#75: Jordan James – Founder & Head Chef at Cupcakes by Jordan James
Jordan James Podcast Transcript
Neil Dudley: The Pederson’s Farms Podcast is happy to introduce you to this lady. Her name is Jordan James. She makes the most stupendous- like she said, you’re going to be tickled pink to hear about all the things she’s up to. And as a guy who has met her in person at the World Food Championship, I think she’s a star. She’s a high quality personality, a high integrity young lady, and I want her to have this chance, really, it’s my chance, to offer her perspective to the Pederson’s Farms faithful. So Jordan, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for taking this time to be a part of it.
Jordan James: Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me here. I’m so excited.
Neil Dudley: So first things first, what does it feel like to be the runner up in the bacon category at the World Food Championship?
Jordan James: Oh, my gosh, I was- First of all, I didn’t go in with any expectations. I was just there to learn from the fantastic chefs and bakers around me because I was just, of course, just so happy to be there. But I went in with my bourbon maple bacon cupcake not expecting much. And getting runner up by less than a point was just so exciting. Congratulations, of course, to the woman who won, she completely deserved it. But oh my gosh, so humbling and just so excited to be there and be around all those great chefs and people. It’s just exciting.
Neil Dudley: So tell us how did it come to be that you were even there? Like how did that happen?
Jordan James: It was completely a coincidence, just how things lined up. So, my mom heard about this Bacon Fest at a Potawatomi casino in Milwaukee. And she told me, hey, Jordan, do you want to do something like this? And I was like, well, maybe sure, just to get my name out there, get some publicity, of course. That’s all small business is, just getting your name out there. But after talking to the coordinators and people running the event, I learned very quickly that I had to make 2000 cupcakes just to give away, and I had to pay to be there and pay to set up. It was just I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it with the short time constraints because the event was literally in the next month. And I still had to make the cupcake. But after talking to the event coordinator a little bit more, they offered me a spot to be on the radio to promote my business, the event happening, and my cupcake, and I was, of course, after being asked to be on the radio, I had to do it. So, I made the cupcake. I went into the radio station, maybe two days, three days later, I was on the air, super exciting. My mom recorded the whole thing, she was very bubbly to be there with me. And on that next Sunday, I was at the Bacon Fest competing with my cupcake and just passing out the cupcake. I was so happy to be here. My dad actually chipped in and helped. He drove some cupcakes there with some coolers. It was lovely to have him help. And I had to make a cupcake in the competition. And I won unanimously, and then I got my little golden ticket. And I was at the World Food Championships in the bacon category.
Neil Dudley: Well, I think it’s a testament to try things. Like anybody and everybody, if you have a business, enter the competition. Mom and dad, if you have a kid that’s passionate about something, encourage them to go. That had to be a little bit scary. Oh, by the way, you need to give me money, and you’ve got to make 2000 cupcakes. And I don’t know, I don’t make cupcakes for a living. Can you make them ahead of time? Are they just as good if you make them a week ahead of time? I mean, I couldn’t even imagine trying to make 2000 cupcakes. What’s the story there? How did you do that?
Jordan James: So I only had maybe two to three days to actually do it. So, I was up late at the kitchen baking these cupcakes, cranking out like 500 cupcakes a day, frosting them, putting them in the freezer. Cupcakes last really well in the freezer. You can put them in, maybe keep them in there I wouldn’t say longer than maybe three weeks. Four is still good, but I wouldn’t keep it in longer than that. But take them out, let them thaw to room temperature, and they are the most delicious most cupcakes. And the night before, my mom and my dad, because I was getting my three hours asleep, but were in the kitchen, cooking bacon, making sure it was perfectly crispy for the event. They are such a big help to me, I could not do without them.
Neil Dudley: That’s great. I mean, that is kind of true. I mean, I owe my parents that appreciation. I’m glad that you see it. Do you have any siblings? I’m curious, just quickly.
