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Meet Janette Martin of Jan’s Plated Provisions in Richmond

Today we’d like to introduce you to Janette Martin.

Janette, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve gotten to this point in a rather odd way but perhaps not so odd because I come from a lineage of great cooks and bakers. I had been working in higher education for years and was truly passionate about it with a plan to obtain my Doctorate and become a full-time professor. I was well on my way having obtained a Bachelor’s, Master’s and ABD Doctoral studies but after ten years of working in the industry it began to wear on me and I became unhappy. I had been operating a dessert business (Jan’s Sweet Sensations) on a less than part-time basis since 2004 and was desperate to take the “jump” as Steve Harvey would say. That business started out as a simple gesture of making cookies for my then husband’s lunch which he took to work. Everyone raved over them and began asking for more. I started selling cookies in small batches and the business grew from there.

I always loved anything that had to do with food. Last year I began entertaining the idea of adding a savory arm to my already existing business. As the idea began to sink in I started advertising myself as a private chef on Facebook and Instagram. I really wanted to see people’s reaction to my food pics. It was bananas!!!!! People were saying….”you should own a restaurant…..Lord, that looks good….emoticons and everything else you could think of. That was confirmation for me and I created a website and started taking meal prep orders. At the time, I was still working a full-time job elsewhere but boy was I miserable! I kept hearing the words…Just jump….just jump. I never really took that leap but was pushed right into my passion after having had enough of being treated unfairly. So now…I’m fully committed and happy!!!! The only regret I have is not having done things sooner. Do I miss working in higher education? Well…sort of. I actually will have a part-time gig for twelve weeks the first part of the year as a Counselor. Let’s just say it’s enough to wet my feet without sacrificing what I really enjoy…cooking. I am and will forever be a “Foodie”.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The entrepreneurial road has been anything but smooth. The hardest thing for me has been operating on a “shoe string” budget without taking out loans and incurring debt. I had been able to manage it with another source of income but when I resigned from my previous employer that safety net was gone. It’s been really tempting getting emails several times a day from sources offering to lend me money. At times I so wanted to just give in and take whatever was being offered but I kept telling myself “You don’t need to do that”.

Jan’s Plated Provisions – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Jan’s Plated Provisions is a personal chef service specializing in meal prep/planning for small and intimate dining experiences. I’m known for “pretty plates” and truly delicious food. I am most proud of having started not one but two businesses. More importantly, I’m most proud of having the courage to get fed up enough to finally “jump” with God along for the journey.

What sets me apart from others is that I operate with integrity knowing that customers can always go elsewhere. For me…it’s more than just a business. It’s my passion and it shows in everything I do. I try to give customers more than what they expect.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career so far has been being selected and now an alumni of the University of Houston’s Bauer SURE Entrepreneur Program in Spring 2018.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Janette Martin (Chef Jan)

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