Think Big Movement Podcast - Jon Dwoskin Interviews Julie Vanderhoop, Orange Peel Bakery

Juli Vanderhoop is the founder of Orange Peel Bakery, a micro bakery located in Aquinnah, Massachusetts. Producing breads and pastries from scratch, Orange Peel Bakery’s goods are available at several locations throughout Martha’s Vineyard.

Nine months of the year, Orange Peel Bakery hosts a Pizza night, encouraging guests to donate if they can, bring toppings, and enjoy the community atmosphere.

The way in which Juli and her bakery run their business will inspire you to re-look at your own business.

Visit the Orange Peel Bakery’s website for more information.

*E – explicit language may be used in this podcast.
Read the transcript

Jon Dwoskin:
Hey, everybody! I’m Jon Dwoskin, an executive advisor and business coach. I work with successful businesspeople who are stuck and want to take their company to the next level. Today, though, get ready to grow your business big. Very big. In just a few seconds, you’ll meet a dynamic business owner, executive, or salesperson willing to share the best practices that fuel their growth and success. Each interview is no more than 15-ish minutes long, so you can quickly learn effective tools to put into your business today. Please listen with new ears, and let’s get to learning, let’s get to growing, and let’s get to thinking big.

Hey, everybody. Welcome back. I am so excited to have this guest on the show today. Julie Vanderhoop. She is the owner of Orange Peel Bakery. I’m going to give a little backstory on how I met Julie. My wife and I, this summer, went to New England, and we spent some time in Martha’s Vineyard, and we were driving by this bakery. We had a tour guide that was driving us around the island, and he said, “You’ve got to stop … I’ve got to take you to Orange Peel Bakery,” and it just so happened that the owner, Julie, was there. And so we met each other, and it was great to meet her, but her concept …

Well, first of all, the bakery, and the pizzas which we’re going to talk about today, were … I didn’t have the pizza, but the baked goods I did are incredible. And the concept of how Julie started and runs Orange Peel Bakery is incredible. She’s been noticed by people like Oprah, and she is an amazing soul of a human being, and I was so excited that she agreed to be on the show.

Julie, welcome, and thank you for taking time to be here. How are you?

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Thank you, Jon. And I am doing wonderful today. Yes! And thank you for stopping in over your vacation…

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Yes.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
… and visiting me at the Orange Peel. It is evolving.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
It was a highlight. I want you to tell everybody the story, if you will, about Orange Peel Bakery and about how people pay for the baked goods.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Oh, sure.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
I want them to hear it from you because I don’t want to do it a disservice. So, take us from the beginning, and take us on the journey.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Sure. Sure, absolutely. Okay. I moved back to the island 12 years ago and came up with the idea someplace in between 12 and 11 years for building this oven. A friend noticed that was a single mother baking for my kids because I didn’t want the chemicals, and I wanted to know what my food was, and that my friends would come over and eat wonderful things. And the first thing they’d do is show up at tea time, and they’d look at the counter. I sat back for the week, and I noticed that. I then believed her that they were coming over for the baked goods not the tea, and I started a journey of looking for the oven.

Found the oven after joining an oven build program, and it was amazing. It was a very simple design from France. It’s called the Le Panyol oven. I imported it from France. It’s the largest that they make. It’s 10 feet around, wood fired. It’s made with what they call “terre blanche”, and it means white earth in translation. The oven is one of the best tools, and it complements everything that I do.

The bakery is a 12 or a 16 foot, small micro-bakery in the middle of Aquinnah, which is the smallest township of Martha’s Vineyard island, and I have created an honor system which is, you come in, and I might not be there, and you leave money in the bowl which is unattended, and you take your change out and walk away with whatever baked goods you see after adding it all up. And it has worked fantastically. There are no cameras. It is, what I think, and I like to think, is giving people back the chance to be honorable, which you don’t get in this day and age.

So first, that is a grace that most people don’t put it out as. I trust people, I want to trust people. My son was seven years old when I built the oven, and he said, “Mom, what if someone comes and they take everything that we have made?” And I looked at him, and I said, “You mean everything,” I said, “all the breads, and maybe the computers, and whatever,” and he said, “Yeah.” And I said, “But we’re okay. We see that everything’s gone,” and I said, “at the end of the day, what you know you can give is a day’s worth of work.” And that was an example that I wanted to give my children, being the single mom, and knowing my community.

