All entrepreneurs are on a mission of some kind. Something in their lives gave them a strong sense of duty and steeled them to jump out into the uncharted waters of business life. And Essential Convection’s Linda Naylor says it well in her website, “We model and live the soft skills of hospitality – relationally.” It stems from the Supreme Candy Goddess, an imaginary friend created years ago. The genesis is Linda’s family’s incredible cream candy. It’s a pulled candy similar to taffy, except the candy sets overnight and the next day has this amazing creamy taste of vanilla or maple or whatever flavor was put in from the beginning; almost indescribable. The fascinating thing was, there was no recipe, it was a skill. And Linda had a lot of challenges to master the making of it, but it was the beginning of becoming a confectionary master, if not goddess herself! That passion to be skilled and be a perfectionist also comes through in her writing. She is the author of everything on her website and in particular her blog, “Our Pleasureful Pastry”. The word “pleasureful” is a touchstone for Linda she says, and exemplifies how she feels about confections and how she wants those who taste her confections to feel as well. It’s an uncommon ability to be an artist with words as well as confections. That drive for perfection obviously includes high standards for ingredients and to Linda, it also means finding local ingredients that meet her standards to support other local food entrepreneurs. Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, Linda had an early interest in baking. The baking industry was rather unimaginative in that era, but Linda had the fortune to visit Italy as a teen. It opened her eyes to a world of food and culture that she treasured and never looked back. It spurred her on to the Culinary Institute of America in New York in the mid-80s and later at the Midwest Culinary Institute in Cincinnati. There was a side venture, however, as Linda spent many years selling residential and commercial real estate in Cincinnati. She kept baking all that time however, and her special cookies and candies were big hits with her clients. Even in real estate, she was reaching others at that most visceral level. But after 25 years, she took stock and felt it was time to live her dream. She moved to Portland, Oregon and enrolled in yet another culinary school, this time the Oregon Culinary Institute, earning a degree in Pastry Management. After a couple of great internships, she became pastry chef at a restaurant. Simultaneously, she enrolled in a course called, “Getting your recipe to market”, a collaborative effort with Food Innovation Center and the CLIMB Center of Portland Community College . New Seasons stores picked up her recipe in 2015, launching her reputation. After the restaurant career ended abruptly in 2020, she put more time into fine-tuning her formulae and started her company, Essential Confection. Flexibility is key for the entrepreneur Linda says because pivoting is a regular part of the journey. And also a sense of mission plus a feeling of accomplishment when you have served others an uplifting experience and made their day a little brighter with good food.
"Masoni and Marshall the meaningful Marketplace" with your hosts Sarah Masoni and Sarah Marshall
We record the "the Meaningful Marketplace" inside NedSpace in the Bigfoot Podcast Studio in beautiful downtown Portland.
Audio engineer, mixer and podcast editor is Allon Beausoleil
Show logo was designed by Anton Kimball of Kimball Design
Website was designed by Cameron Grimes
Production assistant is Chelsea Lancaster
10% of gross revenue at Startup Radio Network goes to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries thru kiva.org/lender/markgrimes