This week I grabbed breakfast with my good friend Michelle Berckes at Sam A.M. We caught up over cups of coffee and autumn frittatas. Michelle had a special request for hot sauce and even though they were out she laughed with our server while finagling a side of ranchero sauce for us both. Michelle's a chef, strong willed, confident, and determined. I admire her for every single one of those qualities
Michelle and I first met through a mutual friend who couldn't rave enough about Michelle's booth at the farmers market. We soon realized we had several friends/acquaintances in common, as is the once small world of Jersey City and we lived around the corner from each other. I quickly became a fangirl of Michelle's food and the more I got to know the woman behind the apron the more I fell in love with her and her business. Michelle is passionate about what she does and it shows in her recipes, presentation and brand. We've shared yoga retreats, countless runs, nights out and trips to Austin and I truly feel inspired to be a better person when I'm around her.
What's your name and what do you do?
Michelle Berckes, I am a vegetable surgeon; a plastic surgeon of vegetables I reconstruct them into interesting dishes.
What does being a boss mean to you?
Being able to provide a platform for growth while also learning about myself through other people.
What are you thankful for personally and professionally?
They both tie into each other. I'm so grateful for the growth I've experienced through my employees over the past years. I'm grateful for the community supporting our vision and for my team showing up everyday empathetically. We have such a tight knit team and everything I've learned is thanks to them.
What are the struggles of being a business owner?
Time management! Balancing personal life with work life, I feel like I've lost a lot of my personal time, but I need to learn to take care of myself the way I take care of other people. It's like the oxygen mask situation, take care of yourself before assisting others. I also struggle with all of these things making me feel guilty when I do try to take care of myself.
What are the benefits of being a business owner?
Setting my own schedule. There is a huge sense of accomplishment when things go well and getting to live my dream everyday - it's pretty fucking cool!!
How do you define success?
I feel successful every day when I see my team smiling and laughing at work. When I can say yes to someone taking a vacation and I can also take one for myself knowing I have a team back home taking care of business. Also every time someone reaches out to me with a success story with our food, whether it's weight loss or saving them time from meal prepping. The fact that I have built a life for MYSELF is success. I have build something from the ground up without any investors and I'm truly proud of that success.
How do you keep balance?
I'll tell you when I figure it out lol - I run a lot, I love spending time with my family and friends and having a team I can talk to about anything. One day I'll figure it all out, intermediately going back home to Sussex County and connecting with nature really helps me recharge.
What advice do you have for hopeful business owners?
It's ok to be hard on yourself because you will grow a lot from it. "We reach peaks by first going through the valleys" It's also ok to be not sooooo hard on yourself.
Take what others say with a proverbial grain of salt. Follow your gut and always trust your intuition, while being open to the fact that you are also growing and learning. It isn't just about what you have to offer, it's about what you have to learn.
It's a little about yourself, but if you aren't helping others, you aren't dreaming big enough.
With Michelle in my life I learn the value of building and surrounding yourself with a strong tribe both professionally and personally. She inspires me to push myself and take care of both my mental and physical state. Thanks to her business Busy Bee Organics I am able to properly feed my body with delicious meals on the go. I never go hungry throughout the day and I always have an extra jolt of energy because every ingredient in every meal was chosen with care to help ensure I am able to take on my busy lifestyle. Michelle also offers her famous Beetox which is a whole food cleanse. Unlike popular cleanses or detoxes this is a 3-5 day meal plan that provides 3 meals and 3 snacks to help recharge your body. They are perfect for post vacation/wedding/holiday binges - I am a HUGE fan!
You can check out Michelle's amazing food every Thursday at the Grove Street Farmers Market (in season) or order directly via her website by midnight every Sunday for local delivery/pickup on Monday - the perfect way to start your week! She also updates the menu EVERY week!
Follow her on Instagram for daily inspiration and BEE-utiful food