We had the good fortune of connecting with Becky Hill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Becky, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Prior to launching my business, I worked in advertising for about seven years. I worked really hard, and I climbed the corporate ladder quickly. Most of these years I felt stressed and overworked. I had finally reached my goal of working with a client that I felt morally good about, and that felt like a true partnership. However I still had this nagging feeling that there was more to life. What I was doing on a daily basis wasn’t meaningful to me, or contributing to bettering the world, and I didn’t want to be stuck in the advertising agency milieu forever.
I created Heart Baker to align my personal values and passions professionally, with the intention of bringing joy to others. It started as my side hustle; I launched my local plant-based bakery in January of 2021 so I was baking in the early AM, doing my regular advertising work in the afternoon, studying to get my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certification in the evenings.
I launched my virtual Heart Coaching practice in December, and I am now focused on Heart Baker 100%. It was a tough decision to make, to leave a steady income to fully focus on building this dream business. I realize I have the privilege of being able to save up money, and have a supportive partner in order to do this. I feel very grateful that I have had the opportunity. It feels really good to be where I am at now when I think of what I have accomplished in a year.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Heart Baker is unique in that I am both an Integrative Health Coach and Plant-Based Baker. “Health” and “Bakery” don’t naturally come as a pairing to most people. But I firmly believe that life is all about balance, and that includes fully enjoying all of the sweet things life has to offer.
When I had just made the decision to enroll in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to get my Health Coach Certification, I had told my partner Derek something he wrote down: “If I can help just one person, this career shift will be worth it”. The foundation of Heart Baker is still that – to help people live more joyfully.
My background & my own healing journey and passion for baking is how I got here (TW:ED):
Through my teens and early twenties I struggled with an eating disorder, body dysmorphia and low self-esteem that made life less enjoyable. Like many impressionable young women, I was transfixed by diet culture, had a very negative relationship with food and with my “imperfect” self.
I didn’t really start to overcome my disorder and improve my relationship with food until I lived in Sweden ten years ago. I moved there on my own and completed my 2 year Master’s degree program. I thrived in this new environment as I started to turn inward and find myself. I noticed and became accustomed to two key cultural differences between Americans and Swedes that opened my eyes to my relationship with life, including food:
Lagom: The concept of “just enough” – not too much, not too little, just right – teaches us that there is virtue in moderation. This is the Swedish secret to living well, as this concept is integrated into every part of the culture; professionally, personally, and literally (“full”, “that’s enough”). This naturally leads to contentment; you spend time focusing on the good things, what you have and appreciate, instead of obsessing about an external facade.
Fika: A time every day to get together with friends or colleagues to share a cup of coffee and have something sweet. Seeing Swedes fully enjoy every bite of a decadent dessert or pastry in the afternoon while taking the time to connect with the people close to them was profoundly inspiring. Desserts were normalized, meant to be enjoyed, shared, loved. I learned to enjoy every sweet bite of chocolate or cinnamon bun with my bitter coffee on a daily basis, and to truly listen and connect with those around me.
While living in Sweden, Instagram exploded. I became exposed to plant-based influencers focused on spreading messages centered around health & wellbeing. Seeing this content and educating myself about the benefits of plant foods completely shifted the paradigm I had been living with. Fats, carbs and sugars were no longer taboo; our bodies need good, whole sources of them in order to function and thrive. Plant-based foods became my healing medicine. But lagom is all about balance.
I started baking again since a very young age, and began to “veganize” the Swedish pastries and baked goods I loved so much with better-for-you ingredients that served my body. I felt proud of the baked goods I made, and I felt good about what I was putting in my body, and that made them even more enjoyable.
Through multiple holistic healing outlets – our Colorado nature, yoga, talk therapy, acupuncture – and healthy habits that I have put in place myself – journaling, practicing self-care and making myself a priority – I have learned to cultivate a foundation of self-love that needs consistent attention, but helps me heal in all the ways I need.
Professionally, I landed in the world of advertising after I graduated from my master’s program, specifically in media strategy, planning, and buying and climbed the corporate ladder quickly. In 2018 I took a break from advertising to help open Fig + Farro, a plant-based restaurant in Minneapolis (which sadly closed due to COVID); lead vegan baker in the AM, marketing in the PM. I loved creating new plant-based desserts & baked goods that surprised and delighted customers, and while I went back to advertising after this experience, knew deep down that eventually I wanted to take this passion somewhere.
Two years later, COVID hit, we moved from Minneapolis to Colorado, and while I found myself in the externally “perfect” job position at my advertising agency, I didn’t feel fulfilled. I focused on my dream of helping others through similar struggles to what I have been through, as well as my passion for creating delicious baked goods. So in November of 2020 I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and in January of 2021 I launched my plant-based bakery Heart Baker. This journey has been incredible!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Buena Vista CO is a small but very very special town!
