The Everyday Girl Boss: Bri Larsen

It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. Not only do I love to indulge in baked goods but I also swoon over the artistry of a baker or pastry chef’s creations. Now-a-days you can order a cake, cupcakes, cookies, etc. in any artistic design, flavor, shape, size, etc. that you could possibly imagine. It’s quite impressive if you ask me.

This next girl boss is a sou chef turned baker who opened her very own French inspired bakery in the Capital Region. While her specialty items are her French macaroons, she also offers custom cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. So let’s meet Bri Larsen, the owner of Whisky Business Bakery in Schenectady, NY.

Name: Bri Larsen
Business: Whisky Business Bakery
Established Year: 2020
Instagram: @whiskybusinessbakery_
Facebook: @whiskybuisnessbakeryny

Tell me more about YOU, the dedicated and hardworking Girl Boss behind the business.
Born and raised in Schenectady, NY. My absolute passion in life is food: salty, sweet, savory, rich, or authentic.

I love all food (unless I’m allergic to it!) Hobbies include dining at new restaurants, scrolling the food section on IG, fangirling other small businesses on social media and cooking for my family.

Tell us more about your business and how you became a Girl Boss.
I dabbled in the “side baking” life while being a pastry sous chef out in Saratoga Springs NY. I woke up in the little of the night and developed the business name. I rushed to the internet to make sure I could secure the name, paid a pretty penny to do so then that was it; Whisky Business Bakery LLC was “born”. I had the help of family and high school friends to then help me create the business logo and put that logo on some fire merchandise!

My then job was incredibly toxic and after a very non-professional attack of my character and many tears later I made the decision to quit, nothing planned just to leave and look for better for myself (something I hadn’t done thus far in life.) I was offered the space we are in now from a family friend and the construction only took a few months. Before I knew it I had a small little bakery to call my own! We opened the bakery in February 2020, just a month before the pandemic hit the Capital Region and have remained open since! 

What does it mean to you to be a #GIRLBOSS? 
I instantly think of my hustle. I am the business owner, baker (only baker), customer service, marketing, AND social media gal. I’m beyond dedicated to my business, I never thought I’d be so lucky to do what I love everyday for myself. There is never a day I don’t come here, even when I don’t have to bake (which is very rare) I like to just have my quiet moments to think of what’s been accomplished, what’s next, or how I can do better. I’m most creative on my own however I often ask my family & friends their opinion because every Girl Boss has an incredible squad behind them! 

What do you love most about running your own business and being a Girl Boss?
Trying to write this in the sweetest manner; it’s finally my time to do as I would like. From my flavors to products to the design of the bakery. The way this space and opportunity for the bakery came to me when it did still baffles me. I needed a purpose in my life at that very moment and here I am, a year of being a business owner during a pandemic! Who would have thought it!

I’ve been obsessed with baking since I was young, won science projects for the science of baking chocolate chip cookies, it was quite obvious what I would end up being as an adult! My dad helps me every day here at the bakery and my mom helps on weekends. I love that I am able to run my business because of their help and support. My life is the sweetest dream!

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in being a business owner?
Few start-up challenges but majority were mainly at the hands of the public. We received negative opinions from people due to the fact that I didn’t bake bread (our Italian based towns bread bakery closed years ago…) They overlooked all that was in my pastry case and would walk out over the one thing they wanted that I didn’t have. Often asked “is this all you have!?” pretty hurtful to the owner standing behind the case full of sweets baked by her and only her.

I’ve grown a thick skin quickly though, the more times I was hung up on or walked out on I just taught me to further appreciate the customers I have gained that respect my passion for pastry and support it!

Is there a moment during your career that stands out to you and validates your decision to become a Girl Boss?
I have quite a few “a-ha!” moments. I’ve never expressed them to others because they happen often, still do! They could be something as simple as being at a farmers market and recognizing someone’s passion for their craft and my head spinning thinking of all they have to plan, organize, and produce to have that business.

The moment I knew I would quit my job to do literally anything else but be treated poorly is my favorite AHA, I mean look where it landed me.. Being interviewed for a Girl Boss Blog!!!

What advice would you give to aspiring Girl Bosses?
I know it may seem terrifying but it’s worth it. Don’t rush it. I spent years writing my flavor combinations, collecting recipes, and daydreaming of all the what-ifs.  Your timing may line up the way mine did and if it does, don’t let it pass you by! Look into grants, reach out to local businesses for advice, become affiliated with your local Chamber of Commerce. Farmers markets are an excellent venue to meet other aspiring business owners. I still frequent different local businesses and bring in some of my french macs with our business card attached. It’s a sweet & friendly introduction that could be just the beginning of a fruitful professional relationship!

Inquire with your family, friends, acquaintances, heck even someone from high school you haven’t spoken more than a few words with. Social media is your best friend, it’s free. Start posting as you are developing your business, it creates a fun hype that the people following your pages can’t wait to see what’s next to come! 

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