A professional chef since 1994, Laurel knows what her female colleagues in the kitchen need: appropriately-sized professional chef uniforms. "The typical chef's jacket is cut for a man. The sleeves are too long and the fit is terrible," says Laurel.
After receiving business coaching from a local resource center and interning in pattern-making at an apparel company, Laurel developed her business plan and launched Bayleaf Design Company in 2007. She continues her work as a part-time caterer and even sells sandwiches and salads to a café near her home to make ends meet as her business gets off the ground.
Her full line of chef’s apparel is currently in production with the manufacturer and Laurel is hitting the trade show circuit this fall to pre-sell her products. A female chef who is currently competing on a national television cooking competition already wears one of Laurel’s earliest designs. “When I talked to her about my designs, she got excited that I was finally making what every female chef knows we so desperately need!”
A $2,000 loan will allow Laurel to buy a new computer and a mobile credit card scanner to process orders at trade shows. “The timing is right and I have wonderful momentum. The food service industry is adapting to the down economy and people are still working in restaurants. It’s so exciting to see my business taking off!”
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