All of my baked goods were based on the community. They’ve been tested at our pizza night. Pizza night is a community dinner. If you have an oven the size of mine, you bring the community in and feed them. And by feeding them, well, I also do samples. In 2006, as I had just finished the oven, I started to do samples, and I watch people and their reactions to what I was putting out, and I’d sit back, and I’d say, okay, if it lasted longer than 10 minutes, then it got three stars, but if it was gone prior to 10 minutes, then it got five stars and that was a keeper.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
That’s great.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Now all my recipes are tried that way, and pizza night has grown. At first we would gather, and it would be 30 people. And I was asking people to bring their toppings, just a topping to share, and we would provide a pizza, or as many pizzas as you could eat, and that everyone would put their toppings on a table and come to share. Sharing is something that we teach our children until they’re five, six, seven years old. It’s a very basic and very important thing that we all try to exemplify to our children. And then as we become adults, we no longer share with our community, and this is what’s hurting our communities. We have made convenience stores, which take the convenience out of our community, of learning running across the street for four eggs to finish a cake – or anything – a half a gallon of gas to finish the lawn. And these small things have broken communities down, whether you think about it or not.

But the bakery has, from the first summer that I opened, been getting enormous press, and I’m every day extremely grateful. I can only say that from the first month that I was open, I was put on the cover of Edible Vineyard, and the island community responded in huge ways. We went from 30 people at our pizza nights to 50, then 60, then 80, now over 100, well over 100 on a Wednesday evening. Each Wednesday evening we still do our community dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. People come, they play music, they share poetry, the children share dancing, they share stories that they’ve told, and it’s wonderful. We’ve all got something to share, whether it’s a story, or a smile, or what we know.

The great thing about pizza night is that we sit together and we eat together, and people who visit from around the world can come and share what they have found in secret places on this island which make it more special than just doing the around the track normal things. Because there are very eclectic and wonderful things that you can do here, but you have to really reach out to the community that’s here, and if you don’t do that, then you will not find the special things. And my call is that I don’t advertise. I always say that if you love it, then you’ll remember and tell a friend and share it.

Thus, sharing, and pizza night is all about teaching the adults who have forgotten how to share again. And for those germaphobes that come in, and they say, “Wait, wait, but this food is out on the table, and there are people, and I just can’t deal with it,” Well, it’s going into a 750 degree oven.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Right.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Nothing’s coming out alive. So, it’s absolutely wonderful. The pizza comes out potluck style, and the best pizza that I’ve ever tasted was a broccoli cream sauce instead of a red sauce with roasted garlic and olives, sun dried tomatoes, and I think caramelized onions. It was fantastic.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Is that the one that’s on the cover of your website?

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
I don’t know. It might be.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
It looks like it the way you’re describe it. Julie, thank you for taking time to share that story because I think … I know my wife and I, when we left your bakery, and the pizza oven, and just your presence, and being in your bakery, and eating the food that you prepared, we left just feeling like better people, like better human beings, and I would imagine that most people do. They can bring or be the better part of themselves while they’re in your presence, and then that just kind of sticks and stays with them when they leave your environment.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Right.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
I mean, I know it had a huge impact on me.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Well, we are very blessed to live out here in Aquinnah. I know whether you know this about me, I don’t know whether I told you, but I am part of the Wampanoag tribe, and my people have been here since before written history, and that my stepfather was the medicine man of the Wampanoag people.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Oh, wow.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
And that the bakery is built on what we call Black Brook, and there are special premises there. There are six springs that run underneath the property, and between the smoke from the oven and the water that comes through the ground, it’s actually a very sacred place for us, and it’s a place where the ancestors are very close to us. I share with my help that 99% of the people that come to visit us each day are coming through the door and very positive, and that if you can work in a place where 99% of the people are immediately telling you something positive, that you should carry that through and recognize it, and it’ll elevate you as it has my business. I can’t say that … I can honestly say that I poured the last of my money into it, and it has come back to me tenfold, that of which you spoke, the feeling that you got, and that each day only gets better.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
That’s amazing. You know, I talk to business people all the time, and one of the things that I talk about is that the key question that you want to ask people, your clients, are, “Would you refer a friend?” And if the answer is yes, then you’re doing something right, and if the answer is no, then you’re doing something wrong. And I’m going to use your words, but when you create a sacred space and a culture within a company, or anything that you’re doing, and it’s in alignment with your soul, then people do remember you, and they do tell people about you, and that’s been such the success of your growth, and the honor system, and giving people the feeling of trust again, and the sharing. It’s amazing.

