Rising high school freshman Jack Greenleaf has been making good use of his summer break. On July 1, he started Bread and Monkey, a banana bread company servicing Battery Park City.
On his first day of business, Mr. Greenleaf says that he spent the day baking and publishing his website (with the help of his family). Then, he brought samples of his bread out to the neighborhood and began to sell.
“By the end of my first day, I had sold 17 loaves of banana bread,” Mr. Greenleaf said. “My sales in just 5 days are far better than I had imagined.”
Mr. Greenleaf was inspired to start his company by his friends, who had tried “a recipe that I had perfected” and told him they would buy loaves from him. He also explained that he wanted a way to make money so he wouldn’t always have to rely on his parents. A lover of cooking and baking but too young to work in a kitchen, Mr. Greenleaf decided earlier in 2017 to start his own baking company.
“I love food. I love experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. I love trying new cuisines. I love the feeling when my food brings people together,” he said. “What I’ve noticed the most about this new business … is that I get to meet so many people and I see how happy my banana bread makes people.”
Mr. Greenleaf is no new player in the culinary field. He’s attended cooking camps at Taste Bud Kitchen, Campus NYC and the Institute of Culinary Education. His biggest influence he says, however, is his mom, whose cooking he’s been watching and learning from since he was a baby.
The trick to making great banana bread, Mr. Greenleaf said, is using fresh ingredients and very ripe bananas. But, like any good businessman, he was careful not to reveal any recipe secrets, and added that if any readers want banana bread without baking, “they can just go online to my website and place an order, which will minimize the mess and be super delicious.”
Bread and Monkey is not just a more-delicious version of a lemonade stand. Mr. Greenleaf has had to navigate business challenges: his building management doesn’t allow him to sell the bread in his lobby, so he “troubleshooted and found a way to sell them another way.” He now sells his bread his website, although he’s limited his service to the Battery Park City area “so that I can hand-deliver each one personally” and ensure the bread is “as fresh out of the oven as possible.” It’s clear Mr. Greenleaf is a naturally business-minded person–he hinted that, in the next few weeks, he’s planning to expand his menu to include one or two more sweet treats.
In the fall, Mr. Greenleaf will join Loyola High School, a Jesuit school on the Upper East Side, and will have to put Bread and Monkey on the back burner. But he’s content with just this quick dip into entrepreneurship and baking – for now. “I want to make it through the summer feeling that I accomplished what I set out to do, which is to learn what it takes to start a company and hopefully have some extra money so that I can travel to new places and experience new cuisines,” he said. In the future, he’s hoping to study business and agriculture in college and one day open up his own food business.
Interested customers can go to www.breadandmonkey.com for more information or to order a loaf of Mr. Greenleaf’s banana bread.