We had the good fortune of connecting with Connie Dulay Alfonso and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Connie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Sweet Cocoa Flour is a business I started because I love baking. My interest in baking started when my dad bought me a Mrs. Fields cookie cookbook. I started baking in elementary school, and kept at it occasionally up until I graduated from college. Of course, I had different responsibilities, such as work, school, and taking care of my siblings. I would bake when I could! It started off as a hobby I enjoyed. I would bake cookies and cakes for my family and classmates. When my husband and I moved to Arizona, I got a chance to hone my skills and utilize them to create a business.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am the owner, baker, photographer, marketer, and accountant of Sweet Cocoa Flour. My specialties include cookies, quick breads, brownies, cake pops, cupcakes, and macarons. I love experimenting with new desserts, especially the challenging ones. I personally feel that the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was making connections with other business owners. I needed to build relationships from the ground up when I first moved out to Arizona. Even after being here for ten years, I am still figuring out the area and learning to create connections. I love the challenge of learning about new businesses and networking with other small business owners. Balancing a family and business has been challenging, but rewarding. My morning usually starts with self-care. This includes an early morning stretch and exercise to get my blood rushing. I want to make sure I am physically energized for the day. After, I make sure my family is taken care of by making breakfast and keeping my children entertained or focusing on their schooling. If I can start baking early, I will do it as soon as I can. I believe anyone can achieve their goals in one day, if they are willing to manage their time well. I think every business is unique and has its own niche. My specialty is that I do not focus on one type of dessert, but I like to recreate all types for the sweet tooth.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out?
If my best friend were to visit me for the weekend, I would take her to the places I love to visit and eat out. We would go to Butters for breakfast in Scottsdale. I’d then take her around in Old Town Scottsdale to shop from small unique boutiques that sell souvenirs, jewelry, etc. I would also take her to Sedona to see the mountains and grab a quick bite of lunch in Downtown Sedona. I would also take her to the Grand Canyon, which Arizona is known for, but I would take it up a notch and use the Grand Canyon Railway to get there from Williams. Once we get there, we would take pictures of the stunning view while walking down some of the many trails there. We’d stick around long enough to observe the sunset shining on the canyon. We would head back to Downtown Gilbert to eat dinner at Joe’s Real BBQ. To end the night, we would go to Postinos for some wine and dessert and reminisce about the day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family plays a crucial role in Sweet Cocoa Flour. My husband Ronald deserves a shout out. He tastes the products, assists in the deliveries, and sets-up and takes down my tent and table when I have events. My kids also deserve a special shout out as my little helpers! I also want to thank my parents, siblings, relatives, friends, and the Eastmark community. They were my first customers! Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am today!
Brianbautista.com Rodger Fowler