I don’t even want to get too into business questions for you because I think your story is the essence of what every business tries to be and strives to be, and the essence of just what you do and what comes naturally just from the DNA of you, I think, is incredibly inspiring, and that’s why I’m so happy that you decided to be on the show and share your story because I think people will just be better people and more in their light for hearing it.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
You know, I think that you have asked some really important questions on your paperwork that I had a chance to glance at, and I didn’t know the answers to some of the questions. But one of them was, what’s your biggest failure? And I think that I considered it, my biggest failure, the loss of time from my children as a single mom, and the time that I put into the bakery to make it what it is, to focus on that, but I’ve always put things down to be with my children.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Right.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
That’s the luxury of the bakery. But it returned to me as my son wrote an essay, and I did not have the time to look or help him with his college essays. He wrote his essay about the bakery and about the people that it had brought to our lives, and that from this very, very quiet outermost land in Aquinnah, we’re a very small community of 300 in the summer and only 100 in the winter, how the bakery had brought people from all walks, all genres into our lives, and how it had made him a better person, how he chooses to take the side of all minorities, handicaps, whatever it might be, and help them because he knows these people and their stories.

And he wrote his college essay, I didn’t ever ask him to read it. He left it open on my computer one day, and I walked up, and I just saw this, and it was a marvelously written piece of paper. And he is now at Dartmouth. He’s still writing. But that I had actually instilled, by creating this bakery, something in him that he will carry through his lifetime, it’s touched his character, and as a single mom of a thriving young man, and my daughter is artist who paints our world in many visual pictures from the bakery, or from our waters, which my people are fishermen, and it’s just wonderful that they understand that first the key is to your happiness, and to what you have to give, to offer, will give you something back, to your own soul.

So I just think that through my own strife, it also helped me connect with my children a bit, in a great bit.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Well, I …

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
And I can’t tell you … It’s wonderful.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
I appreciate you sharing that story because it’s a very vulnerable story. You had to give some things up, but really what happened, that you didn’t even maybe realize it from what it sounds like, is, you were really giving so much more than you even thought, and that’s a beautiful story.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Right.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
I hope that this, and I know it will, infuse people to, in business and no matter what part of business that they’re in, or life, whoever listens, to just get in alignment with what is important with your soul, and your family, and your life, and do what you love to do, and make sure that it’s doing something positive not only for yourself but the rest of the world.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Yeah.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
You are a huge inspiration, and I can’t thank you enough. Any parting words and final words of wisdom?

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Well, you know, I just want to share with people that I’m very happy for the work that I’ve been able to do. My days are long, my days are hard, but my thanks go out to, once again, this community for giving me the energy every Wednesday as people leave the property and thank me for what my work is. The strength to lift the … Well, we’re about to soar to about 700 pounds of lifting a day.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Wow.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
And that’s not an easy feat. I am the lead baker, and I do a lot. I am also the sweat woman of the town, but if you love my story, then find me online, on PBS, on New York Times’ website. We have been recognized, and my thanks are manyfold for what the good people out there in this world prove to me, and that my business is worthy of carrying on the story. And this story helps my people. So, thank you, Jon.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
And it helps the world be a better place. Tell people, Julie, where they can get a hold of you and learn more about Orange Peel Bakery.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Well, my website is orangepeelbakery at squarespace.com, or something like that.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
orangepeelbakery dot squarespace.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Yeah. Absolutely. That’s my website, that’s my email, and I am here and we are getting incrementally bigger each year, and I hope to reach the larger community very, very soon, and always reaching out to me, I try to keep up and respond, and I hope that people will.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Alright. Well, they will …

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Thank you.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
And I will continue to spread your story, drink out of my Orange Peel Bakery coffee mug, and think of you and how I can be better when I drink out of it on a daily basis a well. So, thank you so much. Very grateful to have you on the show. Have an amazing rest of the day, and thank you.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
I will, absolutely.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Alright, Julie …

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Talk to you again some time, Jon.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Yes, for sure, Julie.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Thank you so-

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Thanks so much.

 

Juli Vanderhoop:
Bye-bye.

 

Jon Dwoskin:
Bye-bye.

Thank you for listening to the Think Big Movement podcast. For show notes and links to anything we talked about, please visit jondwoskin.com. For additional best business practices, you may enjoy my latest book, The Think Big Movement: Grow Your Business Big. Very Big! Lastly, if you want to talk to me about advising and coaching your business, please email me at jon@jondwoskin.com, text, or call me at 248-535-7796.

Have an amazing day, and an amazing week, and as always, Think Big.

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