What It's About
The pie is cast: get ready for a ful-filling helping of sugar, butter, and flour.
Words of Wisdom
Catherine's story is a good example that even if a side hustle might sound "as easy as pie," there are still a lot of challenges — even if you're a national pie judge.
According to the American Pie Council, Americans buy more than 186 million pies at the grocery store each year. That is enough to stretch around the globe and beyond. 7% of American have also tried to pass off store bought pie as homemade.
Notes from Chris
Episode 691Catherine earns her living as a journalist, but spends a lot of her off-the-clock hours finding excuses to bake. As if anyone needs an excuse! A longtime baker, for many years Catherine was intimidated by pies. There was just so much that could go wrong—even though beauty is in the Pie of the beholder, you could still do something as simple as overworking the dough and end up with an absolute disaster. It wasn’t until her 11-year-old daughter challenged her. Her daughter had been turning out delicious pies at her dad’s house, and Catherine decided she needed to raise her game. She began CurvyMama’s Pies just as a blog, chronicling an apprenticeship she did at Bubby’s, a master pie bakers in New York City. There was just one problem. You could read nice words and stories about pies, and Catherine wrote a lot of them … but research shows that pies are best appreciated as a more sensory experience. When she got back to the newsroom where she worked as a journalist, her colleagues asked, how can I get some of this goodness? So she started offering pies for sale, especially around Thanksgiving. She settled on a price of $24 per pie, and put up a list for her friends and family to order from on her blog. And that was when she learned a big lesson. Instead of giving people an option of four different flavors like any sane person would do, she let people order whatever they wanted. When you’re going to bake at scale, you can’t let everyone order whatever they want. If you have to turn out 15 pies, you should offer a limited selection so that you can bake in larger batches. For the next several years, Catherine continued her pie hustle, peaking at an annual record of 122 pies in 2014. Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving was the busiest season, comprising up to 50% of her yearly orders. Catherine also began teaching pie workshops, where aspiring bakers would learn from her hard-earned skills. She traveled the country, meeting pie makers near and far. And yes, she even became a judge at the Iowa state fair. Catherine has recently relocated to the Los Angeles area. She’s now taking a break while she looks for a space to teach more workshops. It’s been a sweet and filling adventure … no matter which way you slice it.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Curvy Mama Pies: Learn more and order your own pie at Catherine's website!
- Delicious Cookies Arrive at My Door in Portland, Oregon: A late night craving evolves into a cookie delivery service spreading chocolate chip goodness throughout the land.
- Full-Time Mom Ships $35,000/Month in Frozen Bread on Amazon: The busy mother of a child on a specialized diet decides to take action and ‘liberate’ parents like her with her allergen-free food side hustle.
- A Woman on Food Stamps Earns $86,000 Teaching People to Bake Bread: In the face of adversity, a woman creates a series of online courses teaching the art of baking sourdough bread. Stop loafing around! If she can do it, you can too.
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