First off, who is Pastry Girls?
Pastry Girls is myself, Andrea a pastry chef; along with my mother and grandmother’s recipes and teachings. I also chose Pastry Girls, to honor all the women I learned from the art of pastry making while growing up in Hungary, and living in Germany, England and Italy.
How did you get your start in selling your baked goods?
I always made treats for small gatherings, holidays and gifts. always received the same response….you should sell these, there is nothing like these around here. I worked for nearly 10 years as a pastry chef, but in August 2009 I was laid off due to cut-backs, which finally gave me the push to start a business of my own.
How did you originally find Etsy and what kind of things does Etsy provide you for your business?
I found Etsy thru reading an article in a local paper I picked up at my organic food co-op. I went on the website, and have been addicted ever since! Etsy is great, because I feel like I am at home and surrounded by like minded artists and creators. I now purchase lot of my supplies for packing and baking, from Etsy sellers. The variety is outstanding and I much rather support my fellow sellers.
What different kinds of baked goods does your shop on Etsy and your local business offer?
My Etsy shop offers mostly treats that are more “shipping friendly” while my brick and mortar shop carries goodies that are more delicate, such as puff pastry items, tarts with cream and fresh berries, handmade truffles. I love granola, so I make some for my store also, which has now become a staple. Another item I added recently is mini challah bread. It is fun to offer such a nice varitey of goodies to my customers. I basically want to share with them the things I love to eat. :)
What are some of your favorite baked goods you enjoy preparing and eating?
Hmmm…the list would be easier, if I had to answer which ones I don’t like.
Strudels are fun to make; stretching a small ballsized dough paper thin is pretty cool. I love eating them as well, the berry filled and apple-cherry filled are my favorites. I also love making petit fours, especially if it is chocolate. They are small, perfect little pieces of cake. Cute to look at, display them, serve them and especially eat them.
What is your favorite thing about baking and why?
I love baking because it allows me to be creative every day. Many recipes I make were handwritten by my grandmother into a notebook for me some time ago and every time I make something of hers, I remember her teaching me; it is like having her with me every day.
Where do you get most of your inspiration for your baked goods?
I try to keep old traditions I grew up with and treats are a big part of that. It is important to me to stay true to the desserts of my childhood; not mass-produced but each made by hand, from organic, preservatives free ingredients and from scratch.
I also like to experiment with new treats/flavor combos sometimes; I get inspired mostly by colors and textures. I always try to figure out how to put a fun, new twist on something “old fashioned.”
What kind of advice would you give to buyers who are looking to purchase edible items from Etsy?
Understand that edible items on Etsy are not made by large companies, but handmade by individuals.
Quality takes time and care.
Using only quality organic ingredients, the price of treats is therefore higher than chain store bought items.
Since baked goodies are not mass produced, not two will be exactly alike…allow for some very minor imperfections, handmade things are not perfect, that is why they are charming.
Where can readers and buyers find out about special offers or extra info from Pastry Girls?
Pastry Girls is on facebook!
I also post updates about offers, events on my Etsy shop site, www.pastrygirls.etsy.com. So far I haven’t had time to become a Twitter–er…one day maybe.
Locally, I am at my shop in West Branch, IA several times a week, when not baking; otherwise my helpful staff is always there to answer questions.
What kind of things do you see in the future or have planned (including new baked goods in the works) for your Etsy shop and local business?
I have started receiving requests from customers for monthly auto delivery option of their favorite treats. This is something I would like to offer on a regular basis to my Etsy customers. I would like to always offer an “essential basics” selection of goodies in my Etsy shop and always have a few rotating new treats as well. I also want to expand my custom order offerings and introduce new, unexpected ways of packaging treats. One example, I recently began using hand-printed and colored fabrics made by Susan Shinnick, a friend of mine who is a local textile designer as part of packaging my baked goodies, instead of ribbons.
My local shop is slowly becoming the first place people think of when they need baked treats. I love interacting with my customers and working together on custom orders. I hope to keep growing my customer base and eventually have a larger retail presence in downtown Iowa City.