Project description

Business Owner: Helena Green
Business: Helena’s Homemade
Location: Long Island, New York

Meet Helena
As a young girl, Helena Green grew up in a humble home with her loving and caring family. As many children do, she eagerly anticipated the Christmas season, but for more sentimental reasons than Santa’s gifts. Each year her family would take the time to bake sweet treats to share with their entire neighborhood. During this time of year, her passion ignited as she spent time side by side with her mother baking. Even though she first picked up baking from her mother, Helena admits,“I was 9 years old when my grandmother took me on a trip to the Culinary Institute of America, and my dream was born. I look forward to sharing a piece of Helena’s Homemade with everyone!”

The Conflict Rising
As many of us do, when we grow up our dreams can easily fade while in pursuit for of our financial stability.  Prior to starting Helena’s Handmade, she  attended and received  her undergraduate degree at Howard University in Political Science. She then began her career in advertising as a Jr. Media Buyer and worked her way up the corporate ladder where she was eventually promoted to Associate Buying Director at the height of her career. The recession came in 2007 which led to millions of job layoffs for Americans. As luck would have it, Helena was included in those layoffs while simultaneously going through a divorce.

As a newly single mother, Helena was in survival mode and took it upon herself to solely provide for her children. In her own words she recounts her hardship of trying to build her baking dream while providing for her children. I stayed until my ex-husband hit my oldest daughter. I put him out, but I was scared [because] I had two children that I needed to provide for. During this time I faced layoffs from my last two media positions as well as struggled to find a place to live; we were even evicted twice.” It was apparent that this was a difficult time in her life. Where she found her courage to endure was by the idea of pursuing her passion. “Regardless of everything happening in my life, I continued to bake while taking odd jobs.”

Home Sweet Home
Helena finally took the plunge to dive right into her baking business in 2009 after much encouragement of close family, friends, and even coworkers . “I began by bringing treats into the office for co-workers. I would see something in a magazine, cookbook, or online, and would make it. Several people said I should think about opening a shop and after everything I had experienced in my career lately, I went for it. I got a business license, insurance, and began baking from my home.” Helena’s Homemade is committed to providing its customers with consistent, high-quality baked products and most importantly, great customer service. “We are passionate about our high standards and our commitment to our customer’s expectations, resulting in increasing customer loyalty. We believe that it is important to treat each person with honesty, courtesy, and respect.”

Work Smarter Not harder
Helena has made it through many hard and stressful times of owning a business. With her success over the years she has been able to gain crucial knowledge by learning to work smarter. “I have learned how to work smarter, not harder, and to embrace change. Failure is the road to success; it shows what doesn’t work and helps you learn what does work.” Her message is simple, “Don’t give up— failure is part of the journey, and believe it or not, leads to your success.”