Baking helped Janie Deegan as she recovered from addiction. Now, she’s using her bakery to help others with an “open door hiring policy”
Janie Deegan was saved from a life of addiction and homelessness by Janie’s Life-Changing Baked Goods, a bakery tucked away in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
The native New Yorker has opened a thriving cookie store with a “open-door hiring policy” in an effort to assist others after learning that baking was the key to restoring her self-esteem, self-love, and confidence.
She developed the policy as a result of her struggles when trying to enter the workforce after spending so much time in unemployed.
Deegan was actively striving to take charge of her life in 2013. Despite her resolve to remain sober, she was finding it challenging to reestablish relationships. It was impossible, she said, even to look someone in the eyes.
“The baked good that changed my life was for a friend and she asked me to make a cake. She wanted to pay me to make a cake for a big event she was having,” Deegan said. “And I look back at pictures of that cake like, oh it was so not professional.”
Janie made the decision to start selling her baked products in 2015 as a result of that encounter. She had gaps in her résumé and, truth be told, had no idea where to begin when she decided she wanted to create a bakery. She said, “I remember looking up the phrase entrepreneur. “I truly don’t know what that is,” I said.
However, she made the brave decision to “ride the wave” and build her first bakery on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Deegan currently employs 15 people between its two sites, and it plans to add another one. Almost all of her staff members are total beginners in the baking industry, but Janie and knowledgeable staff members teach them everything they need to know.
She remarked, “I really get to see people grow, they come in timid…and I get to see people flower,” she said to CBS News. Through baking, Janie and her employees have gotten a second chance at life.