In December 2013, alumnus Joseph Green launched Affinity Confections, a bakery and confection company tailored toward high-end clientele specializing in cupcakes, bars, tarts, sauces, curds and shortbread—all made in-house with fresh ingredients.
Green, a 2012 business alumnus, said he grew up baking, often with his grandmother. In his younger days, he considered going to culinary school but said he didn’t want to be stuck working under someone else. Choosing Temple was a “strategic decision” for Green; he hoped to gain business connections and experience at the university.
But as a Fox student, Green discovered much more than business tactics.
“I really got into art while I was here at Temple,” Green said. “I really like abstract art. I’ll relate colors and patterns to flavors and textures.”
In particular, Green favored inspiration from artists like Salvador Dali and Banksy, and enjoys applying his artistic tastes to his baked goods.
Affinity Confections also has a “heavy fashion influence,” Green said. Like fashion designers have seasonal lines, the bakery has seasonal collections, ensuring freshness and quality.
The baking industry is following the trend of consumers pursuing healthier products, Green said, and he is health-conscious himself. By creating his own sauces and curds, Green is able to control the amount of calories in his products. He also focuses on making appropriate portion sizes.
While studying at Temple, Green interned at the Night Kitchen Bakery.
He credits the internship to “good old networking.”
“A friend of mine knew the owner, and I sat down with her and let her know that I wanted to analyze the business structure,” Green said.
While at Night Kitchen, he learned about technical aspects of the business, like shelf life and managing inventory, and worked with the restaurant’s pastry chefs.
“Joe was very enthusiastic and a hard worker,” Night Kitchen Bakery owner Amy Edelman said. “He asked the right questions, took notes and took the job seriously. Young people with this attitude are not common.”
“It’s a tough business with a small bottom line, and the job itself is very demanding—on your feet for eight to 12 hours, weekends and holidays are often a requirement,” Edelman added. “Internships can help an inexperienced person determine if the industry is a good fit.”
For Green, it all comes down to never compromising, he said—something he mentioned in one of Dwight Carey’s entrepreneurship classes where he was asked to give a presentation.
Green considers Carey, an assistant professor in Fox School of Business, one of his most influential professors while at Temple.
“I discussed the startup costs of opening a bakery and felt that this initial capital outlay would stop him,” Carey said. “It did not. He was able to find a commercial incubator for bakers where you would rent baking equipment by the hour or some other time period. He could then concentrate on developing and selling his products. He did this all on his own, which is typical of his determination to succeed and overcome the odds and succeed.”
Melissa Bellerjeau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.