Good Works Chicago: Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique

Last week on Good Works Chicago, Teresa Ging joined Kim Bobo to talk about the Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique, and what a sweet experience it was! Teresa is a University of Chicago graduate in economics and statistics. After working in finance for several years, she left to attend pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and when she returned, Sugar Bliss began.

The cake boutique opened in January, 2009 and has grown in many ways since. Although at first Teresa could not pay above minimum wage, as the business grew, she made it a point to increase wages for her workers. She also began to offer more benefits such as health care, paid sick time, paid breaks, retirement benefits and paid maternity leave. She also developed a system where employees are reviewed every six months. Each worker does self-assessment, and then Teresa and the worker develop joint improvement plans. Sugar Bliss’s business and customer experience improved as a result of the strong supportive environment for employees, according to Teresa.

For Teresa, why she went out of her way to pay workers more and offer benefits was simple. Workers should be treated like family. Not only was it personally important to Teresa to look out for the well-being on her employees, but from a business standpoint, she knew that offering greater benefits meant employees would stay longer. She was right, too. Many of her workers have been with Sugar Bliss for years and they rarely have the need to hire. As advice for new business owners, Teresa said employees are an investment and key to growing business.

Watch the full discussion:

If you believe you are a not being treated fairly by your employer or are a victim of wage theft and are being paid unfairly, please call IWJ's Wage Theft Legal Clinic at (773) 998-1320. The hotline is open on Mondays from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. The Wage Theft Clinic is located at 19 W. Jackson Blvd. at the John Marshall Law School. All messages will be answered within 24 hours.