• John Lim

MF 075 : Helene Godin on Making the Entrepreneurial Leap with Gluten Free and Dairy Free Baked Goods



Helene Godin is the founder of By the Way Bakery, a gluten free and dairy free bakery, with three locations; serving over 1000 customers near West Chester, NY.  An attorney with no prior baking experience, Helene has built a highly successful business that is taking NY by storm and earning the love of her many customers.  Find out how Helene made the entrepreneurial leap with determination, gusto and lots of research.  You will also learn how Helene has made By the Way Bakery a success through a simple formula: the power of observation + treating her customers like her guests with lots of tender, loving care.

Successes at a glance:

  1. Very successful legal career (20+ years)

  2. Practice involved multi-million dollar deals and transactions in media and entertainment.

  3. Worked with high profile organizations and media outlets:

  4. Bloomberg

  5. Reader’s Digest

  6. NBC

  7. Facilitated sale of Audible to Amazon

  8. Launched By the Way Bakery w/ no prior baking experience!

BTW Storefront
  1. Today, three locations:

  2. Westchester: 574 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

  3. +914.478.0555

  4. Hours: Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, Sunday 9 am – 2 pm (closed Mondays)

  5. Upper West Side: 2442 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

  6. +212.877.0806

  7. Hours: Open every day 8 am – 8 pm

  8. Upper East Side: 1236 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10028

  9. +212.988.3300

  10. Hours: Open every day 8 am – 8 pm

  11. Summer Pop-up at Artists & Fleas!

  12. Brooklyn: 70 N. 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

  13. Hours: Saturdays and Sundays 10 am – 7 pm

  14. By the Way Bakery’s delicious baked goods are also available for sale in 10 Whole Foods locations.

BTWBox

How Helene gets inspired to conquer seize and embrace the day:

  1. Helene doesn’t see the day as something to be “conquered.”  Instead, she chooses to view it through the lens of opportunity: seizing and embracing all of the ones that come her way.  For Helene, each day is full of excitement and the promise of making her customers happy; making them feel like guests at any one of By the Way Bakery’s three locations.  Even the challenges she faces as an entrepreneur are all part of this journey and does not diminish her incredibly positive outlook.  Moving Forward listeners, we talk a lot about having the right mindset to pursue your promise or purpose.  I think Helene is a shining example of how that starts with how you view each day.  You can either see it as a mountain of grim challenges or as steps to fulfill your promise or purpose; whether that is starting a new entrepreneurial venture or falling in love again with your career.  Start seizing and embracing your day so you can make great strides and move forward.

Setback or failure that led to pivot and shift:

  1. When Helene started out, she envisioned launching a gluten free, vegan bakery.  While an innovative idea, Helene found herself stuck on getting it just right.  Like a scientist trying to come up with a secret formula, Helene spent countless hours in the kitchen trying to come up with a gluten free, vegan recipe that could work.  While many of us develop tunnel vision and continue sticking with an intended goal to the point of diminishing and even negative returns, Helene made a simple yet hugely impactful pivot.  She said to herself “hey what happens if I throw in a few eggs.”  From there, By the Way Bakery’s purpose of serving those who are gluten and/or dairy sensitive emerged and flourished.  Moving Forward listeners, Helene’s passion for her business is what drives her but at the end of the day, it’s the love for her customers that sustains her.  You can hear it in her voice as she reminisces knocking on friends’ and neighbors’ doors (her “beta testers”), that included blogger, Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner: A Love Story, w/ the latest batch of cupcakes for them to sample.  Part of Helene’s success comes in her ability to be observant and that includes taking constructive criticism.  Helene not only gave her beta testers the tasty treats, she invited them to be absolutely candid and even “brutal” in their feedback.  For Helene, it wasn’t about ego or a “pat on the back” for the hours she spent in the kitchen or her entrepreneurial shift.  When it came down to it, it was about making the best muffins and baked goods possible; refining the process and making it better each time.  Ultimately, Helene wants to provide an experience that her customers will love and remember when visiting one of her bakeries.  Speaking to Helene and hearing the unbridled enthusiasm and love she has for her business and her customers, it’s no wonder that she has been able to pivot, succeed and move forward.

  2. Read Jenny Rosenstrach’s blog post on Helene and By the Way Bakery here.

Knowledge Bursts:

  1. Resource or cultural experience that inspired Helene to move forward:

  2. For Helene, there hasn’t been a single source that has inspired her but rather a constant flow of experiences.  As noted, the power of observation is what keeps Helene inspired; whether visiting a retail store, a restaurant or other establishment.  Helene is so present that she is able to find inspirational bursts in little corners that many of us would miss.  All of this is driven by her one goal: to make someone happy.  If Helene can look back on her day and know that she has made her customers happy, then she has fulfilled her purpose.

  3. How Helene stays organized and manages his time:

  4. As a self-described “frenetic” person, Helene pops out of bed “like a slice of toast out of a toaster” and sometimes, before she’s even had a chance to brush her teeth, she is downstairs reading her email.  Conversely, Helene shares a great discipline which many of us can benefit from – keep your phone far away from your bedroom at night.  This allows you to better segment your time away from work and put the right energy and focus into your morning when it’s time to check those messages and emails!  Moreover, Helene shares this important piece of wisdom: as an entrepreneur, realize that your day is not going to follow patterns as it might in the corporate world.  You must be flexible and ready to adapt to the change and variety that your day will hold for you.

  5. Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:

  6. Google: this is a constant research companion for Helene to learn, adapt and grow.  Her technique for google is also very telling: “an idea pops into my head and I’ve got to look it up.”  Moving Forward listeners, this is a great way to use google.  It doesn’t just have to be for those moments when you’re stumped.  You can use it as a resource guide for when ideas, thoughts or an itch to learn more about random trivia comes to mind.

  7. Download google app for your phone (IOS | Native on most Android devices).

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

  1. Try out Audible and move forward with two free audio books through our partnership w/ Amazon.

Helene’s Advice for you to Move Forward:

  1. Helene emails herself thoughts and reflections.  These emails can be as simple as a one line message affirming a “great day today” or “bad day today” or as profound as “here’s a thought for a next career …”  The act of emailing yourself can have more resonance than using a memo app and yet can be integrated into a busy schedule far easier than keeping a journal.  Moving Forward listeners: what thoughts, reflections or knowledge bursts have you observed today?  Don’t just store them in your head, open that email app and send yourself a note so you can memorialize them and move forward!

Connect with Helene:

  1. Stop by one of the three locations!

  2. Westchester: 574 Warburton Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

  3. +914.478.0555

  4. Hours: Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, Sunday 9 am – 2 pm (closed Mondays)

  5. Upper West Side: 2442 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

  6. +212.877.0806

  7. Hours: Open every day 8 am – 8 pm

  8. Upper East Side: 1236 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10028

  9. +212.988.3300

  10. Hours: Open every day 8 am – 8 pm

  11. You can also find them at the Summer Pop-up at Artists & Fleas!

  12. Brooklyn: 70 N. 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

  13. Hours: Saturdays and Sundays 10 am – 7 pm

  14. By the Way Bakery

  15. Facebook

  16. Twitter

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