Last year, I traveled to Provo, Utah, for the annual Storymakers Conference.
It’s always a trip I look forward to, not only because I learn so much about the craft of writing and get fueled anew in my writing projects, but because Provo is a place near and dear to my heart. I spent nearly five years there as a student at BYU, and welcomed my twin boys Nate and Toby, at the hospital there. There, I formed lifelong friendships, met my eternal companion, and developed my own identity.
So anytime I get to go back, I am overjoyed. Along with attending classes and workshopping my writing each year, I visit with old friends, re-remember my favorite restaurants, and enjoy a few kid-less days by the mountains. (WE NEED THOSE.)
This past year, I took my trip excited about the prospect of a few solid sleeps away from my then three-month olds and lots of learning. Upon arriving in Utah, I settled into my trip-mode with lunch at a favorite spot and a box of just-for-me macaron ice cream sandwiches from Macs a La Mode, which I then proceeded to eat in bliss over the next few days.
I had heard about Macs a La Mode a year or two earlier, enamored by photos of the colorful, mouth-watering treats I had seen on Instagram. I knew I HAD to try them. And let me tell you…it’s an experience not to be missed.
On Today’s Talking Shop, Macs a La Mode‘s founder Jenna Parker chats with us about the origin of the one-of-a-kind treat, how her business has grown, and the things she’s learned along the way.
Everyone, meet Jenna!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jenna Parker. I have been married to my best friend Joey for 10 years this May, and we have two kids. We both grew up in Orem and can’t imagine living and having our shop anywhere else.
How did Macs a La Mode get started?
When my first child was about to turn 1 and was a little more independent, I knew I needed a hobby or a project to fill some of my time. I have always loved baking and planned to start making regular macarons for weddings and parties. Around the same time, my sister went on a cruise and came back and told me the best thing she ate was a macaron with gelato and that I had to start making them. A month or so later, Macs a la Mode was born!
What makes you passionate about what you do?
I have always loved to bake. My dad was a restauranteur before he had a family, so I grew up being very comfortable in the kitchen. We were also helping make dinner for a large family, and I always loved to make cookies and other sweets, too!
What has been the biggest challenge as your business has grown?
I went from working alone in my kitchen, with occasional prep help from my husband for two years, to managing 7 employees and a commercial kitchen within a week. It’s been interesting bringing so many people into the business, but it’s allowed me to have a life outside of Macs, which I’m so thankful for.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned while running your business?
I have learned that anyone can do anything. And that Google is my best friend and biggest resource!
What is one of the biggest things you’ve learned about yourself as you’ve built Macs a La Mode?
I’ve learned so much about myself in this process. I’ve learned to step outside of my comfort zone, I’ve learned how to manage my time, and I’ve learned how to be a leader.
What is a day in your life like?
My works days start pretty early, and my kids are usually my alarm clock. Once they are up and started on breakfast I am out the door to the shop. Most days I bake between 120 and 240 Macs, then head home by noon and spend the rest of the day with my kids. We live about a mile away from the shop, so I go open and close the shop each night, too!
How have you learned to manage the balance of parenthood and business?
We have been so lucky to have a friend be able to watch our kids a few times a week, and have really supportive family close by as well. This is where my time management has really helped too, knowing exactly how much time I have to get things done and sticking to it has helped me keep that balance so I can still have as much time with my family as possible.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Okay, so it wasn’t so much personal advice, but a quote from Back to the Future that I truly believe: “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
What advice would you give to those aspiring entrepreneurs?
Everyone is going to have an opinion and advice about what you’re doing. Listen politely, but realize that most people will never be in your exact situation, and in the end it’s your opinion that matters. Trust your instincts.
Where do you hope to be in the next year with your business?
I hope to see growth in the business. Whether that means a second location, more products, more employees, etc., I’m not sure, but I’m excited to see where we go from here.
And last but not least, favorite mac flavor? 🙂
This one is tough! One of our very first flavors was Strawberry, and that has been at the top of my list since day one. Pistachio is one of our newer flavors and it’s definitely edging close to first place, too!
The Fun Qs:
What is your favorite out-of-office activity?
I just love spending time with my family, and going on dates with my husband.
What is the best movie/TV show you’ve seen lately?
We just watched The Peanut Butter Falcon and loved it!
What makes you laugh?
What is your desert island meal?
Cheeseburger and french fries!