Saturday, 24 December 2016 19:48

Baker with Down’s syndrome opens successful bakery after multiple job rejections

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People always say that if you want to be successful, you have to be able to embrace failure. And Collette Divitto, a baker based in Boston, has certainly experienced this herself – as after a long period of job rejections, she finally has a successful store to call her own.

Collette told that her love of baking began when she started taking cookery classes at high school. ‘My mom wanted me to learn independence life skills and [how to run a] small business rather than taking regular high school courses,’ she said. ‘Most of my education was one-on-one learning, but she wanted me in the community too, so I worked in the school store and helped out the girls’ basketball team. I was also a cheerleader.’ But she soon realised her real calling was baking. So after high school and graduating early at the Clemson University LIFE program in South Carolina, she moved to Boston and began applying for jobs. But in came rejection after rejection. ‘People would offer me volunteer jobs which I did to prove myself, but when I asked for pay, they dismissed me,’ she explained. ‘Then I realised I may have to find my own way and talked to my mom about [launching] a cookie company. ‘She helped me become a small business – I was only selling 100 cookies a week and I did everything myself; ordering ingredients, invoicing, making cookies, packaging, delivering, and all my banking.’ And when news outlets started hearing about and covering her story, ‘it went nuts locally’: ‘My sister Blake’s in social media marketing and she began to spread the story. Then CBS evening world news covered it. Then Good Morning America.
‘Now I have more than 11,000 orders and have been looking at commercial kitchens and hiring staff, including people with disabilities.
‘We are starting mass production next week! ‘Soon I hope to open in another region, and we’re meeting people in different locations. ‘It is really amazing.’