Sometimes, knowing something is going to be special is just as easy as stumbling onto them on Instagram, case, and point: Hell Yeah Gluten Free. I’m not the least bit gluten-intolerant nor would I choose a GF sweet over a regular one, but Alejandra has literally figured out how to make Gluten Free desserts something I would reach for again and again! Not only are her desserts beautiful (hi edible flowers), but the cinnamon rolls actually rival my recipe and may just be a helluva lot better. I can’t wait for you all to meet Alejandra!
1. What was your inspiration for starting Hell Yeah Gluten Free?
My main inspiration was my lack of inspiration at work. I felt undervalued, underutilized, and bored as a software engineer. I was good at solving problems, interacting with clients, and my coworkers; but there came a point in my career where I found myself having to choose between financial stability (focus more on engineering) and happiness (focus more on building relationships and solving problems). I’ve always gravitated toward the making & enjoying of food. In my last few weeks of work, I did a lot of reading about the “flow state”, and how it’s important to make your job something you “flow” in–meaning, essentially, that you can lose yourself in the task and lose track of time. The thing that quiets your anxieties and the thing that you naturally find yourself wanting to practice and learn more about. Coupled with some other “signs”, it helped give me the nudge I needed to leave software behind.
2. What’s your best tip for managing expectations for yourself and clients?
Boundaries aren’t just a buzzword–they’re a hot topic right now for a reason. It’s healthy to set firm boundaries for yourself and your clients, and set expectations from the beginning. Staying firm in your intent for the business is key. It’s important to respect the gravity of your decisions–every choice you make is either a step toward your intent/goals, or away from it. For example, one of our core values is to be “employee focused”, always working to provide a sane, healthy, working environment for our employees. This is why I rarely ever take last minute orders. Not only does it mess up our schedules/prep lists/ingredient counts, it also reduces employee trust and job satisfaction.
3. What advice would you give other women who want to start a business of their own?
Someone said something to me the other day that I loved: “We ultimately decided we didn’t just want a happy ending, but a sustainable journey as well,” and that’s stuck with me ever since. While, on one hand, I encourage quitting your day job and taking a leap, I’d encourage focusing on sustainability. Be realistic. Always plan for the worst case scenario (the product you thought everyone would love flopped. classes/seminars you wanted to do got 0 attendees. your business is actually going well, but your dog ate the bandage off his foot and now needs 3,000 dollar surgery) but don’t expect the worst case scenario. Don’t be rigid–flow like water. Things will come up and change and morph and no you will not be able to stop them. Go, or be dragged.
“We ultimately decided we didn’t just want a happy ending, but a sustainable journey as well.”
4. What advice would you give yourself if you were just starting out now?
Aggressively limit your working hours’. Mine aren’t sustainable right now; I struggle with burnout a lot. It’s easy to do when you really love what you’re doing and really care about the outcome–but you’ll be tired and sick and unable to perform.
5. What’s your opinion on women-owned businesses taking over the internet right now?
I think it’s a refreshing change to see women being the face of entrepreneurship versus men. It’s a new world out there, baby, and it’s ours for the taking!
Seriously so inspiring! If you’re in Atlanta you can pop into the new Hell Yeah Gluten Free bakery on Dekalb Avenue and buy them in the morning. Stay in touch with her through social media! If you’re looking for coffee to pair it with, check out our Atlanta Guide to the most Instagrammable Coffee shops.