Jordan James: Yeah, I have an older sister. She’s hilarious. She has this dry sense of humor. But when she walks into a room, I swear, we tell her all the time, it’s like a sitcom. When she walks in, you can feel the music playing.
Neil Dudley: Well, I mean, so kind of what- Anybody watching, so by the way, hi to everybody on YouTube that’s catching this conversation there, Jordans smile, this is the stuff I’m talking about, what I think is just super awesome about you. And it also seems like you’re just in a really supportive family. I don’t know, like where do you get that attitude? Because the truth can’t be, like I know this much about life, it’s not that easy. It’s not always that happy. So where do you, how do you keep that high quality attitude? Okay, right now, it’s easy. You’re on the podcast. You want people to do business with you. It’s pretty easy to say, yeah, I’m smiling and happy now. But I’ve seen you after the competition, in the heat of battle, at the World Food Championship, you were the same personality there. So this is what I think is your natural way of being. Where do you get that?
Jordan James: So I mean, it just has to do with my parents. They are so incredibly supportive of me. I mean, even starting a business, it costs so much money just to start one, let alone to keep it going because everything gets reinvested back into the business. But they never tell me- it’s not like they never tell me no, I get told no a lot. But they never limit my experiences. They never let money be like a limiting factor. They want me to try everything and get the most out of life. And I think that is just a blessing in itself. And just to be surrounded by such supportive parents and just to have the opportunity to be able to do something as crazy as owning a business at 17 starting at 12. I just feel so gifted and blessed to be here. And I just can’t have a bad mood by that. Of course, there are days when I’m up in the kitchen baking at like four o’clock in the morning for a cake order due that same day, and I do get really stressed, but I just need to take a step back and breathe. And my mom takes a step back if she knows I’m a little irritated in the moment. But soon as I can breathe and just reevaluate and reassess, I can get back onto that like little bandwagon and keep baking and keep doing something I love. Because I love baking. I really do.
Neil Dudley: Awesome. There was one of the questions I sent you prior to our conversation, it goes something like, who are you? And why do you do what you do? We’ve kind of covered a little bit of who you are. There might be some more there. But why do you bake cupcakes? I mean, how does that turn out to be the business you start?
Jordan James: So I make gourmet organic cupcakes from scratch using organic all natural ingredients. I take great pride in that I make organic all natural and I use those ingredients. But I bake just because I love doing it. I think a cupcake is just such a beautiful, like the little dessert and I make little mini cupcakes too, and they are the cutest little bite sizes. I just think cupcakes are a great vessel of flavor. You have the spongy cake, the delicious creamy buttercream frosting. And then you have your topping of a compote, a filling, like a piece of fruit, maybe a tuile, or just some dried flowers. I just think cupcakes are just so beautiful. And I make mine accommodating to some dietary needs, like vegan, gluten free, sugar free, peanut, tree nut free. Having an allergy myself with peanut and tree nuts, I know how it feels to be left out when there are desserts on the table, macaroons, scones, cupcakes, cakes, and I just can’t have any of them. And I love sugar. So, I would never want to rob anyone of a little bit of sugar in their lives. So, I try to accommodate to that. And it’s just, I just love what I do really.
Neil Dudley: I mean, I think it’s also- so this podcast, part of the reason to do it, the one reason, not the one, but one of the reasons Pederson’s wants to have these conversations is this has to do with where your food comes from. Somebody that’s eating a Jordan James cupcake, this is a little bit of a deep dive into where that comes from. Now you hear a little bit from Jordan about why she wants to have food that isn’t limiting for somebody with a nut allergy, etc., or vegan. So great. Thank you for that insight. Now since I work for a meat company and you’re of the generation I’m interested in understanding, especially because you’re the future of our business, for us to survive, we need to make sure we are solving food problems or providing food in a way that the next generation appreciates. Well, what do you think about meat? Do you eat meat? How do you feel about animal protein?
