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Meet a Business: PastryBase

Meet a Business is a series featuring the person behind some of your favorite locally-owned businesses.
Jill Donaldson's headshot.
What is your name? 
Jill Donaldson

What's your hometown? 
Richmond, VA; but grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

What is your business name? 
How many years have you owned/managed your business? 
What is the most popular item you sell?
Hands down, our LillyBean Gooey Blondie Mix! We're also so honored and proud that it won "Best New Product" at the Fancy Food Show in NY which is put on by the Specialty Food Association, even though it was up against baking mixes which were not gluten-free/vegan or allergen free!
What local business can you not live without?

What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your workday?
I love being able to look at my late grandmother's old KitchenAid Stand Mixer on my counter every day. Although I use it frequently for recipe testing and baking, it's function is more to remind me of the purpose of my business, which is to help families spend more time together in the kitchen. That mixer represents so many wonderful memories of family time in my grandmother's kitchen, and I want others to be able to bake those same memories together, especially families with food allergies.

How did you come up with the name for your business?
My full first name is Jillian, and my late grandmother and best baking buddy's name was Lillian. Our LillyBean by PastryBase brand was named in her honor; she was the most giving, kind, and upbeat person I've ever met. She was always baking and cooking up a storm, and some of my best memories growing up center around food in her house. That's why we're so passionate about families baking memories together with our LillyBean products!

What does the world need more of?
The world needs more empathy and selflessness; the ability to look outside ourselves and put ourself in another's shoes, someone who might have different experiences than ours.

What's your favorite thing to do in Richmond when you're not in your business?
Dining out! I love eating at all of RVA's local gems, and I especially love taking out-of-town guests around to all the unique food spots in town to show off what Richmond has to offer. We have so many amazingly talented chefs and restauranteurs!

What do you love most about Richmond?
The opportunity that Richmond gives for local businesses to grow, because of the passion and support of its citizens towards local business. I've lived and worked in the food business in Miami, Nashville, Washington, DC, Virginia Beach, and other cities, and I've never seen the level of loyalty and support towards local business as much as I have in Richmond. Local shops like Good Foods Grocery, Ellwood Thompsons, Libbie Market, and the Market at 25th are so willing to give local food makers a chance on their shelves and support us in many ways that allow our businesses to grow. Being given a shot on the shelves of these stores, and the fact that locals were supportive of our products, opened the doors for us to grow into other retailers such as Wegmans, Whole Foods, and Food Lion.

What's the best thing about being a local business owner? 
Getting to know other local business owners. Of course this is something that every Richmond local could (and should!) do, but there's a special bond and network of support built between local business owners in RVA, especially local food business owners. We're constantly bouncing ideas off each other, getting advice, collaborating, and supporting one another, and that has meant a lot to me.
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