Our story part 2

by michelle on February 11, 2010

Hey luvs

Glad to hear you all have been enjoying our story of how we started up our bakery. And thanks for all the nice compliments on the pics!

And our story continues….

So we looked into selling our baked goods at local farmers markets.  We were terrified!! I can remember our first market. It was selling at the downtown market on Wednesday afternoons.

Lori and I packed up are the car and headed out. We both we were not talking much, which is unusual because the two of us together we sometimes can get carried away, so we both were scared. This was the first time we were ever doing something like this. Sure sure we have been cooking for people and made treats for others as gifts but to sell our gluten-free vegan peanut-free no refined sugar baked goodies was something new.

I remember we both recited the Lord’s Prayer in the car….we need HIS help!!

We put up our tent and table. Put up our sign and said, “Okay here we go, no turning back!”  And then people came (this market was for the lunch crowd) so a lot of people wanted dessert to get them through their afternoon full of meetings!! We had samples, lots of samples (which we learned is a must when selling your product, especially if it is gluten-free and vegan!)  A lot of people we shocked to try something that was “free” of so many things.

First let me back up a little.

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How did we know we wanted it to be a gluten-free vegan peanut-free sugar-free bakery?

Well because that is how we ate and thought that is what our bakery would be as well. Ever since we moved here we find out there was no allergy friendly bakery. So we started taking some of our family recipes plus created our own to be gluten-free vegan all naturally sweetened treats. Finding suppliers was a headache all together. Over time we perfected our recipes and Twin Cakes Bakery was born. And let me tell you, we spent hours in the kitchen creating recipes over and over again till they were perfect!! We had a lot of failures….trash full of bad recipes plus we enjoyed some of the not so bad ones ; ) We wanted our products to be different…to be better…to be healthier!! Our gluten-free baked goods are not your typical white rice flour, evaporated cane sugar, potato/tapioca starch filled, tofu infused gluten-free vegan treats. We wanted texture, flavor, so we created our own blend of wholegrain gluten-free flours, plus a few other tricks.

At the market, I remember some people’s excitement to find a treat they can eat…some could not have sugar, solved, some could not have eggs, solved, and most could not eat gluten, solved! It was a success!! Word was spreading fast about us.  The only advertising we did was through word-of-mouth at the farmers market ; )  We love our customers!!!

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Now the madness began…

Throughout our first months selling at the farmers market we got more and more request from individuals do we offer soy-free, corn-free, casein free, potato-free, rice-free products. I mean the request kept coming for us to make this without this and that. It was crazy. More light bulbs went off. Hearing all these request made us recreate all our products again to meet all these food allergies request. Which looking back on was not a very smart business decision, because we wasted more ingredients and time. Not good for a company just starting off….we are just people pleasers. Having this type of personality ended up hurting us…we eventually had to learn to say no.

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twin-cakes-web-graphicBy turning our bakery more into an overall allergy friendly bakery, it made our own personal diets to more allergy friendly. We started taking out soy and corn from our own diet. Finally we got some relief with our stomach issues!! The more we took out the better we were feeling.

 

Our mom made our table cloths and sign!! love u mom ; )

Our mom made our table cloths and sign!! love u mom ; )

So what about our raw products?

Well one day at the market a new regular came to our table and asked us to create her some raw foods. She was already vegan but wanted to try raw. She just got back from NY and ate at the prestigious Pure Food and Wine. After a long interesting conversation we were intrigued.  So immediately after the market Lori and I started researching….and we fell in love!!

We loved everything about raw foods!!! The idea, the health benefits, the people…it all seemed to make sense. So back to the kitchen is was…but with new tools!!

A few months after we started this blog, to share our journey of raw foods.

Over the first two years of business we sold at 4 different farmers markets, done so many events for various charities and schools, done one TV show, and been in the local paper and magazines.

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And then Lori became a certified Raw Vegan Chef and counselor and then we heard about the new culinary school opening…105 Degrees Academy, (check out my picture) and we knew we had to go!! Hello Matthew Kenney was running it. One of our biggest raw chef idols.

But which one of us would go?? We debated over this for weeks…time was ticking and we had to make a decision. So I enrolled. And the experience was amazing and I was lucky enough to spend it with another person I was thrilled to meet, GINA!! Love her!!

I sometimes still cannot believe I met Matthew and got to work at his restaurant….amazing!!!  I was truly blessed for such an unbelievable experience!

Where we are now?

We still sell at farmers markets in the local area, side orders all the time for birthdays, etc,  and getting ready to launch our Twin Cakes Bakery Online store….finally are online bakery that we have been talking about for years….our dream is coming true. We even more surprises ahead….much more to come from us.

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Mom makes our aprons too!!

It sure has been a long and hard journey, but all the ups and downs were worth it. We have learned so much about ourselves, how to run a business (out of your home), how to start up an online store, how to wear all the hats of running a business (bakers, cleaners, accountants, sales personnel, marketers, errand runner, financial advisor, etc) all while trying to have a personal life (eat healthy, workout daily, blog, travel) and relax somewhere ; )

Who do we did it for?

