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Sadie Scheffer is an artist, an MIT dropout, and an accidental baker who founded Bread SRSLY to reunite people with sourdough when they thought good bread was off the table.
Why did you start your business?
I started Bread SRSLY as a hobby business actually! I wanted to cover the costs of developing a delicious gluten-free bread recipe, so I sold test batches to friends and family. I didn't know that I was kicking off the next 10+ years of my career.
What has been the best part of your entrepreneurial journey?
The best part of my journey has been building my team. Bread SRSLY now has 30 employees! I am so proud of growing my leadership knowledge, and now seeing my teammates grow theirs. I work with amazing people every day, and it's world-changing.
How has working from home impacted the way you work and live? What does balance mean to you in this new normal?
Since June 2020, I have been leading our Operations team, so I work onsite with our manufacturing staff for part of the week. My husband Jesse is also part of our Operations team. This means balance is precarious at best - We have such interesting and pressing issues to solve all the time, and it's hard to stop problem-solving together on the weekends. I work from home a few days per week now that the holidays are past so I can get more focused time to work on projects. But working onsite is a real privilege - it fills my social needs, and keeps me inspired to fight for fair treatment of essential workers who are working so hard, and who are under-appreciated by so many.
How do you stay motivated and overcome challenges?
I love brainstorming and problem solving, so challenges often feel like games to me. Coming up with creative and exciting solutions keeps me motivated, and I need that motivation when faced with challenges that are not as fun. COVID has presented our team with so many tough decisions, and we draw on our reserves of motivation and resilience to get through them. But they do take a toll. The biggest pain point of the past year is the responsibility of making decisions that effect the health and livelihoods of 30 other people. It is not appropriate to make business decisions based just on financial performance - safety must be our top priority in all that we do - and it's disheartening to know that it's up to me to uphold that standard. No government agency is going to force me to act in our employee's best interests, and as a business owner I am financially motivated to cut corners with worker safety. It's a huge responsibility, and I take it as such.
What are some rituals you’ve adopted to practice self-care around the home?
Instead of trying to squeeze a few more hours of work out of myself in the evenings, I bake myself cookies! It's my immediate self care, with lasting delicious rewards for the week. I've also started reading books for pleasure. I'm ignoring my stack of business books in favor of novels, which also helps me put down my phone at the end of the night and spend some quiet time reading.
Who is a female founder you admire and why?
Brené Brown is my hero. I've learned so much from her book Dare to Lead, and I use those learnings every day at work and in my personal life. I admire that she has so many projects going on - research, writing, speaking engagements, and multiple different companies. Mostly, I am so grateful that she shares her research with the world and does not keep it confined to academia.
What’s one thing in your home you can’t live without during quarantine?
My space heater! Our house is freezing. Also, my vegetable garden. It's a huge source of joy for me, and I'm lucky to get to grow produce year round since we don't get snow.
What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs or working women during this time?
I think womxn in the workplace have always been underestimated for their "soft skills." The pandemic is our time to lead - we can't get through this without a deep understanding of people's humanity, and of our needs for connection, empathy and kindness. I think humanizing the workplace is the challenge before us, from bringing compassion into decision-making, to dismantling oppressive systems in our companies. Womxn and BIPOC are the ones to lead this work. My advice is to trust in your own humanity, trust your gut, and find a community that doesn't ignore your powerful voice.