Today we’d like to introduce you to Hope Danielson.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Hi! My name is Hope. I identify as a lot of things but mostly “mom.”
I’m on a mission to show my daughter that dreams do come true, and that freedom can be achieved at any point in life. Not just retirement. On the days, I’m not covering my kitchen counters in flour, or performing the next greatest performance of “Let It Go,” you can find me playing with my dog, camping, hiking, or listening to a good podcast.
Most people choose their career, but my career kind of chose me. I come from a very food-oriented family, but I think I developed a passion for food from my dad. “Food is the most intimate gift you can give someone. It’s something you’ve made with your own two hands, and you’re able to help sustain someone. Food isn’t optional. Everyone needs it. So when I cook for someone it is my way of telling them I love them.”
I’ve always said it’s never been a matter of IF I do this, but a matter of when. The saying goes “choose what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” When I started baking for a living I don’t think it was much of a surprise. I think venturing out on my own was a surprise. The food service industry is notorious for underpaying and mistreating its workers.
I’ve experienced this firsthand at nearly every place I have worked for. I think one of the most amazing things to come out of COVID is the recognition of workers’ rights. Workers finally have a voice and are rightfully demanding better. We are finally recognizing just how vital our mental and physical health is and how closely correlated it is to a proper work/life balance.
This hit home for me. I wanted better, and quite frankly I deserve better. One of my biggest goals within this is to be able to provide a proper, healthy workplace environment and pay, to not just myself but to others as well.
Opening a vegan-based bakery was never part of the plan though. Not that I had a solid vision of what exactly it was I wanted, but that vision was born about three years ago and has quickly grown since then. I recognized the growing need for vegan-based baked goods in the area.
The word “vegan,” has gained such a negative connotation behind it and I wanted to help be a part of breaking that stigma. After all, food is just food. Plant-based or not there is no reason it shouldn’t be absolutely delicious. My goal is to just make amazing, delicious baked goods that happen to be vegan. Whether or not that’s an added benefit is up to the consumer.
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Dr. Jane Goodall
It’s shocking how harmful the restaurant industry actually is to our world. Most restaurants don’t actually have a way to properly recycle. Did you know that restaurants alone are responsible for 18% of the contents within landfills? That’s insane. Much like we only have one life, we only have one earth.
Not only should we want to be better, but we also need to choose to be better. I’ve made it my mission to be as sustainable as I possibly can. I’ve ensured any ingredients that cannot be made in-house are ethically sourced, and all equipment has been purchased second-hand.
Most importantly, all packaging used is biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Technically, I started this exactly fourth months ago today.
Though I’ve been training myself for this moment for nearly ten years. I’ve worked my way up through the industry starting as a baker, to a pastry chef, assistant bakery manager, bakery manager, and district bakery manager.
I’ve been selective with my job prospects in the attempt to teach myself another aspect of the industry I needed under my belt to succeed. I’ve learned so much in this timeframe and anything I didn’t inherently learn from someone else I sought out myself online.
I could tell you the road of the business itself has been easy because it has. Most days it’s as easy as breathing. I think it was the drive here that was the bumpy one which it circling back to the nature of the industry as a whole.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
So in short I would say I’m a bakery that puts quality and taste first and vegan second. My goal is to sustainably show people that vegan baked goods can be JUST as good as non-vegan baked goods. I think veganism as a whole has come a long way even in just the last few years.
I also think there is still a huge untapped market, especially within the Tampa Bay area where most people are still struggling to find those baked goods they’re craving without it sacrificing either quality, taste, or both. It’s amazing to see the few people, such as myself, that have popped out and recognized this and it’s almost as if we’ve formed silent solidarity to show the world “hey this is just food, and it’s amazing, let me show you!”
So I think within this the most important things about my brand are what I tapped on in the beginning: breaking the stigma, sustainability, a better work environment, and my family.
It’s not just my goals or core values, it’s the identity of both me and my business. If I’m being totally honest I’m beyond proud that I stopped listening to everyone, beat the toxic corporate work environment and put myself, and my family first and actually made a difference in my life.
It’s something I hope I can one day provide to many other people because we deserve to live a life that’s not centered around the hustle culture we’ve engrained in ourselves. We deserve to go on that three-week backpacking trip, have date nights, be home in time for supper, actually see our children, and be involved in their lives.
Without sacrificing the ability to be able to financially breathe comfortably.
What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Aside from finances? Haha. Remaining true to my core beliefs, values, goals, mission statement, etc.
It’s easy to start a business with the right intentions, but it’s hard to keep them. I’ve witnessed so many businesses become greedy and dehumanize themselves over time and I feel if the day comes that I do that, is the day that I’ve failed not just my business, but myself.
It would be walking away from everything that made me start this in the first place. Which is to simply make a difference.
- Cookies $5.99
- Caramelized Bourbon Banana Bread Slice $5.99 Loaf $19.99
- Meyer Lemon Lavender Bundt Cake Slice $5.99 Loaf $19.99
- Cookie Butter Cinnamon Rolls $5.99
- Custom Cakes start at $65
Courtney Hagerman and Beloved Soul Photography