Mya Zoracki started Feed Your Soul Bakery 11 years ago in New York City with a mission to help those struggling with homelessness and a lack of hope to achieve a better quality of life.
“I have always been painfully aware of the dichotomy between people who “have” and people that are literally struggling to survive. Having experienced my own financial struggles as a young child made me realize, we were not all the same. I believe this was not only the driving force in my own need for success, but in my need to share it with those less fortunate,” Zoracki said.
Working at a women’s shelter in college, she discovered this silent piece of her that knew she wanted to do more. After college, she was a trader on the American Stock Exchange. I literally stood on a box in a crowd of 18 men and traded all day. I went to law school in the evenings on a bet. Four hours a night, four nights a week for four years. She completed Law School and earned her Juris Doctorate Degree. She said came to a point where she knew it was time to start the next chapter.
“I asked myself what I could do that would make me feel alive. What could I do that would feed my soul?” Zoracki recalled. “I became a mad scientist in the kitchen. If you ordered on Monday, you had a different recipe than Wednesday. I bought butter and eggs and filled my refrigerator every single day. I had days where I felt an amazing energy of success and days where I could not imagine how I got myself into this chaos. The one thing I always knew is that I had to keep moving. Whatever direction things were going that day, just keep moving. After all, this is what I was inspiring others to do – make a difference. There is no better feeling in life than to know that you are creating a quality bakery product that is being enjoyed by everyone, even those who may not have the income to afford it.”
We caught up with Zoracki to learn more about Feed Your Soul Bakery, the philanthropic work she’s doing and how tasty treats can change lives. She’s our Entrepreneur of the Day:
Lioness: What makes your business unique?
Zoracki: Feed Your Soul Bakery is at the heart of what matters. Our premium cookies and bars are not only delicious, but they act as a vehicle to do good. Each online order is delivered with an inspirational message pertaining to the occasion for which it was ordered. In addition, for every order placed, we donate a cookie to the Coalition for the Homeless, the oldest not-for-profit advocacy group focused on homelessness in the United States.
Lioness: You could have worked for anyone and would have been successful, why become an entrepreneur?
Zoracki: I think being an entrepreneur is something that is inside of you. I built my business because I wanted to truly “live.” I wanted to create a “resume” of life that I was proud of. I wanted to appreciate the people and the moments that matter most and make a difference in this world. I knew that I had a voice and a mind that could help others in need.
Lioness: What was your last, “why did I go into business for myself” moment?
Zoracki: I believe it was a few years ago before I had a distributor. I was loading 50 pound bags of sugar and flour into my Jeep Wrangler and wondering how I ever got myself into this absurdity!
Lioness: Every female professional should have
Lioness: If you could steal some business mojo from another mogul, who would it be and why?
Zoracki: Richard Branson. I admire his ability to create, to innovate and to grow an empire. I love that he dreams big, he gives back, and despite his own obstacles, he has always risen above and beyond.
Lioness: What is your business motto?
Zoracki: Don’t build a business, build a life.
Lioness: If you could give other entrepreneurs three tips, what would they be?
- Do something you love. When you are passionate about what you do, your energy is contagious and your power is greater than you know.
- Set expectations and be realistic about your goals. Understand the difference between a hobby and a business.
- Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. We live in a world where you can find answers to basically anything, at your fingertips. Know that you can do this and that you will figure it out.
Lioness: Has there been a piece of technology or software that has been a lifesaver to you?
Zoracki: Vemag Dough Depositor – when I first started the bakery, we used to scoop cookie dough with an ice cream scoop. Thanks to this handy piece of machinery, we can make approximately 6,000 pucks per hour.
Lioness: What is your goal for the next year?
Zoracki: To continue to grow the Feed Your Soul brand through our online gift business as well as our first retail location at 14 Wall Street. Similar to our online bakery, Feed Your Soul Café will offer an array of sweets, including cookies, fudge brownies, sticky buns and old world coffee cakes, along with unique savory items like spaghetti pie and puff pastry spanakopita. We will also continue our company’s philosophy to inspire and give back by growing our partnership with the Coalition for the Homeless and other local charities.
Lioness: When someone is telling their friend about your business, what do you hope they say?
Zoracki: I hope they would say we make the tastiest, freshest desserts they’ve ever had. I hope they would say that not only were they inspired by our company’s philosophy of giving back, but that they were also inspired to go out and do some good in the world.