Jordan James: I have to say I do enjoy a piece of bacon. I do eat meat. My mom is a vegetarian, my dad is pescetarian. So, I have a wide variety of dietary combinations. In my family, dinner time gets a little confusing sometimes, but we make it work. But we do, nonetheless, still prioritize ourself in organic and all natural. I saw on your website that you have organic bacon. And that’s just so exciting for me to see because there are so many chemicals and so much stuff in our food. And people are becoming more concerned about that. Just so long as you have a clean product, I think everyone, most people at least, will be satisfied in that.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, sure. I think Americans specifically, maybe even around the globe, Americans might be unfair, it could be just humans, are getting more educated, more interested in where their food comes from. It’s part of why we want to do the podcast. We want to just offer- like, how many people actually get to meet Jordan James? Not that many. I happen to be one of them. Now I can get you on the podcast and we can share this story of yours and your perspective and your thoughts on where food comes from with people. Ours are probably going to be different. I grew up on a ranch. Animal protein doesn’t bother me in the least. It actually works really well within my diet and never gives me a problem. And I don’t have any aversion to that idea. You live a little different life, one’s vegan, one’s pescatarian. So you’ve got a very valuable perspective for a guy like me, for people that listen to this podcast because those are the people that we- let’s say your mom may never enjoy one of our products, but I still want her to be very comfortable understanding the company we are. That’s what we’re doing here. Anyways, that’s enough. That’s kind of a rabbit trail we don’t have to follow. I do want to mention your website, cupcakesbyjordanjames.com. Everybody go there. It looks like they can order from you on the website. Let’s explode this girl’s business. Like I want her to call me back in a couple days and say, Neil, I don’t know what to do. I’ve got more orders. I cannot cook 2000 a day. Well, actually, just you’ll be able to, you just have to expand. That’s part of business. Or raise your price. That’s another thing. I’m so proud of you at your age, you’re learning, like the quickest way to learn this stuff is go into business. Because you’re learning about scaling. You’re learning about how you can control demand with price in some ways. Do you have an income statement? Like I’m just curious about some of these things. Like do you look at an income statement for your business?
Jordan James: So I mean, one of the biggest things I’ve learned is knowing my product and how much to charge for it. I still don’t charge enough. I base my pricing off bakeries around me, and they make artisan cupcake, sure, but they don’t use organic ingredients like I do. I love looking at the numbers. I love looking at the graphs, seeing how much I’m pulling in, seeing what customers like, what cupcakes they like. But, I mean, I’m still- my mom handles most of my financials, so I’m not 100% in clarity with all of that. But as soon as I get an income statement, I’ll be able to base things off that.
Neil Dudley: And almost every business has that kind of relationship too. Like your wheelhouse is making cupcakes. Maybe mom’s wheelhouse is the books. So that’s totally a great representation of what’s true and possible. By the way, what is the most favorite cupcake?
Jordan James: My most favorite cupcake or-?
Neil Dudley: Okay, both. I want to know both. What’s your favorite, and which one sells the best?
Jordan James: So I’m going to start with my favorite, the perks of having my own business, I can make virtually whatever cupcake flavor I want. So I got to make my absolute favorite. I’m a big tea drinker. I love chamomile, I love green tea, oolong. It’s my favorite. But I made a lavender Earl Grey cake. It’s a spice cake dipped in lavender extract with a lavender meringue frosting, and I give it a little toast on top with some dried lavender to give a little decoration. And it is my absolute favorite cupcake. It’s not the sweetest, but it’s just the textures, the creaminess of the meringue, almost the denseness of the cake, I don’t know, it just has more body to it. It’s just such a good cupcake in my opinion.
Neil Dudley: Now you’re saying a word there. Okay, I’m sorry. We got a pause. I need to know. Is merengue- See, that just sounds like something that’s hard. Meringue. What is that? Is that hard to do?
