What It's About
A sweet and creamy treat becomes a stay at home mom's Maine hustle.
Words of Wisdom
Marcia was always trying to improve on the traditional recipe and create new flavors. As a consequence, her Whoopie Pies were a huge hit. She was constantly receiving requests to bake more. Many of her friends wanted to buy some as gifts for THEIR friends.
Cape Whoopies are baking up a serious amount of pies! Current operations include making 3, 80 quart batches of filling and as many as 4, 80 quart batches of cake batter and baking, filling, bagging and tagging all of it. They get every product into the freezer within an hour of baking so it’s ready for shipping.
Notes from Chris
For many years, Marcia Wiggins was a stay at home mom with two young kids and a pilot for a husband. In the little spare time she had, she taught aerobics at the local gym. But in 2012, things changed for Marcia. Both her kids had grown up and moved away to college, her husband was often away and there’s only so many gym classes someone can go to. She had a lot more time on her hands. This new found free time stirred something in Marcia, and she was inspired to pick up an old hobby. She began baking delicious treats for friends. More specifically, she started baking Maine Whoopie Pies: a delicious single serve treat of a dollop of cream pressed between two small cakes. It was the latter point that got Marcia’s mind baking. The Whoopies were already a great hobby, but perhaps should could transition them into a new side hustle. Just like that, fresh out of the oven came her new venture, Cape Whoopies. Her mission was to share the most delicious Maine Whoopie Pies made with the highest quality ingredients with people all over the country. From day one, Marcia knew that shipping posed a problem. How would she keep the pies looking great and tasting fresh during postage? They would also need to tolerate both hot and cold conditions in transit. To try and solve this problem, Marcia contacted a packaging expert. Together, they devised a test to ship sample pies across the country to see if they remained intact. The expert recommended the type of packaging required to ship the pies safely. Next, she needed an online presence so that people could order. She decided to create an online store using Shopify. Once up and running, she took high quality pictures of her Whoopies, and added several plugins to entice website visitors to buy... and then to gently upsell them. By mid 2016, Marcia had been at work for a few years and was generating a few thousand dollars a month in revenue. That year, she was contacted directly by Amazon to list her pies on their site. She jumped at the chance, and once again, demand increased. As luck would have it, a solution was about to present itself. She met a coffee roaster while working out of the shared space. They were both growing fast and, as a consequence, were looking to move to a larger space. Together, they decided to rent a storefront, roasting coffee in the front, and baking delicious whoopie Pies in the back. At more than 5,000 square feet, the space symbolized how much Cape Whoopies planned to grow. It was the beginning of a match made in heaven, and the next phase of Cape Whoopies could start baking. And like baking a cake, profits began to rise. The launch of the brick and mortar location caused quite a stir. The grand opening occurred in May 2018, but for months beforehand Marcia was warming up her existing customers to excite them for the launch. She built up hype on social media and in the local press. This new exposure led to huge sales, which, believe it or not, haven’t slowed down since. The brick and mortar store, which was never expected to be the main source of income, now makes up nearly 50% of total sales. The remainder of the sales are generated through the Cape Whoopies website as well as Amazon.com and Goldbely.com, an Etsy-like marketplace for designer foods. The business continues to flourish. Margins are strong in the neighborhood of 50-60%, and Marcia is currently bringing in $25,000/month! All those pies can’t be baked by Marcia alone so she now has employees. Marcia has gone from scooping and baking all the cakes herself, to having her husband help out, to now having a team of five working together to bring Cape Whoopies Pies to the world.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Cape Whoopies: Order your own tasty whoopie pie from Marcia's site.
- Corn Syrup Allergy Leads to Booming Baked Goods Biz: After a doctor diagnoses her husband with a corn syrup allergy, a healthcare analyst mixes up a line of healthy, sweet baked goods that turns into a stable second income.
- "Nana's Apple Pie" Earns Praise and Profit in New York City: A Thanksgiving baking tradition turns into a $10,000 seasonal side hustle.
- Danish Pastry Partnership Bakes Up Series of Events: Two midwestern food market vendors collaborate on pastries, trade shows, a membership community, and more.
Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work! Yours in the revolution,
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