Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Samantha Betley, creator of Lock and Key Confectionery, a stylized chocolate confection company. Samantha shares with us her decision to start her own company, the inspiration behind her amazing hand made chocolates, and advice for women looking to enter the world of entrepreneurship.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
My name is Samantha and I am the owner of Lock & Key Confectionery. I have always loved creating in the kitchen, so when it came time for college, I excitedly attended Johnson & Wales University, where I earned a degree in Baking and Pastry arts. After school, I worked in several bakeries, focusing mainly on specialty and wedding cake decorating.
2. When did you know that you wanted to start Lock & Key Confectionery?
I started Lock & Key after my childhood best friend (another Boss Lady, Lily of Lily B & Co.) suggested it, actually. I had taken some time away from working in the baking world, but as we discussed the ideas of chocolates and stylized desserts, something just felt right. So, I jumped back into it by starting my own stylized chocolate company!
3. What was it like to leap from employee to entrepreneur?
I exercised some personal creativity as an employee, but nothing comparable to the level that I am creating with Lock & Key. Every decision is mine, and the direction this business takes is all up to me. That can be scary, but I try to focus on how empowering it can be! I am learning to have confidence in the decisions I make, regardless of their outcome, and I think that’s a big part of being an entrepreneur and a Boss Lady!
4. Describe a typical workday.
My workday varies depending on the orders I have, but my typical day involves email filled mornings, meetings or deliveries in the afternoons, and then working in the kitchen during evenings and overnight hours. It is a bit of a crazy schedule, and very different than any other job I’ve had before, but it has really worked best for me so far!
5. Has it been difficult expanding your business over ecommerce?
Online business has been really important as I’m expanding Lock & Key. I’m learning that maintaining a relationship with customers online requires more effort than sales in boutiques or in person, but keeping a regular presence through emails and social media helps bridge the gap.
6. What inspires your passion for desserts and creative design?
I think I take inspiration from a lot of places. I love going to farmers markets and hunting through spices, fruits, and nuts to find ideas for flavor combinations. Also, going back to the basics can be inspiring, so I will sometimes read through old books and notes from baking school to spark ideas. But when I am in the kitchen, it’s listening to music that keeps me motivated and inspired the most!
7. What is your most successful form of marketing?
My most successful form of marketing is probably Instagram. It has proven to be such an integral part in introducing new items and engaging customers. I love the ability to interact with people through sharing images of what I am working on, and hearing feedback almost instantaneously has been incredibly helpful in marketing products.
8. Are there any blogs or magazines that you routinely read to stay on top of your industry?
I really love Cherry Bombe Magazine! It’s always filled with amazing articles and stories, and features some of the most creative women in the food industry – so what’s not to love?!
9. Are there any Boss Ladies you look up to?
I think the Boss Lady who instantly comes to mind is my mom. She is the type of person who always sees the positive in any situation, and she’s incredibly hardworking. I think both of those attributes make a fantastic boss, and when I am doubting a decision or have a question about anything, she is the first person I ask!
10. Do you have any advice for women looking to start their own business?
I think starting your own business can be really intimidating, so I think that speaking and engaging with other entrepreneurial women can be really inspiring and encouraging. Don’t underestimate the power of asking for help or a little advice!
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