Georgian Bay Sweets, Parry Sound
Georgian Bay Sweets | Stephannie Johnson
I have the wonderful opportunity to meet and photograph all kinds of amazing human beings.
While they are in studio, it is a privilege to learn about their businesses, or the work they do, their family, their interests, and hear a little bit about their story.
Stephannie Johnson, owner/founder of Georgian Bay Sweets, was in the studio updating her professional headshot. Georgian Bay Sweets is located in Parry Sound, specializing in all things sweet: cookies, decorated sugar cookies, cookie decorating kits, cupcakes and simple buttercream cakes.
What inspired you to develop your idea?
Prior to officially starting my business, in May 2020, I had always baked for family, friends, coworkers and even for community fundraisers. It was my mom, though, who suggested I give it a shot and start selling my cookies and cupcakes on the side while working at the The Parry Sound North Star.
How have your priorities changed from when you first started?
When I first began, I was always trying to force myself to come up with new ideas instead of letting them develop organically, or listening to my intuition. I ended up frustrated and not really enjoying myself as much as I could have.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
I would have had more fun and been far less concerned about perfection - it’s still an issue for me from time to time.
There was also a learning curve for how much money it would cost to ensure that the packaging of my product matched its quality. That’s something I wished I spent more time on.
What challenges did you have to overcome at the beginning of your journey?
It was a challenge at first to decide how much time and money I wanted and could invest in the business. I had to figure out how much I wanted to spend and on the what; what tools were crucial to my success and what other things could wait.
How do you define success?
The happiness of my customers and the fulfilment I receive from being a small part of their celebrations.
What is keeping you up at night?
How to be a better human for myself and my children … and the cost of butter.
Describe some of your key routines or habits that you have to keep you going?
Self care is key to everything I do - if I am not physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually well, I am unable to do any of the things I love; nor am I able to adequately give to those I love. I ensure I eat well, exercise, find a little “me time” and get plenty of sleep … oh, and drink coffee; just two cups a day though.
Do you, and/or, how do you find time to develop your creative process?
I love research; learning new techniques, trying different designs and recipes and never losing that element of play and fun when it comes to creating. If I have extra cookie dough or icing, I’m often trying out something new.
What are some hard choices that you had to make to get where you are?
I’ve had to decide how many products I wanted to offer. At first I wanted to do all the things and offer all the treats. However, I quickly decided I would rather offer a few great products - and constantly work on honing my skills in those areas - than a bunch of mediocre treats. I always tell people that make “simple buttercream cakes” - they indeed look simple, however I’ve worked hard to develop recipes to ensure that they taste amazing. (Footnote: Yep, they really do taste amazing - Peter)
What book and/or podcast are you enjoying right now?
- Podcasts: Office Ladies, Stuff You Should Know, The Jordan Harbinger Show, Ghost Tea Podcast.
- Reading: The Photographer’s Wife
What is one thing people would never guess about you?
The things I write about for fun.
What is one thing you wish people knew about you?
I am super shy. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to be outgoing. However, my career in reporting has helped.
If you had to live on an island, which ONE cupcake you would bring with you?
Oh that’s a tough one!
Vanilla cupcake, with ganache filling and raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream. That covers most of my favourites. Missing lemon, but I’ll sacrifice it in favour of the chocolate ganache.
Where can you find Stephannie?
Be sure to follow, like and support Georgian Bay Sweets, here:
You will also find Stephannie, in person, at some of the local markets in Parry Sound, such as the Carling Market. Stephannie has lots of support from her family to help her thriving business.
Peter Istvan Photography
Peter is a professional headshot photographer. Available in studio, or on location. Serving Parry Sound, Muskoka, Sudbury, North Bay, Barrie, Toronto, and surrounding areas. View pricing and scheduling.