Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs: Beth Blacker, Founder of taking care PKGS!
There are a number of women entrepreneurs out there who have built successful businesses -- often, one dollar at a time. Let us salute them!
Beth gives us a brief description of her business and shares what inspires her each day:
First and foremost I just want to say how thrilled I was to be chosen as the winner of Lifetime Moms Tampa Spark and Hustle Twitter Contest! Anyone who knows me well is probably wondering how and why this happened, because I haven’t exactly embraced tweeting.
At my age (lets just say I’m almost “golden”) I have always prided myself on building relationships through face to face communication. So, I must admit that “talking” to anyone in 140 characters or less is not easy for me. In fact, it is usually impossible as I watch the character count go down to a negative number almost every time I write a tweet. But, I get that you have to go with the times and the times are definitely changing every day, almost in the blink of eye it seems.
When I decided to start my business last year, I knew I would need to keep up with all of social media as a way to help build recognition faster. Of course, I wasn’t putting all my cookies in one basket. As a baker in the Tampa Bay area I knew that to really be seen, I had to do more.
I have spent a great deal of time networking at both business and fundraising events and, while my husband thinks I have gone insane schlepping brownie bites, cookies and cakes from one end of Tampa Bay to the other almost every day, I see and hear people’s positive reactions when they bite into the samples and tell them my story which started like many other baking business stories. I grew up in the kitchen watching and learning to bake with my mother, which eventually led to my decision to attend culinary school after college and work in the food industry in New York for several years.
My mother was an incredible cook and baker (especially her chocolate chip cookies), but more importantly; she was my inspiration and my rock. She taught me how to be independent, stand on my own two feet and never say “I can’t”, because American ends in “I can”. Credit for that actually needs to go to the writers of The Odd Couple television show I believe because I know that is where she heard it originally and made it her mantra from that day forward. Maybe it was a little foreshadowing on her part because she definitely needed an “I can” attitude to fight Multiple Myeloma years later. Unfortunately, she lost the battle in 2005 after showing all of her family and friends an unbelievable amount of strength, courage and determination.
To honor her memory and celebrate her life, I decided a year later on the anniversary of her passing to make May 10th the First Annual Elaine Kovinsky Have a Cookie and Smile Day. And, the following year it turned into a fundraiser selling cookies to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Every year since, the fundraising period became longer and more successful to the point where everyone told me if I was going to spend that much time baking, I might as well do it as a business.
So last year I started taking care PKGS! as a part time passion while maintaining a full time job in a law firm. I immediately partnered with many local charities to be able to incorporate “giving back one sweet bite at a time” into my branding, with the mission of giving back to the Tampa Bay Community. I am happy to report that tcP! sweets has contributed more than 5000 brownie bites and cookies along with many other in-kind donations so far this year and the list of non-profits we are helping grows every week!
I am also happy to report that I was able to leave my law firm job in March and have made taking care PKGS! a full time venture. It’s exciting and, admittedly a little scary, but I know my mother would be proud and that will always be the best motivation for me.