New Winnipeg Chamber member Heather Daymond just spent the weekend getting Hollywood’s brightest stars (some timid at first) to yell Shut Ur Pie Hole!
Before she headed down to tinsel town, The Chamber caught up with her to see how prep was going.
“I’m a feeling a bit chaotic right now – and ecstatic,” the owner of Shut Ur Pie Hole said last week as she assembled 230 of her mason jar pies to take to the 68th Emmy Awards. On Saturday she joined the throng of gifting booths that television’s elite visited as part of the weekend’s lavish parties.
“We’ve chosen to bring our butter tart recipe as a very Canadian option,” Daymond said, noting she’d be handing out maple leaf pins with her sweet treats to the American crowds. “They could use a bit of Canadian love right now, and it touches on their interest with Trudeau.”
Since the organization behind the Emmys found Shut Ur Pie Hole through social media and invited Daymond to participate, the Cypress River-raised entrepreneur had been busy with the significant investments needed to make the marquis marketing opportunity a win. Along with constructing – and transporting – an elaborately designed booth, Daymond had to temporarily move her operations out of a commercial kitchen in Winnipeg to the Food Development Centre in Portage la Prairie to acquire US FDA nutritional labels - an invaluable support to entrepreneurs in the food industry who need to take their goods across the border.
“It’s a huge investment and a leap of faith,” Daymond says of her trip with six support staff. “It’s our launch into the United States, where we know we want to grow, with media like HuffPo, US Weekly and the New York Post in attendance… and there’s the potential for a round of capital investment afterward that could elevate us very high.”
“Who knows what’s waiting on the other side of the Emmys?”
Unexpected twists have been a part of Daymond’s life since she left Hudson’s Bay Company in 2013 during a round of cuts. The former social media coordinator spent a year looking for similar work before two events led her to launch Shut Ur Pie Hole.
She took first place in the agricultural fair in her hometown where she competed against “the very best in country baking.”
Second, her social media feed lit up when she posted pictures of single serving pies she’d baked one day in mason jars she found kicking around in the kitchen.
Initially attending farmers markets and entrepreneurial contests when she officially opened in 2014, Shut Ur Pie Hole now sells 80 per cent of its product outside of Manitoba, shipping across Canada and setting up booths at high traffic conventions in Toronto and Vancouver.
That runaway success has been a challenge in itself, which is what led Daymond to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.
“I chose to join The Chamber based on its vision for small business,” she said. “I used to think it wasn’t relevant to my business, but then I attended a Small Business Forum, heard what The Chamber is going to offer small business members, and that made me very interested.”
“I need HR help. I need tax help. I need access to many people. I’m growing so fast and trying to learn as fast as I grow and constantly reaching out to someone who knows what I’m looking for.”
Finding expert help balances out the flood of good-natured suggestions Daymond says start ups receive when they start to take off.
“I’ll get comments like ‘You should do this, you should add this flavour.’ Sometimes the amount of things a small start up tries to do is insane… The alternative is for people to come and say ‘I want to do this for your small business’ because while I don’t have time for new projects, I certainly need a few more hands.”
When a friend recently used a vacation day from her corporate job to join Daymond in the kitchen, she said the small gesture had a profound impact on both of them.
“At the end of the day she loved it and told me she was thinking about doing it in her retirement,” Daymond said. “It really helped centre me and fall back in love with food. Plus it helped me remember there are things I have in my life others are looking for – flexible hours, a strong connection to their work.”
“I come from a tiny town. My parents are grain farmers, my brother is a grain farmer… I have very strong agricultural roots and I’m very proud to take that with me.”
To find the support the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce can offer small businesses – and the discount rate for start ups to join for their first year – head to www.winnipeg-chamber.com
Heather Daymond will join a panel of small business owners to share how you can grow. View details and register for the October 21 event "Get Ready to Grow."