The Philadelphia Prominent:
Sweet Success

posted by , Arcadia University 14', @Jaysonstation on February 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Taking risks and investing yourself in something new can be scary. This is especially true when you’re a college student who is probably already stretched thin between classes, work, and extra-curricular activities. But there are always students who stand as exceptions. Brittany Nettles, a 19-year-old student from Northeast Philadelphia, is one of them. She proves that success comes to those who dream big and work hard. Currently a sophomore Management and Marketing major at Holy Family University, Nettles serves as the President of Marketing and Sales at Sweet Note Bakery, a local gluten-free business.

Through the determined efforts of Nettles, Sweet Note Bakery has seen a significant increase in demand for their gluten-free bagels after being featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer . For Nettles, her involvement with Sweet Note Bakery started with a part-time baking job, followed by a full-time baking job. She then took on the role of President of Marketing and Sales. Nettles and the company have expanded the number of serving locations from 25 to 75  throughout Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

They hope to slowly but surely become a national gluten-free bagel manufacturer, but are currently moving forward with caution. Loan people, investors, and manipulative businessmen, or “sharks” as Nettles likes to refer to them, have tried to take advantage of what they perceive as just a “cute girl” in the business world. Despite the “sharks,” Nettles says she is happy to be in such a good industry, because the majority of people have been genuinely supportive and helpful. She calls the Sweet Note Bakery team “Bagelologists, who are taking over the Bagel Universe.”

Flores: What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Nettles: I enjoy getting up in the morning and working out. I look forward to it every morning. It clears my mind and gets me ready for the day. Morning time is my prime time. I also like to cook and bake. My hobbies tie directly into what I’m doing with my life, especially with Sweet Note Bakery.

Flores: Can you tell us more about Sweet Note Bakery?

Nettles: Our mission is to make gluten free items more accessible to people. I was gluten-free and struggling to find menus that accommodated that. We want to make gluten-free items more accessible, and also educate restaurants, bagel shops, and cafes, and really emphasize that cross-contamination is something that people really have to pay attention to. We want to let them know that it’s important to have gluten-free items, but to also make sure the customer is being taken care of.

Flores: Who is the Sweet Note Bakery team?

Nettles: Michelle MacDonald (28) is the Owner and Founder. Alison Vandermay (25) is the Chief Operating Officer. Essentially Michelle is the person who really made the bagel and continues to revolutionize the product. And I’m the President of Marketing and Sales.

Flores: What inspired you to get involved with the bakery?

Nettles: I’ve always followed healthy living blogs, but didn’t have the courage to start my own, until recently. I started my blog Freckled Nettles, and was introduced to Michelle by a mutual friend. It opened so many doors for me. I didn’t know her six months ago and now I can’t imagine my life without her, or any of the people that I met through her. The reason why I wanted to dedicate myself to Sweet Note was because it’s that thing that I never knew that I wanted.

Flores: Before we dive into Sweet Note Bakery, can you tell us more about Freckled Nettles?

Nettles: It’s my own way to share my optimism and love for a health lifestyle. I work out for me. I get up every morning because it’s my me-time. It makes me feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally. The physique I’ve achieved makes me feel wonderful. I’ve always believed that your body is your temple.

Flores: How have you managed to become so successful with the Bakery in such a short amount of time?

Nettles: I didn’t know what I was doing when I first started. I jumped in headfirst, and immersed myself in it. For example, I didn’t know what cold calling was, and made my first cold call on the first day. But it’s something that you learn day-in and day-out. If you keep doing something, you get better at it. Things don’t get easier, you get better. Seeing results helped me to gain more faith in myself. I went from knowing nothing, to not knowing everything, but knowing a lot. The key to it all is believing in yourself and having the drive. You really have to have a passion for it all. You have to surround yourself with the people who believe in you and have similar mindsets. I don’t go out and party. I like going to bed at normal times. Call me a grandmom, but I love my life. It has opened my eyes to the fact that life can be really awesome when you work hard.

Flores: What are your goals and aspirations for the bakery right now?

Nettles: Right now we’re staying hungry. We’re doing around 4,000 to 5,000 bagels a week. We just skyrocketed. We want to max out our facilities. We want to keep the momentum high and stay hungry for more. Ultimately, we are just beginning with the end in mind, and becoming that national brand.

Flores: What has been your best moment with the bakery?

Nettles: The Inquirer, obviously. Michelle and I did a day where we were selling in Ocean City. We had our bikes and rode around with bagels in our baskets. We had our cute little frilly bikes. We hopped on and were ready to go out and sell. We were working and marketing, but I felt like I was on vacation. That moment really sunk in. Work doesn’t have to be work. That day moving forward, I just knew, “This is it.” If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

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