We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Prescott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After attending culinary school, I continued working in a corporate environment for quite some time. I figured, I love baking, but I couldn’t make the same money doing that as I could sitting behind a computer all day. I would still bake in my free time, but not for money. It dawned on me one day that I was really craving a true Belgian pearl sugar waffle, and I set out to figure out a recipe that tasted exactly like I remembered it. I brought in batch after batch of waffles to the office and kept testing. After more than a year of working on it, I finally got to a recipe that was exactly what I wanted, and I felt compelled to share that with the world. There was just no where else in the state you could go to get waffles like that and it felt like a unique niche that I cared about, was true to my heritage, and it was a product that wasn’t already saturated with thousands of others making them, like in other corners of the baking industry. I started out slow, offering a weekly selection of waffles sold through my personal instagram (and some incredible friends who wanted to try them) for about nine months, before making the leap into waffles being my full-time gig.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I spent almost a decade working in an office! While I always had a passion for baking, I never thought I would be good enough to pursue it professionally–I was embarrassed to even tell some family and friends that I had signed up for culinary school! It might seem like my time spent in an office would be irrelevant, but I was lucky enough to work in nearly every department of the small business that I worked for over time. This meant I wasn’t starting a business totally fresh since I already had some experience in accounting, operations, marketing, sales, administration, and management. However, being part of an already up and running business does not necessarily prepare you for all the challenges that come with starting your own! I learn something new every day, and especially in the beginning I probably learned ten or twenty new things every day! More than anything, it’s taught me resilience. Some weeks it seems like I have so many orders I can’t keep up–putting in 15-20 hours a day just to keep my head above water, and other weeks are quiet as a church mouse, so I work on the administrative and marketing aspects of my business while keeping an eye out for orders. The important thing (at least for me) is not to give up. In the last couple of years of working at this it seems like as soon as I want to throw up my hands and be done with the whole thing, I get a little shining star that keeps me holding on–whether it’s a big order, an interview, a big lead, or something as small as someone reaching out to help. It’s those small things that keep you striving for the next milestones and working harder. It might just be pure luck, but I also think it’s something you learn when striking out on your own–to not let anything go unappreciated.
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?
One of the greatest things about Denver is it’s impossible to run out of things to do! Whenever I have friends in town, one place I never, ever skip out on is showing them 16th Street Mall. As touristy as it can be, it’s also home to amazing restaurants and entertainment that can’t be missed, while also providing a little exercise walking up and down the strip! I also always bring friends to at least one of my two favorite breakfast spots–Breakfast Queen on Broadway and Hampden, and The French Press near Yosemite and Belleview. And while there are a million incredible pizza spots, my all-time favorite is Fat Sully’s (and trust me, I’ve had a lot of pizza!!). I was also introduced by a friend to Goed Zuur, a beautiful restaurant in Five Points, which has just the best charcuterie (cheese please!!) and sour beers in the city and I often bring friends there because it’s an incredible experience start to finish. One of my other favorite places to bring visitors is to the Denver Art Museum. The architecture of the building alone is enough to intrigue people. And last but not least, I love walking with friends around Sloan’s Lake–the lake combined with the houses around there make for such a gorgeous view.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My fascination with all things baking and sweet begins with my parents. My mom was a trained baker and chocolatier in Belgium, where she grew up. When I was little, I remember following her around the bakery in Colorado Springs where she made her chocolate truffles and I most certainly inherited her sweet tooth! My dad would often make chocolate chip cookies with me every week when I was growing up, and I had no problem gobbling up the entire plate of them! And last but not least, my family in Belgium. While I lived there with them, they indulged all of my sweet tooth desires from the incredible array of Belgian chocolates, buying freshly ironed pearl sugar waffles from street vendors, and giving me spare money to grab pastries on my way to and from school. I’m incredibly lucky for all of these people and all they have done to support me not only in business, but in life!
Katie Puc Photography Two Square Bakes/Natalie Prescott