Inspirational Woman: Stephanie Giordano | Founder & Director, Baked by Steph

Meet Stephanie Giordano

Founder & Director, Baked by Steph

Stephanie Giordano is Founder & Director of Baked By Steph, a bakery business which Stephanie has succesfully grown from a one-woman-show to a 16 person team.

Here, she talks to us about setting up her business, her biggest achievement to date and shares her thoughts on accelerating gender parity.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

So I started Baked by Steph about 3 years ago and, this often surprises people, but prior to that I had zero professional training in baking. My background is in fashion and web design and if you had told me 5 year ago that I would go on to set up a bakery and spend most of my days creating cookies I don’t think I would have believed you!

About 4 years ago I started baking as a creative outlet and a way to unwind after work. It quickly became an obsession so I made it my mission to learn everything I could about it. I learnt through Youtube videos and a lot of trial and error. I started an Instagram page to document my progression and before long I’d developed a small following and started getting requests for orders.

Now I’ve grown from a one-woman-show working out of my home kitchen to a 16 person team with a dedicated production bakery in East London and I couldn’t be prouder of my little business.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I always knew that I’d like to start my own business one day but I never had a plan or even know what it would be. I’ve spent most of my career trying to be open to any opportunity that comes my way and ultimately that led me to baking even though it was in complete contradiction to my past career choices.

I personally think there’s too much pressure on people in their 20s and 30s to have a plan. I know plenty of people who don’t love their chosen career path anymore but feel obliged to stay put because of how much time they’ve already dedicated to it. The truth is we’re always growing and evolving and what was right for us 5 years ago might not be right for us now, so I think it’s important to stay open to new experiences and not get too weighed down with plans. Plans change.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

So many challenges! Starting a business, especially when you’re in the very early stages, is a daily challenge. You’re doing most things for the very first time such as filing taxes, negotiating with suppliers, scouting out business premises, developing branding and hiring a team to name just a few. You’re learning everything as you go and inevitably you make mistakes and get things wrong. The best you can do is learn from them and move on.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

The one that stands out the most was when we received an enquiry from Tiffany & Co. in 2021 for 10,000 cookies, our biggest commission to date. It was just such a confidence-boosting show of faith in our little company from such a world-renowned brand. I’m very happy and proud to say that we absolutely nailed it and have gone on to work with Tiffany & Co. on other projects

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Having an amazing support system around me that believes in and encourages me. This journey has been really tough at times, especially during the pandemic when I wasn’t even sure if we’d be able to keep trading. There have been quite a few wobbly moments along the way where I’ve felt defeated and close to giving up, but I am very lucky to have an incredible family supporting me every step of the way and picking me up when I fall down.

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How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

It’s not something I’ve had experience with in any official capacity but I do have the support of two older and much wiser business owners whose advice I trust and respect very much and who I turn to when I’m unsure of what steps to take in certain business situations.

Someday, when I have more experience under my belt, I would absolutely love to pay it forward and help someone else with their journey. I already feel like I could write a book on everything I’ve learnt so far!

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

I think seeing more women in positions of political power would have the biggest impact. It still shocks me when I see the low numbers of women that hold positions of political power across the world. We know that countries who have more women in power also tend to have more women in business leadership roles, so the effect trickles down and normalizes the association between women and leadership. Not only that, having more women in political power would likely lead to policy making and legislation that positively affects women. So more women in power please!

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

To stop comparing myself to everyone else and focus on my own journey. It’s of course important to be aware of your competition but no two businesses are the same and if you keep holding yourself to other people’s standards you’ll constantly feel like you’re failing and falling behind.

I used to spend way too much time comparing my business’s progress to others and it just sucks the fun out of everything. Now I set myself 3 top level quarterly goals and I measure my success against them. It keeps me focussed on my own goals and helps me avoid measuring myself against others.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I’ve spent the past 3 years focussing on the Baked by Steph product and making sure we’re delivering the best we can to our customers. Now I want to turn my attention to education. I’m currently in the process of developing an online educational platform to teach all of my baking tips and tricks and I can’t wait to share this with the Baked By Steph community! 

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