With Season 2 of the Sincerely Chosen show just around the corner, it’s only right to share the stories of some of the awesome sponsors who helped to make our first season a great one. I truly hope you take something valuable from their journey’s and, if you’re inspired to, consider supporting them.
Let’s start with Joe Green of Affinity Confections, a contemporary confectionery company established in 2014 that creates seasonal confections and embraces the use of fresh ingredients to create the best quality product possible.
Stay tuned for the next featured season one sponsor…
Sincerely Syreeta: Who are you? Tell the SS readers a little about yourself.
Joe Green: I’m a Temple University Alumni from the Fox business school. I’m a Philadelphia native, fashion/art enthusiast, and the owner of Affinity Confections. I’ve been baking for 16 years since I was a kid. I draw a lot of inspiration for my confections from the art and fashion to create a creative contemporary aesthetic.
SS: How and why was your business conceived? What inspired you to take the risk of starting it?
JG: As a kid, I was always in the kitchen with my grandmother when she baked. I use to help by mixing ingredients and licking the spoons. I loved the art of mixing ingredients together to produce a unique confection so I started to play with ingredients and recipes to create my own confections, that was the start of it all. As a entrepreneurship major, I completed my mandatory internship at the Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill where I picked up a lot of technical skills being in the kitchen with the pastry chefs. At the time, I noticed a trend in the baking industry where bakeries placed more emphasis on aesthetics as opposed to focusing on the flavors of the confection. With my grandmother, we tasted all of our ingredients individually and as a complete composition to make sure the flavors and textures were balanced. Identifying a market opportunity, I started Affinity Confections to pay homage to my grandmother and the foundation of baking by focusing on flavor combinations and textures. With Affinity, I wanted to recreate the same quality experiences and confections that I experienced as a child with my grandmother [but] with my own creative twists.
SS: Overall what has the journey been like thus far as a business owner/entrepreneur?
JG: Of course with creating a business there’s a learning curve and there are a lot of hardships as it takes time and patients to create a new venture. Thus far, the journey has been extremely rewarding for me. The best part of being an owner is that I have complete autonomy to collaborate with anyone or any company, whether it’s a charity, non profit or regular business. I’m apart of such a dope, eclectic, and creative group of entrepreneurs throughout the city. I’m [able to] create so many relationships that are essential and beneficial to the success of my business and the success of my fellow entrepreneurs.
SS: And as dope as it is, we all know success comes with challenges. What is one particular challenge that you have faced and how have/did you work to overcome it?
JG: One particular challenge that I faced when I initially started the company was people telling me that my confections were too small, and that I should focus on the decorations and colors of my confections. I couldn’t listen to people regarding my product because they didn’t understand my vision. I wanted to create a quality product that was well portioned, moving away from the traditional idea of bigger is better. I also wanted to focus on premium natural ingredients and contemporary aesthetics as opposed to big elaborate designs, artificial colors and flavors.
SS: Foresight is important in business, especially when assessing where and how to position your brand in the market.
JG: As an entrepreneur, I saw where the market was going, towards smaller, healthier options. Moreover, I just wanted to offer my unique perspective. I overcame the challenge of people questioning my product by studying portions , ingredients and flavors to gain a level of expertise that could not be questioned. As Steve jobs said, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Once I explained the functionality of the smaller portion and people tasted the products, I stopped being pressured to be like everyone else and started being accepted for what Affinity Confections represents: quality.
SS: The definition of success varies based on who you ask. What does success mean to you and what are some signs (i.e. highlights/examples) that your business is on the road to success?
JG: For me, success is creating something that has longevity and can be considered timeless. As I take my time to properly develop the brand, I know I’m on the right path with Affinity Confections when people come up to me and talk about one of my confections that they tasted on one of the past events that I’ve done. It could have been months, or even last year, that they tasted something from Affinity…and the quality sticks with people.
SS: How has your journey as a business owner/entrepreneur shaped you as a person?
JG: The most important way that entrepreneurship has shaped me is realizing my contribution to the community through philanthropy. As a young black entrepreneur, I feel a sense of responsibility to work with and help younger people that want to be entrepreneurs–and guide them so it’s easier for them to become successful.
SS: That’s very noble of you. So why did you decide to come one board as a sponsor for #SincerelyChosen? I mean of course I appreciate it, but why?
JG: I decided to come on board as a sponsor to be a part of history. The Sincerely Chosen series features great individuals that we normally do not get to see and hear their stories. Any way I could be a part of the series I would have loved to do it, it just so happens that my contribution was confections and you can never go wrong with sweets. [laughs]
SS: Well you’re a smart man Mr. Green! Haha! No, really, it was humbling to have your delicious creations sweeten the experience for our guest. What’s your key to “Sincerely Lovin’” life? (A motto or mantra that you live by.)
JG: A mantra that I live by is by Rene Descartes, “I think therefore I am” that mantra is everything because it’s a simple affirmation that says I can be anything I want to to be and I can do anything I put my mind too. No matter what I want to accomplish I am capable of doing so. That’s the best thing to me, know that I’m capable of doing anything. Knowing I’m capable eliminates doubt of success or the fear of failure.
SS: Ok, let’s wrap this up so you can get back in the kitchen, haha. How can we support you?
JG: You can always support Affinity Confections anytime you crave something sweet and want to try some seasonal confections and we deliver throughout Philadelphia. Follow us on Instagram & Twitter (@ _affinityco), and Facebook (Affinity Confections) to stay updated on all of our latest seasonal collections.
If you would like to support Sincerely Chosen and its mission for the 2016 season via sponsorship, email: SincerelyChosenLive@gmail.com.
– Sincerely Syreeta