Jordan James: It’s not necessarily hard to do. You just have to make sure your simple sugar temperature is right and you’re not burning it or not letting it cook enough. But as soon as you get that right temperature and it’s a little bubbly and not breaking or separating, just that nice bubble, and then you put into your mixer and whip it as high as you can and just keep it going until stiff peaks form, it is the silkiest, creamiest thing that you’ve ever tasted. It’s so airy and fluffy and it’s just one of my favorite frostings to make.
Neil Dudley: Awesome, I love that. Okay, so what is your best selling cupcake?
Jordan James: My best selling cupcake, I will say, is my bourbon maple bacon cupcake. After the World Food Championships, that cupcake just got so popular and even before then. It wasn’t the cupcake that it is now. It was just a regular maple bacon cupcake, cinnamon maple cake with a cream cheese frosting and a piece of bacon on top. But now it’s a cinnamon maple cake dipped in bourbon with a layer of Pederson’s hickory smoked bacon, with a creamy smoked cream cheese frosting, and a bacon crumble, bacon powder, a peach compote and a bacon tuile. And it is my most elaborate cupcake, I will say now. And people just love it. They’re floored by the presentation, floored by the flavor combinations and the textures. And after submitting that cupcake to the World Food Championships, I’m looking back at my menu now and just thinking how I can elevate my flavors just to match up to that because it’s just a fantastic cupcake. And I absolutely love it.
Neil Dudley: I’m pretty sure everybody- Well, I mean, when it is the best seller, you know you’re doing something right. Of course, bacon is kind of this thing I’m lucky to sell because you really don’t have to sell it. Almost all you have to do is say I have bacon, and people will be like, I’ll buy it. I mean, it’s really not that hard to do. But if you’re listening to this interview, and you have five minutes, go watch on YouTube and just see how passionate Jordan- you’ll be able to see, I know you can hear it in her voice. But you can see then in the video how passionate and how much she really loves what she’s doing. And I’m so excited to get to know you at this age. And I want to check back in 5 years, in 10 years and see what you’re up to. Because you just have a really high quality focus and passion for what you’re doing. And I think that plays out into really big things.
Jordan James: I mean, being a young entrepreneur, I just have to make sure that my image and my product is on point. Because not everyone can take me seriously. And I understand that I am still 17, and when I started, I was 12. So like, come on, I’m a child. But I just have to make sure that I’m on point so that people around me can take me seriously. And I put a lot of effort into my presentation and my product just to make sure that doesn’t- people just understand me.
Neil Dudley: That’s great. I mean, it’s a very mature way of thinking about it too because you’re really just owning that. Like I could say, well, that’s not true, people- you do good work, you show up with the attitude and the knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 years old, people are going to take you serious. But that’s not really true either. People will have biases due to your age. I mean, it’s just unfortunate, but it’s true. And I love your attitude towards it. Like, hey, this is the truth, so I’m going to make sure I’m on point. You’re doing a great job of marketing yourself by being a part of these and by being on the podcast and just letting that personality shine. Okay, so this is all about where food comes from. It’s not all about that, but it’s definitely a topic I want to touch on. And before we get done, I also want to kind of give you the opportunity, I want people to learn something from you. So I want you to give them a chance of maybe- let’s just go there. I want to ask this question. What is your favorite like memory or educational moment or failure or lesson learned in recent time or really ever that you’re just like, man, I’m glad that happened, although I wasn’t maybe at the moment?
