Interview with Emily of Babycakes NYC
I was super lucky to have a chance to sit down with Emily, the General Manager of Babycakes NYC. I didn’t actually sit down with her. I did sit down… at my Mac… emailed Babycakes a question, and the lovely and friendly Emily replied (I’m sure she was seated too.)
I’ve actually emailed Babycakes a few times with questions about recipes and the cookbook. I found the replies were always timely and super helpful. So I asked Emily if I could interview her for my readers, and here we go! Hope you enjoy it.
Did ya notice… I celebrated this very special post by wrapping it all up in a super-fun new blog design. How d’ya like the new look?. And now, without further adieu, on with the gluten-free goodness…
Maggie: How did you come to find yourself working at Babycakes NYC?
Emily: I had left a job working for a now defunct record label and was looking to work somewhere that I was passionate about. I began searching for a job that would have something to do with veganism. I believe very strongly in the vegan lifestyle and I was thrilled when I saw a posting for an Office Assistant at BabyCakes NYC. I was a big fan of the bakery, and was very excited about the idea of joining the bakery’s team. I was absolutely ecstatic upon being hired. My Office Assistant position eventually morphed into a General Manager position and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the BabyCakes NYC family.
M: Tell us a little bit about your eating habits and how they fit into the bakery and the cookbook.
E: In 2003 I became a vegetarian after seeing a PETA video at a concert, Skate and Surf Fest in Asbury Park. I became very interested in the benefits of a plant-based diet and began researching and reading everything I could find about vegetarianism, and eventually about veganism. My New Year’s resolution for 2005 was to go vegan, and I haven’t touched dairy or eggs since!
M: What was it like around the bakery when you heard that Gwyneth was featuring you in GOOP? How did that change things for Babycakes NYC?
E: We were super excited to find out that GOOP was featuring the bakery and some recipes in the newsletter. Once the newsletter went out, we had a surge of first-time callers and people from all over the world calling and e-mailing to find out more information about the bakery.
M: When did things really start to take off for the bakery? And how did that change your job?
E: I think things had already taken off for the bakery before I arrived. I started working at BabyCakes NYC in 2007, so the girls here already had two years of really hard work under their collective belt. I do think that the cookbook’s release in May of 2009 has been a definite milestone for the bakery. The phones have been ringing more, and we have seen increased foot traffic in the bakery. The phones were ringing off the hook for a while after the book came out.
M: Tell us about your day and what your role involves. Just how much nibbling do you do?
E: No day is ever the same for me here at BabyCakes NYC. One of the best parts about my job is answering all of the e-mail inquires that come into the bakery. I love the ability I have to interact with so many customers through e-mail and over the phone. It is great hearing all of the stories about kids eating their first pieces of cake ever, and how the bakery was able to make someone’s birthday very special.
In recent months, I had been working on different things to help get the Los Angeles bakery up and running. I can’t believe how much goes into opening a business! I’ve learned so much from that!
I do my share of taste-testing, too. We are really good about keeping fresh samples on the counter for the customers, so sometimes I share with them!
M: How much fun is it to work there? Is it all fun videos and cute aprons?
E: It is so much fun to be a part of the BabyCakes NYC family. I feel very lucky to work here and be a part of such a wonderful team. It is all cute aprons… the cameras are only running sometimes!
M: What is life like for Erin these days?
E: Things are pretty busy for Erin, but you wouldn’t guess it by looking at her. She is currently working on a second cookbook and a second bakery but still manages to be in the bakery five days a week, frosting cupcakes and creating new delicious recipes.
M: How is the LA location going to change things for all of you?
E: We have been waiting for LA to open since probably before I started working here. It is so exciting that we have finally opened in Downtown Los Angeles. We are so excited to be a part of the community there and have been welcomed with open arms. I hear there was a line all day on opening day, Sunday the 3rd.
M: What was bigger, Gwyneth or Martha?
E: Both of these gals are very influential and know how to create buzz! Martha aired the same day that the book came out, so that was huge! Gwyneth’s GOOP newsletter caused a flood of international calls and e-mails. They were both big in their own way!
M: Why is it important for Babycakes to be so accessible to the public? It’s so easy to get in touch with you and the PR is awesome. Is that a mantra, or does it just sort of happen that way?
E: It does just sort of happen that way. The bakery is all about making people with and without food allergies feel welcome and normal. We strive to do that in every aspect of the business. It is very important to keep the lines of communication with customers open. Since we are a small business, the suggestions of our customers often really do make a difference. We rely a lot on word-of-mouth and thank our customers for spreading the word!
M: Any drawbacks to the job or to working for a bakery that bakes for people with food sensitivities?
E: No way! Customers with food sensitivities are very grateful and I am so happy to be able to help them order a cake that will really help someone to have a happy birthday!
M: Will Canada ever get a Babycakes? Please say yes!
E: We are hoping to open more locations, so… you never know!
I would like to say a super HUGE thank you to Emily for taking the time out of her crazy, busy schedule. Readers, if you can believe it, I have yet to make it to Babycakes NYC. But you can bet a trip is on my wish list for Spring 2010!
Photo Credit: Derek Goodwin