Hello Baked is an absolute gem on Barton Street. Jessica is a true artist and everything in the shop is beautiful, from the interior to the incredible cookies. A great place to pick up a gift for a special occasion or celebration.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I’m Jessica, baker and owner of hello baked sugar shop in Hamilton! I began handcrafting & decorating sugar cookies as a hobby years ago, and quickly realized that there was a big demand for customized cookies for events, weddings and gifting. The business grew organically from there and I worked out of commercial kitchen spaces as the business expanded. In 2017, I took the leap to open our first brick-and-mortar shop/kitchen space. I envisioned it as a space not only for my cookies to “live”, but as a confectionary + gift boutique to showcase some of my favourite small Canadian makers and their products alongside our treats. And of course, as a lover of sugar I knew that a mix-and-match candy wall was a must!
You’re located on Barton St in the Landsdale neighbourhood, what attracted you to open up in this part of the city?
I attended McMaster University and lived and worked in Hamilton for years after. I often heard about Barton Village’s once bustling business community, but that a lot of businesses had since left the area. The cannolis at Frank’s Sicilia Bakery brought me back to Barton throughout the years, and eventually I started noticing other restaurants and businesses popping up in neighbourhood which became new favourites of mine. I got to know some more business owners in the area and met with the BIA — everyone was so warm, welcoming, supportive, and invested in seeing this area thrive. It made this neighbourhood feel like the right fit for me.
You carry some Hamilton and Canadian brands in shop, what’s important to you about sourcing local products?
Before opening the shop, I’d discovered a community of incredible Canadian makers –there is a ton of local talent here at home! There are so many passionate, hardworking small business owners from diverse backgrounds whose products I love, and visions I believe in. I definitely want to highlight their work. As a small business owner myself, I know the value of supporting local and think it’s important to lift each other up. I’m always on the lookout for unique items + businesses that I think will resonate with our customers, and it’s also a lot of fun helping people discover something new, special and Canadian-made!
Your cookies and the shop itself are SO beautiful, how did you get into design?
Thank you so much! I’ve been interested in design for as long as I can remember, and I think that my cookies and shop are a creative outlet for me. I love a clean, sophisticated design aesthetic with small personal touches to make it my own. When I find a special piece, I sometimes just buy and hold onto it until the right opportunity presents itself, then find other decor pieces to complement it. I always get questions about our dark floral wallpaper — it’s from Ellie Cashman and I had it on my wishlist since before the store opened. It’s a standout piece that I feel really anchors the space. I was glad to finally have a reason to use it!
What’s your favourite product in the shop right now?
The Barrel-Aged Bourbon Maple Syrup by Wabanaki Maple. It comes all the way from Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) in New Brunswick, and has a deep, rich, delicious flavour that makes it really special. It’s great to cook with, add to a classic pancake breakfast or… just enjoy by the spoonful. The company is also 100% female and Indigenous-owned!
Besides your own place, where else do you like to eat or shop in Hamilton?
We’re spoiled for choice in this city! But a few of my current favourites are: Motel for brunch, Pretty Grit, La Bichette and Pure Home Couture for home & giftware, Durand Coffee for the best Oat Milk Latte, Cafe Baffico for Italian food & a cozy environment, Mixed Media for art prints and greeting cards, Mai Pai for the most amazing Detroit-style pizza!
Any advice to small business owners wanting to open up shop in Hamilton?
Do it! Hamilton is a creative hub and we’re lucky to be part of a community that loves supporting local and seeing small businesses thrive. There are lots of interesting neighbourhoods in the city so if you’re new to the area, get to know the existing shops + people to see where your business best fits. There is a lot of existing culture in the city and to me, that’s the best way to figure out how your particular business can support the community, and vice versa. Ask a lot of questions or a helping hand if you need it, and return the favour when you’re able.