Sally and Rebekah Ontiveros are the co-owners of The Hive Bakeshop, an artisan bakery specializing in customized cakes, macrons, breads, and a variety of other baked goods. The Ontiveros sisters have been featured on major streaming sites and media outlets, including the Netflix show “Sugar Rush,” MarthaStewart.com, Better Homes & Gardens, and many others. Behind the scenes, Sally and Rebekah are fueled by a purpose to create extraordinary experiences for everyone who walks through their doors.
Before becoming baking bosses, the Ontiveros sisters were both working in different career sectors. Rebekah worked as an Education Director for several schools in Northern Virginia, while Sally was a certified mountain guide and co-owner of a small start-up. Then one day, Sally dreamed up the idea for The Hive Bakeshop. Rebekah explains how she naturally joined forces with her sister after being unfulfilled at her job: “We didn’t set out to do this together; it became the natural thing that happened- it clicked.”
While growing up, their love for food was ignited through family traditions. “I’m eternally grateful, the older I get, that we had family dinners and that it was a priority in our household...so much culture comes from sitting at a family table and gathering for holidays”.
In the beginning stages of their business, Sally and Rebekah faced many critics who didn’t believe in their vision, but this didn’t stop them from finding their voice. “We don’t want to be like everyone else….and didn’t want to be in a race to be the same. We want to find different flavors while keeping it accessible- we developed what was true to us and palatable to everyone else,” explained Sally.
Q - What is it like working together as sisters and business partners?
A - Sally: “It is really difficult being the sole person doing all the things, so it is nice to have a partner who I can totally trust and who will hold up their end of the deal.”
A - Rebekah: “I want to echo what Sally said...I’m very grateful that I get to work with my family. We never competed with each other in school or for prizes, friends, or anything like that. We were able to become our own people, and I think that is very important in adulthood because we can come back full circle and bond even more, especially in a business relationship. We have similar strengths, similar likes, and know each other's weaknesses; that’s what helps us make each other stronger.”
Q - Have you faced any struggles as underrepresented, young, female entrepreneurs in this space?
A - Sally: “A lot of people will want to make the decisions for you -they will tell you that you are too young. I had a building permit man who wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. He would talk to everyone else in the room except me, and even when I asked a question, he would address somebody else answering that question. You have to be strong and grow a thick skin.”
A - Rebekah: “We have had a lot of people doubt us and say it to our face. It has been interesting not only being women but being underrepresented in general- it is hard for people to accept. Even now, Sally and I are very active, working owners, and if people don’t know who we are, they assume that we are not the owners, and they treat us very differently. We were raised to believe in ourselves and to keep going.”
Q - What advice would you give other young underrepresented people who aspire to start their own business?
A - Sally: “It is very scary and difficult because you are always searching for approval from your parents, your family, friends, and society. If you have a passion, and you know that you are good at that, and you can get better- then go for it.”
A - Rebekah: “Don’t be afraid to fail because you will never take the risk if you don’t try. There will be times where you don’t execute everything you want to, but if you don’t try, you'll never have the opportunity to see.”
Although the Ontiveros sisters experienced various barriers throughout their lives, their family bond proved unbreakable, and their commitment to the process was unshakable. As Mexican-American women in a tough industry, Rebekah and Sally transform their challenges into lessons.
“When you set out to make something special, you want to make it unique, and Brunswick is unique. A lot of people laughed at us when they would show up to the Hive….and now people embrace it,” says Sally. Rebekah expands, “I don’t think anyone can ever imagine the hard work that goes in behind the scenes. You get to see all the fun and the pretty pictures, but there is a lot of sweat equity that goes into it”.
The Ontiveros sisters seek to bake past boundaries by sharing their own authentic food experiences with those who don’t have accessibility. Looking to create memorable and worldly experiences for their customers, Sally and Rebekah don’t want people’s pocketbooks to prevent them from culinary adventure. Sally concludes, “You don’t have to have a lot to eat well and to have a good life.”
The Hive Bakeshop is located in Brunswick, Maryland, at 318 Petersville Rd. It is open to the public Wednesday-Saturday from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM. For more information, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.