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Let's Talk Business:
Six Lessons that Helped Me Launch My Own Bakery

Calijah Burton: student, baker, business owner. Read about the six lessons he learned at WVU that helped him launch Burton’s Bakery.

Hello, fellow dreamers and entrepreneurs! My name is Calijah Burton. I’m a senior majoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics.

As I draw closer to launching my business, Burton’s Bakery, after graduation this May, I want to share some invaluable lessons and insights I've gained during my time at WVU.

Building Relationships: A Recipe for Success


In the world of entrepreneurship, relationships are the secret ingredient that adds flavor to your venture. I've discovered the immense value of forging connections with customers, turning transactions into conversations and check-ins. By building genuine relationships, you not only create loyal customers but also foster a community of supporters. Some of my customers have become long-term friends, standing by me as I embark on this entrepreneurial journey.

Find Your Target Audience

WVU taught me a crucial lesson: you can't cater to everyone's needs, and that's perfectly fine! Identifying and understanding your target audience is essential. In many business classes, this principle is emphasized as the cornerstone of success. Specializing allows you to tailor your products or services to meet the specific needs and preferences of your target audience.

Do What You Love

Following your passion is not just a cliche, but a powerful piece of advice. At WVU, the importance of pursuing what you love is instilled in every student. For me, Burton’s Bakery has been a dream since the age of 12, and the unwavering support from my teachers and friends at WVU has been instrumental in turning that dream into a reality.

Seize Every Opportunity

Professors Frank DeMarco and Ajay Aluri, my mentors at WVU, taught me the significance of seizing every opportunity, no matter how small it may seem. From class trips to networking nights and career fairs, these experiences are key ingredients in your recipe for success. I had the incredible chance to join the pastry division at Nemacolin through the Hardy Family Hospitality and Tourism program, an opportunity that wouldn't have been possible without heeding this advice.

Learning Sales: Life’s Constant Pitch

Dr. Emily Tanner’s words echo in my mind – "We're always selling something." This holds true in every aspect of our lives. Whether it's selling your product, your ideas, or even yourself, the art of sales transcends the business realm and becomes a valuable life skill.

Utilize WVU Resources to the Fullest: A Buffet of Opportunities

WVU is not just a place of learning; it's a treasure trove of resources waiting to be explored. From industry experts to state-of-the-art facilities, the university provides a nurturing environment for aspiring entrepreneurs. Take advantage of everything WVU offers, be it mentorship, networking events, or specialized programs. The university is a powerful ally in your entrepreneurial journey. One of the places that helped me on said journey was the Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab. The staff there encouraged me to start pitching Burton’s Bakery my freshman year, and I’ve never looked back since.

I owe a big part of my life and passion to my family and friends who supported me on this journey. It’s one of the many reasons I love running Burton’s Bakery! I’ve often found myself bringing a slice of cake to an advisor or a professor and making their day that much better, and that’s why I’ve chosen this line of work. You never know whose day you could change or what smiles you’ll get unless you get out there and try.

If I can leave you with any one piece of advice, it would be to make the most of the time you have here at WVU.

Caljiah Burton
Chambers College student
Entrepreneurship and Innovation major
Owner of Burton's Bakery

"Let's Talk Business" is a series of guest blogs written by members of the Chambers College community. All views expressed in this post are the author's own.

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