You!!! All our customers, our readers, our family and friends. For the little boy or girl who gets so excited when they can come to our table and PICK ANYTHING off it because it is SAFE for them to eat!! And now we get to share that with more people….

Blessed, I think so!!

Lori and I thank everyone for their support and patience. We have many more business ideas to come so please hang around for the ride!!

Phew….that is how we got to where we are today!

Till next time,

Michelle

 

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty February 11, 2010 at 11:04 am

Awwh… love this story!! :) You girls are amazing!! :) Congrats of fulfilling your dreams!!

Thanks for the shout out too!! :) hehe

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Pure2 February 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Thanks Jessica, no problem! Thanks for your support!

Kate February 11, 2010 at 11:51 am

L&M,
You guys are incredibly inspiring! and so brave. you should be so proud of yourself for following your dreams. and when you make mixes that can be sent overseas, I’ll be first in line!
Good luck for everything!

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Pure2 February 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Thanks Kate! It has been one journey for us, and one that we are very proud of. Dreams are possible of you work hard ;)

evergreen February 11, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing and very inspiring story with us!

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Lori February 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Fantastic post! Amazing. I am so thrilled to be able to read about how you started up your company! Such determination and HARD work paid off big time! You ARE helping others with your baking/unbaking and with your blog! Thank you so much for sharing your experience(s). Loved reading about it!

:)
And I got a package yesterday…..
http://runlori.blogspot.com/2010/02/hey-mr-mailman.html

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Pure2 February 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Yay, Lori for getting a package! Hard work is starting to pay off, though we still have a long ways to go ;) Thanks again for your amazing support! xoxoxo

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I just the conclusion of your story, but it’s not the conclusion; it’s just the beginning!

This:
We wanted our products to be different…to be better…to be healthier!! Our gluten-free baked goods are not your typical white rice flour, evaporated cane sugar, potato/tapioca starch filled, tofu infused gluten-free vegan treats.

AMEN. That is sooo true!

And i also loved your people pleaser’s part…i am guilty of that in my blog…someone can’t have this, too much sugar offends this one, that one doesnt have access to “good” ingredients, you have to just set your vision and go with it.

and i can only imagine how sick you were throwing away recipe batches and tests that were less than ideal…all that $ in ingredients bc the ingreds you use are expensive$$

love you girls!
xoxo

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Pure2 February 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Averie, there are no words to describe what we really have learned and gone through to get here, though we are happy that things are finally coming together ;) And don’t get us started on throwing away money with recipes, haha! Thanks for your support! :)

hihorosie February 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I absolutely LOVE your story!! Thanks so much for sharing! And I love the fact your wonderful mom made you aprons and table cloths. So awesome. And yay for everyone who’s tried your delectable treats knowing they’re FREE of some many allergens. I’m glad to hear that thru all the ups and downs you’re still doing what you love and realizing all your dreams and goals and you still love being with each other too. :) Congrats to you both and am hoping for you much continued success!

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Megan @ Healthy Hoggin February 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm

You ladies are such an inspiration! We need more people like you trying to make the rest of the world a healthier place! So happy you ladies are following your dreams! :)

I’m starting a 6-week raw food challenge on Monday, and I think I’m going to be drooling over all of your awesome raw treats!

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Michal February 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story, it really makes me wish I wasnt an only child and had a sister! You are doing such an amazing and wonderful thing that so many people can enjoy. You are changing the standars for raw goodies everywhere, as well as baked ones! They sky is the limit for you two fab twims :) I cant wait till I can finally sample some of your products!

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Heathy February 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm

What a great story girls – I love hearing about how people start up their businesses.
Would love to try your goodies one day! :)

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gina (fitnessista) February 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm

you girls are doing amazing things and i love that you’re helping so many others who suffer from food allergies
thank you for the lovely shout out- i’m so LUCKY to have you both as friends and that we got to live it up at 105 for a while :)
xoxo

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Lindsey @ Sound Eats February 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm

You girls are SO inspirational, and as a child who had anaphylactic allergic reactions from class bake sale goodies in elementary school, I can only imagine the amazingness of being able to pick out ANYTHING on a table, with no worries!

Not only are you inspirational with your business, but you make my mouth water with your goodies and make me want to try my hand at raw treats! Maybe I can finagle a dehydrator for a bday gift this summer? ;)

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Earth Mother – In The Raw February 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. Inspirational! That’s how you follow a dream, one step at a time.

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Iris February 15, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Thanks for sharing your story (and for the encouragement on my elimination diet). I love hearing how people start their own businesses.

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Sarah February 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

Hey there, thanks for dropping by my blog and your kind comments. All the best with branching out overseas. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help get you set up over here such as recommend suppliers etc. x

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