We had the good fortune of connecting with Jillian Wells and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jillian, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has played such a HUGE part in my career both before and after Bella Bakery was born — I was actually in Risk Management for a major oil and gas company in my “former life” before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Risk is something I had always thought of as something to be calculated, discussed, assessed and avoided. But I’m finding — when it comes to making my way in the small business world — success is what’s often found when you make that scary jump you might have been risk assessing for so long. I would never be where I am now if I hadn’t taken a risk on myself and simply tried. I wasn’t a trained pastry chef, or a professional baker, or even someone well versed on the ins and outs of starting their own business but here I am. The over analyzing part of me is always trying to determine risk in anything I do, but I’ve learned that the most worthwhile and meaningful things often come to those willing to take that risk.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
French macarons will always be what I consider to be my specialty — and they are a unique, selective pastry! I 100% believe they are what sets me apart. Macarons are finicky and not everyone can make them. I meet bakers every day that say they won’t even attempt to make them; they require patience, specialized skill and determination – all of which I had to learn and cultivate along the way in attempting to master these “unmasterable” cookies. I have faced every single challenge during my learning process and had to troubleshoot, adjust and re-work time and time again (I still do!) but here I am! I was determined and one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from this entire endeavor is to keep pushing and know that you can do hard things!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d absolutely have to start with breakfast or brunch! Maybe The Breakfast Klub or Bloom and Bee at the Post Oak (if we’re feeling super fancy, which of course we are) and then a stroll around the Zoo and/or Hermann Park — the Zoo just opened a great new Beer Garden, we’d have to enjoy a drink while feeding the giraffes! Shopping around the Galleria or maybe even shopping at some of the fun, funky shops in the Montrose area and a quick pit stop for coffee at Agora. Dinner dependent on food mood but B&B Butchers never disappoints. Dancing at Glorias to round out the night!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Well, of course, I wouldn’t be the owner of Bella Bakery without our namesake — my now four year old Bella — who inspires everything I do!
But I am constantly inspired to keep going by my family, my friends and by all the amazing local small business owners in our community and surrounding areas be that local bakers, crafters, boutique owners, entrepreneurs, etc. But without a doubt one of the most influential mentors I’ve had in this process have been the Glamfetti’s (as I lovingly call them) — Tiffany and Tyler Howard, owners of Glamfetti — a party decor store founded here in the Houston area. I got to work for them for a bit when Bella Bakery was just a little idea in my head and was blown away by them from the minute we met. Tiffany is creative, hard-working, driven and passionate about her business and she’s always been such an inspiration when it comes to learning the ins and outs of actually running a business. I’m not sure she’d even realize how much I’ve learned from her over the years about every facet of small business ownership; from photography, social media strategies, flavor ideas, networking, packaging, etc. — I don’t think I’d be where I am today without having met her along the way and I’m so thankful for her!
Headshots – Mary Ann Vanieck