Earlier this year, I attended the 6th Annual Unique LA Spring Show in downtown Los Angeles. It was during that awesome food & shopping fest that I met Tanya Gradet. She owns The Square Treat Company which is based in the Valley. These delicious sweet treats are awesome AND she also makes a gluten-free &/or dairy-free version (upon request). I sampled a gluten-free version while at Unique LA & I have to say that it tasted just as good (if not better) than the regular version. Shocking, I know!!
These sweet treats are made with a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows & coconut. Square treats come in flavors such as: Original, A-Choco-lypse, Birthday, Cherry Bomb, Peanut Butter & Gluten-free Original.
So who is the woman behind these yummy square treats? Please meet the latest Real Mom of the SFV, Tanya Gradet!
How/why did you begin your business?
Tanya: Prior to having my son (Elliott, 20 months), I worked in television and film production. The hours were insane and I knew that I didn’t want to be a parent that was absent that much. After he was born, I took a more administrative, 9-6 job at a network. I thought that the easier work schedule would be better but I found that I missed the energy and creativity of my previous career. It made me realize that I wanted to do something completely different and challenging but where I wasn’t chained to a desk all day.
As a working mother, what is one tip or piece of advice that you would give to other female entrepreneurs?
Tanya: The biggest tip I have is to try to block off chunks of time where you’re just being a mom. Not watching your kids and checking your work email at the same time but where your attention is just on your child. Obviously there will be times where I have to multi task but I feel as long as I’m 100% present part of the day, that’s better than being 65% present all of the day. I think it’s okay for kids to know that mommy has to work sometimes but if you’re splitting your attention all of the time then they never get to feel special.
What do you like best about having a business in the San Fernando Valley?
Tanya: The sense of neighborhood and community is great. Also, on a more practical level, as someone who does deliveries and shops for supplies a lot, the spaciousness and ease of parking is pretty sweet too.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
Tanya: I wish I had realized sooner that in order to be successful, I had to be as disciplined as though it were a job working for someone else. I had a romantic vision of baking while Elliott played quietly in his playpen. I pictured stopping for breaks where I could play with him and read to him. He started walking right around the time I started the business, so that vision never happened. And since I’m dealing with hot, melted sugar a lot of the time I realized quickly that I’d still need childcare in order to be able to do my job properly. Having your own business doesn’t mean less work but the perk is it can mean more flexible hours. If I want to do a fun activity with him during the day, it just means I may have to be baking at midnight.
I certainly can relate to leaving a highly challenging full-time job & switching gears to another business that you are passionate about. I found Tanya’s career arc & transition to being a self-employed business owner very inspiring! The tip about being present for your child 100% of the time within small blocks of time is a genius idea! I’m one of those people who multi-task throughout the day, so I am going to strive to take Tanya’s advice. I also want to get more of her yummy Square Treats! 🙂
To celebrate Tanya’s spotlight on my blog, she is giving my readers a 10% discount off any orders placed before October 31, 2014. All you have to do is reference promo code “RealSFVMom” when you email or call in your order. Isn’t that awesome! To order your Square Treats or get more info on the bakery, check out their website here.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. The image shown in this post is used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.