By: Carlota Montás, 9th Grade
Jose Peña is a 17-year-old, owner of the company called Dough SD. He started selling his first cookies in his father’s office and then, he noticed everyone was enjoying them. His mom told him to start selling his cookies to a bigger audience, and afterward, Dough SD was born.
What inspired you into creating your small business?
“Besides the want or need for money, it was probably my mom since she was always encouraging me to start selling the cookies. So, one summer I decided to start selling them when I was doing an internship at my father’s office, and everybody liked them so I told myself: I am just going to sell them whenever I can.”
“I think my mom motivated me into starting my business because if she hadn’t told me to start selling the cookies I probably would not have done it. I probably would have sold stuff, but if she hadn’t told me to start a business, I wouldn’t have made it in an organized way or officially.”
Jose says that his small business officially started around April and May of 2020, but he had started selling his cookies around June and July of 2019.
“My main goal is to sell things people like because everybody loves cookies, [and] cookies make everybody happy, that’s why I used to sell them at my dad’s office, and I wanted for people to enjoy them.”
How did cooking become a passion for you?
“Well, I’ve been doing it for a great part of m life, [since] it is my mom’s job and my grandma’s job, so they basically cook and they do catering, but also, my mom used to have a coffee shop, so they used to make lots of cakes and sweets so I always liked them and I always liked making them. I think this probably was one of the reasons I started my small business, but I think it was a subconscious influence.”
“What inspires me to continue cooking for my small business is that it’s fun and people like it, but right now because of school, sadly it’s kind of slowed down because I have a lot of things to do, but I would really like to continue cooking. I think school has affected my business negatively because I don’t have that much time anymore, so everything has slowed down a lot. It is hard to manage school and the business at the same time and even though I only have to make the dough, it takes a lot of time to manage the sales and the orders. If I had more help it would be easier because right now it’s basically only me.”
Jose says that when the bad times come, his friends and his mom tell him to keep going and to not surrender. He states that it’s fine if the business slows down because he knows that whenever he has time, the business will be able to get back up again.
“My parents were fine with the idea of having a small business. Again, my mom was the one who told me that I should do it, and my dad always agreed with her, but they said that as long as it doesn’t take too much time from me then it’s ok, but sadly, now that I have so much stuff to do, I have to slow it down.”
Has someone in your family done this before?
“My mom used to have a coffee shop, and right now her job is that she makes artisanal breakfasts for catering and other food orders for events, people, etc. Basically, she makes food and breakfast and then delivers it to people.”
“I think social media is important and especially right now because it feels like the best and easiest way to create a platform yourself is through social media. You can talk with your friends online, you have Instagram, and that’s kind of the only way for people with small businesses like mine to really get out there.”
Jose says that the pandemic has helped his business since he started his business in the pandemic and it has been working just fine. Since he started his small business while being in the pandemic, Jose says that it hasn’t harmed it in any way and it has been working the way he wanted it to.
“Something that I have learned is that it may be fun but it’s not very easy because it takes a lot of patience, organization, and effort, and also, you need to be centered. A recommendation I would give to someone that wants to start a small business is that they should get people to help them because it is very hard to do it on your own and that they really need to set time for that and they need to always keep going with the business.”
Jose thinks that having a positive mindset is important for maintaining a business. He says that a lot of things could go wrong and many problems can come, so having a positive mindset can make it easier to overlook anything.