Hike the Midland Hill trails with lovely views of our town and the mountains! Lots of different trails for all abilities. If you are brave, go for a cool swim in the river afterward 🙂
Hot Springs! We are so lucky to have Cottonwood Hot Springs and Mt. Princeton Hot Springs so nearby. So healing and a lovely time with friends, family or solo.
Don’t miss snow & river activities – there are many local spots to go on guided rafting trips, or rent river/snow activity equipment at The Trailhead or CKS – our awesome outdoor gear & clothing stores.
Explore Main Street – we have great shops that all focus on supporting local artists, makers and restaurants that source local ingredients.
– Food & Drink: The Asian Palate Marketplace & Catering, Simple Eatery, The Cellar, Deerhammer, Crave, Spark Provisions
– Shops: Cause+Medic spa & boutique, Rock Paper Scissors, The Village, Once Upon a Trapeze bookstore carries local authors
– Other – Visit Jala Blue for a lovely drop in yoga session or Cause+Medic for a great massage.
South Main – The Surf hotel has great shows (I attended an epic drag show & dance party last night) and a fun fancy bar & restaurant. We love going to Eddyline Brewery for great food & beer. Black Burro is also an awesome shop & drinking hole, or grab a coffee at Midland before you head into Sundance & Friends for locally hand crafted jewelry, clothing and more.
Summer Farmer’s Market in McPhelemy Park is on Sundays June – Sept (subject to change) – great produce, baked goods, coffee, CBD, tinctures, other hand crafted items, and you might see me there!
Growing Wild – check out Madison’s new store! Gorgeous flowers and more!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my Shoutout to many! Building Heart Baker, both on the baking & coaching sides of my business, has truly been successful because of the wonderful people I surround myself with, and my own healing outlets that support me in being the best coach I can be.
First, my fabulous fiancé Derek. He has and continues to love, encourage and push me when things are tough, and celebrate my wins to the fullest. He is very much a part of this journey with me, and while it sounds cliché, I really would not have been able to accomplish what I have without his unflinching support.
Also, my parents – from my dad getting into “Heart Baker” SWAG mugs and tee-shirts, and my mom ordering custom cookies and bulk granola, they have been so supportive of my venture!
Overall, the BV Community – I continue to get a steady stream of bakery orders, even in the off season, and visitors to my markets. I love that we are focused on supporting local, and it means so much to me! I have so many good friends that continue to support Heart Baker – and it’s really touching.
The Asian Palate Marketplace & Catering – Brynn and Eddie have helped my business flourish by giving me the opportunity to work at the market and meet their supportive and dedicated community – and Barb is my incredible hype woman! I so look forward to being at the Palate every Thursday, being with the palate family (shoutout to Agnes & Ozzy!) and seeing our lovely community members! I am excited for the future of our partnership.
The Lettucehead Food Company- We are so lucky to have this gem in BV. Adam & Anna are doing such a fantastic job in continuing to source local produce, carrying great health & wellness products and unique, locally crafted gifts. Aside from doing my own grocery shopping here, I am able to source all of my ingredients in bulk, cutting down on extra shipping and packaging, which is very important to me, and pop-up markets there have been a blast.
Cause + Medic – It’s been so fun to partner with Maureen on CBD dog treats & granola at the boutique, as well as pop-up markets! The retail products, from beauty to health to teas and gifts, are so great. Their pain cream is a life saver for baking arm / shoulder woes!
Growing Wild – I loved being a part of Madison’s cute market at the flower farm! So excited to see her new store and exciting events.
The Triangle Oasis Farm – Max is so awesome! His Spring market in his lovely greenhouse surrounded by all of the beautiful flowers and plants was the first market I attended as a vendor, and I feel lucky for that experience. I loved being able to help with the social media to get the word out about his new market, and it is such nice group of people to hang out with every other weekend.
The Foodshed Alliance – the Summer farmer’s market in BV is such a blast! Allie and her team do a really great job of organizing everything, communicating updates, answering any and all questions, supporting vendors and listening to new ideas.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition – for creating such a cool and unique holistic program. The content and lecturers continue to inspire me, and I am so glad I have met amazing alumni that I continue to stay in touch with!
Jala Blu Yoga – Jenna has cultivated such a lovely space with so many wonderful yoga teachers. Every teacher has a different style and focus, and I visit for gentle and flowy healing practices that set me up for the day, or help me wind down in the evening. She has held space for life changing workshops and I appreciate this safe and healing community so much.
The Center for Traditional Thai & Therapeutic Massage – Jami is a magician! A fellow healer who has shared so much of her massage therapy journey with me. She continues to be an inspiration and to do the most amazing body work, relaxing anything that’s tensed up and releasing physical pressures in my body.
Two Roots Acupuncture – Every time I leave a session with Jackie, I feel like I am walking on clouds. She has helped me work through a few physical and mental ailments over the past 6 months, and I feel so comfortable when I visit, talking freely about what’s going on that month. I continue to see her to keep a strong foundation of self-love intact. She provides new perspectives on things I am working through, and when I practice self-healing, I know I am building myself up to be stronger for my clients.