The Wall Street Journal reported that 30 million jobs were eliminated by layoffs from March to June 2020. Yvette Boucher-Denning, Waitsfield, was one of the millions of Americans laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, when life gives you lemons, make lemon…curd cake with fresh berries and Italian buttercream, one of the many sweets Boucher-Denning sells from her home bakery, Sweet Pie O’ Mine. She started the certified home bakery in June 2020 after losing her job in March. “I started baking at home and it took off from there,” she said.
Boucher-Denning learned to bake as a child with her grandmother -- a pastry chef -- and graduated from culinary school. She moved to Vermont four years ago and has worked as a baker for The Warren Store and Pitcher Inn. When she started her own business, it began as special order-only, but she soon landed wholesale accounts at Mad River Taste Place and the von Trapp Farm Store in Waitsfield. During the holidays, she also sold her products at The Roots Farm Market in Middlesex. Social media and word-of-mouth have been crucial to building her business. “When you have your own business, you have to do everything,” she said. “Time management has been a huge lesson for me. I try not to take things too serious, too.”
Last summer, she began selling at the Waitsfield Farmers Market and frequently sold out of pies, cakes, cookies and other treats. “That opened up a huge market for me,” she said. Her No.1 sellers are special occasion cakes, made to order for birthdays, anniversaries and other events. She baked desserts for a number of weddings last summer and said pies – her favorite thing to make -- were really popular for those events. She said the holiday orders this year were “insane.” January tends to be a slower month for sweets as many people are on diets and recovering for holiday indulgences.
Boucher-Denning runs the bakery on her own with help from her husband and a close friend. “I love that I live in such a tight-knit community,” she said. “We’re so supported here. When I started this business, I didn’t know anyone. Everyone has been really great about this new, non-Vermonter who started a home bakery.”
Sweet Pie O’ Mine’s menu includes custom-made-to-order cakes and cupcakes, a variety of pies, loaf cakes, crumb cakes, cookies and muffins. She plans on scaling back her menu some but will continue to offer many of her signature sweets. Orders can be placed at www.sweetpieomine.com.