Jordan James: I will say the most recent one will have to be at the World Food Championships. I mean, that’s just such a core memory for me right now. I met Jonathan, I hope I’m pronouncing his last name right, Giovannoni. I have the pronunciation written on my iPad. But anyways, he is just this incredible caterer and baker and chef, and when I first met him at the World Food Championships, he guided me around. He gave me all the tips and tricks, things to look out for, things to maybe do, maybe not do, experiment a little bit, and he was just such a kind soul and just such a helpful human being. And he just taught me that not everything has to be cutthroat and like nail to nail competition. And after he gave me all this advice, I found out a little bit later that we were in the same category competing against each other. But that didn’t like cloud his judgment at all. He still wanted me to perform my best, he was still looking out for me, which I just thought was so incredibly sweet and so helpful just overall. And, of course, that didn’t mean that he wasn’t trying to win. He told me the night before- the night of the finals, there we go, then night of the finals, he had his dad up, he was a sous chef, he had his dad up till 2am helping him plate the dish. And I was like, wow, that’s dedication. But nonetheless, he was just so kind. And he just didn’t- he taught me that not everything has to be so cutthroat. There’s room in this industry for all of us to succeed. I’m not trying to do that the catering that he’s trying to do. I love cupcakes, and I want to bake. That’s what I want to do. But there’s just so much room in this industry for us all to succeed. And just, I don’t know, that just taught me so much. And it just helps me want to pay forward that kindness.
Neil Dudley: Well, you’re teaching that to me, and you’re paying it forward on this podcast. It is a yeehaw, it is a huge yeehaw, what you’re touching on, what you’re saying. No one has to fail, nobody else has to fail for me to succeed. And that’s a great truth in America, maybe the world, but certainly in America, there’s abundant opportunity for those who want to go after it and go get it. Nobody else has to fail for you to succeed. So, and I think that’s kind of true, this is kind of a truth within the chef community. Like chefs want other chefs to succeed. They want to see them do well. They don’t mind helping them. And that’s really cool that you told that story about Jonathan. I got to meet him. He’s a really awesome guy. He’s got a really cool story, too. I mean, he’s not had the easiest life there ever was. He still just keeps a smile on his face and he helps you and does a great job. All right, so as a 17 year old, this is super- I’m curious, what do you think is missing- Okay, so I’m going to kind of word this question in a couple of ways. What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about where food comes from? Or what is a thing you would like to know more about where food comes from? So either, kind of from what perspective would you take a question like that?
Jordan James: So, I mean, just to relate it back to myself with organic and all natural ingredients, just making sure that your food is clean and there’s no pesticides, no artificial flavors. I just think a whole ingredient is just, it just provides so much to the overall flavor of the dish. I mean, I make cupcakes with organic and natural ingredients. And not everyone can appreciate paying $4 to $5 for a cupcake. But that’s just how much the ingredients cost because of the quality of it. Not everyone appreciates quality, which I think is unfortunate, but it’s just the truth of the matter. But I know-
Neil Dudley: Well, organic can be confusing, too. I mean, the word organic paints a certain picture in your mind that, I don’t know, there’s a little beautiful rain cloud over this field of wheat all the time because it’s organic wheat. That’s not exactly how it is. I mean, it’s raising organic ingredients, produce, meat, it skips by a lot of the things that kind of help you battle Mother Nature, which is kind of also cool that, well, hey, what you end up then with is what Mother Nature intended or allowed, and that’s kind of cool to me too.
Jordan James: And I mean, I know there are some loopholes in getting the organic certification. And there’re things super close to organic but not with that certification, like grass fed or all natural or free roam. There’s so many fantastic things that don’t necessarily have to be organic that you could still be doing to have just a great quality product and a great quality- just a quality product really, but it doesn’t have to just be organic. There are so many other gateways that quality can come through in packaging and certification.
Neil Dudley: Okay, so when you’re not cooking cupcakes, what are you doing?
Jordan James: So actually, right before this, I just came from a musical rehearsal. I’m a big theater geek. My high school is doing-
Neil Dudley: This teaches me so much. That’s why you’re so good with the camera. You understand how it works.
Jordan James: I’m a big performer. I just finished Matilda at my local theater. And I was Mrs. Phelps, the library. The movie literally just came out. I just love musical theater. I play the French horn in my band. I had the chance to play at Carnegie Hall this past February. And this next year in July, I’ll be going to Australia to play the Sydney Opera House because I auditioned for this honors band, and I got in, which was just completely surreal.
