so that one day I can dedicate myself to Nessa’s Goodies full time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a friend visiting I’d definitely start by taking them to my favorite happy hour spot, Baja Bettys in Hillcrest. Nothing like some queso and a F’ugly Betty. I would take them to the Before I Die wall so we can add to the hundreds of awesome declarations of adventure. Maybe stop by for some gelato at Chocolat. During our week long visit, I would love to explore more of Balboa park and all its incredible museums and gardens. It’s always fun to visit the San Diego Zoo and relive childhood memories. Sometimes it’s just fun to walk around and relax at the beach and catch up on the good old days.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my shout out to three amazing people who have played big roles in starting Nessa’s Goodies. My mother, Maria, who has been there for all the ups and downs through this cookie journey. She’s like my cookie assistant, always ready to help, just don’t ask her to frost anything lol. I definitely get my creative side from her; she is after all the reason I started baking. I owe her a lot of who I am as a person. Christina Garcia my friend, sister and soulmate; she’s been like my unofficial manager. She was the first person to put my name out there on social media even before I started my business. A lot of my first-time customers were friends of hers. Christina has been my biggest cheerleader and I’m so thankful to have her in my corner. My other shout out goes to my incredible friend Shaun Lucas; he’s the one who pushed me to go for my license. I had a lot of doubt, but Shaun always reassured me that I could do it. Even while he was on deployment he was always encouraging and supportive. I’ve always admired his passion, fearlessness and ability to go for what he wants. Which is why I have no doubt that he’s going to go far in the music industry. He’s an amazing producer and friend and I’m grateful to have him in my life. They have contributed so much in many ways to my business and I cannot thank them enough for all their love, support and encouragement.