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Elizabeth Chambers of BIRD Bakery on How to Expand in Business with Authenticity Interview with BIRD Bakery founder Elizabeth Chambers about expanding internationally, social media storytelling, and embracing hospitality in every moment.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • Hospitality in Every Moment - Elizabeth Chambers has faced adversity in her life as many of us have. Her faith, though, has helped through those times and served as the foundation for the hospitality standard at BIRD Bakery.
  • Cupcakes and Gratitude - After living in the Cayman Islands for three years, Elizabeth Chambers wanted a way to thank the community for what they provided her family. What better way, she thought, than to open a BIRD Bakery and fill the nostalgic demand for homemade baked goods with her award-winning products.
  • Social Media on Her Terms - Like most entrepreneurs in the creator economy, Elizabeth Chambers did everything in her power to try to stay ahead of the algorithm and keep BIRD Bakery top of mind. But after becoming nearly obsessed with the analytics, Chambers has since taken a more organic approach.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Elizabeth Chambers of BIRD Bakery believes that every person entering her bakery's doors — which opened its first location in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas 11 years ago — does so with purpose.

For her, each encounter with someone — online or in-person — is an opportunity to embrace a connection. So every interaction should be treasured as a gift.

"I believe everything happens for a reason. And I say every single person who walks in that door is meant to walk into your life. So are you going to receive that or are you going to ignore it? And that's your choice," says Elizabeth Chambers to Restaurant Influencers host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media.

Following three years living in the Cayman Islands, she sought a heartfelt way to extend her gratitude to the local community that provided a sense of peace to her and her family through a rough patch of life.

This aspiration to give back gave rise to the opening of a fourth BIRD Bakery location (other storefronts can be found in Denver, CO, Dallas and San Antonio, TX), a venture dedicated to rekindling the love of homemade baked goods in a landscape dominated by mass-produced cupcakes.

Through this pop-up endeavor in the Cayman Islands, Chambers encountered profoundly emotional reactions from patrons who rediscovered cherished memories in her confections. This journey culminated in a soon-to-be-announced streaming series chronicling the inception of BIRD Bakery's first international location.

"I always wanted to open a bakery here." says Chambers of opening her bakery in the Cayman Islands. "People love cupcakes. And because it's a small island in the middle of the sea, most of the cupcakes that people enjoy are from the grocery store. And they're frozen or it's pre-made mixes."

She has seen the power of Smartphone Storytelling to connect with consumers while celebrating the importance of family and food. As a successful media personality, Elizabeth Chambers has learned the best way to get your true story told is to tell it yourself. And she does so on her own terms.

Navigating the evolving terrain of the creator economy and social media landscape, the founder and owner of BIRD Bakery initially grappled with the pressure to maintain algorithmic relevance, a challenge familiar to many entrepreneurs.

However, her perspective underwent a transformation as she recognized the beauty and authenticity in stepping back from social media.

Despite the potential loss of followers, she prioritized personal well-being over analytics.

While Elizabeth Chambers acknowledges the potential for bigger expansion, involving a team and investors, at present her bakery stands as a direct reflection of her values and personal journey. By exercising ownership over her online presence and business, she underscores the profound significance of aligning individual authenticity with entrepreneurial pursuits.

Of her new approach, Chambers says: "I feel like I didn't want to force something that wasn't authentic to where I was at that point in my life. And my bakery reflects where I am."

The food entrepreneur's journey is about genuine connections and intentional encounters, serving as a reminder for others to heed their inner compass when navigating life's intricacies.

Her conviction in the purposefulness of interactions and ability to seamlessly integrate personal authenticity into her bakery's identity exemplify the potency of merging values with entrepreneurial endeavors.

With multiple stores, BIRD Bakery's renowned goods are just at the beginning of what it will become. And it will all be on Chambers' terms.

"BIRD is me. I am BIRD"

***

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Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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