Neil Dudley: You’re just a high performer in every way. That’s really, totally interesting. And congratulations is in order. Good work. Keep it up. Now, do you think your art- do you think you’re just kind of naturally artistic, and actually, that is a huge asset to your cupcake making skills or business?
Jordan James: So I definitely think my creativity is a great gateway to me baking because that’s all baking is, is creativity, testing out flavors, thinking this way, thinking that way, what comes to mind when you think of this for flavor combinations. I think that’s an absolute leg up that I have. And just, I don’t know, presenting, being on podcasts like this, having a bubbly personality, presenting to other people. But I found when I first started, I was still a theater geek when I was 10, 11, 12, but I found out very quickly that there is a very bold line between performing on stage, giving a presentation in schooling, and marketing a product. They were just- I could do two out of three of them. But when I first started, I was so scared to talk- I sold at markets. I was so scared to talk to people walking by, catching their attention, trying to sell my cupcakes because maybe they don’t want to buy one. I can’t force them to do it.
Neil Dudley: Why do you think that is? That’s great. Let’s pull on that string a little bit. That’s so interesting to me. Why do you think that didn’t translate exactly? Is it because of the reality of the no? Like when you’re trying to sell your product, and somebody says no, I’m not interested, it feels maybe a little different than what you might feel at a theater because maybe nobody’s clapping or something. But it’s not as specifically, maybe it’s not as specifically directed at you. I don’t know. What do you think?
Jordan James: So I mean, onstage, I feel so comfortable. I love being on stage. I’m talking with whoever I’m talking with, let’s say I’m Mrs. Phelps talking to Matilda. I say funny line, I’m expecting a laugh from the audience, and not all the times I get it. And that’s okay. I just got to keep going and stay in character. But there’s a script that I follow. I can add certain inflection, certain diction. But I’m following the script. I’m so secure in that script. Giving a presentation in school, I’m inviting questions. I’m inviting, oh, yeah, you can ask your question. This is what I’m talking about. Let’s stay on this topic, exactly this topic. But when I’m marketing to someone, I’m having a conversation. And that can be a little difficult at times. Because I’m not the best at improv. I’ll say that now.
Neil Dudley: Well, you’re doing a pretty good job here because I’ve not stayed on script exactly.
Jordan James: Oh, my gosh. But I was shy, I was 12. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t know how to convince people to give me their money. I was nervous that they would think I was cheating them out of their money if I told them, you could buy four instead of one because I had a four pack of cupcakes. So I was just really nervous. And my mom, actually, she has connections with the job she works in, which is again, just an amazing blessing in just how things aligned for me. I just can’t take anything for granted. And she set me up with not a dialect coach, but she helped me talk to customers, roleplay situations where a customer would be talking to me. And of course, it was awkward at first, but I would meet with her on Friday afternoons on a video call and she would be the customer and I’d be selling to her. And I would try out my techniques the next Saturday at the market. And I would write things down. I was 12 years old. I was so excited because, oh my gosh, I converted a customer, someone who really wasn’t looking to buy, but I got them to buy something. And I would write it down and give myself a little star. I would show her, and she would be so excited.
Neil Dudley: What is the key- This is so fun. I’m learning stuff. Anybody listening, listen up, folks. I hope you’ve stayed with this podcast to minute 28 because this is some super valuable stuff Jordan’s talking about. What is the first step in having a chance to sell somebody?
Jordan James: It is just being confident in your product. Of course, I will say it a million times because I’m so proud of it, I make cupcakes with organic and all natural ingredients. I sold that in a market where the customers didn’t fully value that. I was selling my cupcakes at the time for $1.25 and maybe, what was it, $3 for a standard, and then at the- we’d get to 12, and there’s a discount because that’s what other bakeries were doing. But I was losing so much money. And people were like I have- there was one time at the end of a market, some lady came up, and my standard 12 pack went for like- No, my mini 12 pack went for like $15 or something like that, not even. And she said, “Oh, well, I have $10.” And I was like, “Oh, well, that’s cool.” And she was like, “Can I get it for $10?” And I was so scared, I was about to say, yes, like, yeah, you can take it because she’s going to give me money for my product, but it’s just not the amount that it’s worth. And I looked to my mom like, mom, I don’t know what to do right now. And my mom stepped in, again, I was 12 and very scared. And my mom told her, “You know what, maybe not today.” And she said, “I’ll just go over to this other bakery.” And she said, “Yep, well enjoy your day.” And it’s just having confidence in your product and knowing what it’s worth, because my cupcakes were not worth $10 for 12 at the time, and they are not worth $10 for 12 at the time today. So it’s just knowing what your product is worth.
Neil Dudley: I love that. That’s so good. I think when you’re- I would encourage you or anybody that’s wanting to start a business, figure that out, the first step to selling anything to anybody is say hi to them. Hi. If you have that chance, if you’re in a farmers market. I do this for a living too. I’m at food shows. I’m standing at the booth. Our rule at our booth is nobody walks by without getting a smile and a hello. Because they’re planning on walking by. Like, they don’t want to mess with you. They don’t want to have to listen to your pitch. They’ve already heard- especially in our case because there’s a bunch of other people around, which I’m sure those farmer markets have the same thing. Just a hi and they may slow down. And then you get to say, hey, you want to try? Would you be interested in this organic, all natural, handmade cupcake of mine? Then they might say, well, I don’t know, tell me more. Then you say, okay, cool. Well, I’m 12 year old Jordan, and I charge what probably seems like a whole lot of money for these, but it’s because of these ingredients. And next thing you know, they’re like, give me 12. Or if they say no, you also have to learn like, okay, cool, bring the next one. I mean, okay, get that one out of here and bring the next one. Because all it is a numbers game. How many opportunities can I get to tell people this story?
Jordan James: Absolutely. And I never let anyone leave, even if they’re not buying anything, I never let anyone leave without a card. At least maybe next time, oh, not this time, oh, maybe a party coming up, I’ll be here.
Neil Dudley: Yes. And for what you do, people are having parties all the time. And they are kind of trying to figure out how to do something unique. I know we do this for my daughters in just about anything. Now what would be- We’ve done this a million times. What would be kind of a cool- ah, Jordan James cupcake, that’d be interesting. That’d be a new thing that people haven’t experienced in our friend group or with our kids’ parents and that kind of thing. So really high five. I think it is so smart for you to go through scary things. Like, does your mom or dad push you to go through that scary thing, to go learn from this coach like, hey, let’s roleplay a sales scenario? Or were you kind of- like I tell my girls a lot of times, like go to school and fail at something. Like go learn, go be uncomfortable, be scared, do those things because that’s what- I have to do that. I’m scared. I’m scared about, oh no, are we going to be able to keep this business doing as well as it is, so we can hire more people, so we can help these families, so we can keep putting this high quality product- our consumer is going to change, and now all of a sudden, our business model has to totally change because it’s not the same thing. How do you approach scary situations or things that may be intimidating to you?
Jordan James: So my parents, they will always push me into doing things outside of my comfort zone. I mean, just before this interview, my mom was saying, I told her my fears, what might go wrong during this because I just have to map them out and figure out a way to overcome them. And then my mom said, we’re going to fix these two things right now. When you do this podcast, you’re going to smile the whole time, you’re going to have such a great projection voice. I’ve been working on that, I’ve been smiling. But she’ll map things out for me, well, not for me, with me. I’ll say with me because we do it together, very collaborative, so map things out together with me. And we’ll just tackle them one at a time until I’m confident. I mean, I was doing these vocal coach things but these lessons with my dialect coach or someone helped me map my booth. I was taking these lessons for a while before I got real comfortable with it. So I mean, things can start out of the box uncomfortable. But if you do them and stay consistent, which my parents are very adamant about, they won’t be out of the box anymore. You’ll be comfortable doing them. Like I’m talking on a podcast.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, sure, you’re doing a great job. The advice your mom gave you was great. Well, that’s another thing. Take the advice, people. Like don’t be afraid of criticism or somebody telling you. My daughters are, they’re 12, 11, and 8, and their mindset towards a lot of some of the coaching or encouragement or requirements I’m giving them is leave me alone, I know what I’m doing. I mean, I think we’re getting to these teenage years where some of that is you don’t need to tell me anything, I already know, leave me alone. I’m very proud of how you are comfortable enough to say, mom, just before I even got on the podcast, mom was telling me, sit up straight, smile, project your voice, those things, and you took them and you’ve done that. This is more super, super valuable stuff you can learn from Jordan by listening to the Pederson’s Farms Podcast. Anybody, I don’t care if you’re 70 years old, 30 years old, 17, 12, I don’t care what your age is, that’s good advice. Her mom gave her some great advice. And Jordan was smart enough to follow it. I mean, it’s just such a great illustration of what it takes to own a business, to be an entrepreneur, to really have any influence. You got to be able to take some influence too.
Jordan James: I mean, I’m always open to criticism, and constructive criticism, not just criticism, constructive criticism. And my mom, she’s the most honest person with me. She’ll tell it to me like it is without sugarcoating it. And I know that my mom will be honest with me. So whatever she has to say, I know I can take it to heart. And that’s what I need to work on and I need to fix.
Neil Dudley: You got to keep doing that. And in your life and in your career, you’re going to eventually get where it’s not just mom. Like, you’re going to be the CEO of this business. And you’re going to have to pass that information to other people. You’re going to have to have passionate, strong, highly qualified people in your business who will challenge you. When you say, I’m going to make a bourbon bacon cupcake, they’re going to say, no, that won’t sell. And then so now you have to have a pretty potentially heated dialogue. Man, you’re learning the ways of doing that at an early age, so like I said, I’m just super excited for you. I’m really glad the Pederson’s faithful has had a chance to meet you. We could go on for a long time. I like to try to keep these to 30 minutes or so. We’ve already- time flies by. Everybody, check out the show notes. We’re going to put links to everything, Jordan James Cupcakes there. So you can click on it. You can find it. If you’re watching this on YouTube, open another tab in your browser, go to cupcakesbyjordan- wait a second, I want to make sure I say this right, I’m afraid I missed something. Cupcakesbyjordanjames.com. Anything else you want to say before we turn it off and call this episode over?
Jordan James: I mean, don’t let like age stop you from doing anything. Just be confident in what you’re doing. And if you have a goal, just try your hardest to accomplish it because that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m just living a dream.
Neil Dudley: Drop that mic, girl. That’s great advice. Everybody, thank you for listening. Your time is not free. The fact is you spent time here. Jordan spent time here. I spent time here. That’s time none of us get back. The listeners don’t get it back. We don’t get it back. I’m super excited. I felt like that was a great investment of my time. I think it’s been a good investment of your time if you’re listening. Tell somebody about the show. Pass the word along. Send me a message if you have something you’d like to learn from or know about where food comes from. We’ll try to get that information on here. But if anything, come back next time. We’ll have another cool conversation for you to be a part of. Thanks, everybody.
(0:30) – Introducing Jordan and her experience placing 2nd in the World Bacon Championships
(3:36) – How on earth do you make 2,000 cupcakes for one event?
(4:53) – Jordan’s family dynamic
(7:19) – Why do you bake cupcakes for a career?
(9:25) – How do you feel about animal protein?
(12:25) – Learning the ropes of the cupcake business
(18:19) – What is your biggest lesson in running this businss?
(21:46) – What’s misunderstood about where food comes from?
(23:59) – What do you do outside of making cupcakes?
(28:44) – How do you sell someone?
(33:06) – How do you approach intimidating situations?