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Living Life with Erin McKenna

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Every success story starts with a dream, and Erin McKenna has made hers into a reality. 

A couple of weeks ago, we spoke to Erin about her journey from fashion industry to the owner of the award-winning Bakery - Erin Mckenna’s Bakery. We distilled 5 secrets to her success below.

1. Live Your Passions

Erin has endured a lot to where she is today. She worked as a fashion magazine assistant after graduating from school. After working for one year, she quickly knew it was not what she desired to do. So she quit her job and switched gears to focus on what she really liked - DESSERTS.

“I have a sweet tooth, but I suffered from food allergies. At that time, there wasn't a single bakery that had gluten-free desserts, so I decided to start one.”

Later, she worked as a waitress at night to gain experience in food service and pay for baking materials she needed for practice. She clearly knew what she wanted and always made something out of it.

2. Meditate to Uncover Your Life Purpose

When Erin quit her fashion job, she was 27. She turned to meditation to transfer her unhappiness to connect with her life purpose. Meditation may seem like a simple breathing technique, but Erin attributes her success to it. 

During meditation, I started to look for something to make a change. Then I had a vision – I wanted to have my own business.

At that time, she created a business plan, and made her own recipes from scratch, which have laid the foundation of her business today.

3. Have A Support System

Managing a business is tough, especially when you are doing it alone. At beginning, Erin did not trust anyone and preferred to decide everything herself. 

“Learning to let go and not control everything was challenging for me, but I luckily found the right partner, Sabrina (a baker with BabyCakes since the beginning), who helps me operate the business.”

As for the personal life, like everyone else, work-life balance is also not an easy job for Erin. She said, “it’s challenging, but not that hard. I try as much as possible to connect with customers in the shop and spend my weekend with my family.”  image

4. Trust Yourself

Everyone has an opinion, and its tough to tune out the noise. 

“When I first started out, they tried to tell me what I should do. I just turn my ears down because whenever you take too much advice, it kind of clouds your vision.

In order to help young people trust themselves and not lose their path, Erin plans to speak to college students to help them with what they are doing in their lives. 

“I want to help young people to fulfill their goals in life.”

5. Listen To Your Customers

In such a customer driven industry, every opinion matters. As Erin Mckenna’s Bakery are located in NYC, LA, and Orlando, Erin aims to make sure that every one is taken care of.

“Whenever [customers] come to my bakery, they don’t need to worry about anything. They can trust us! Every branch [of Erin McKenna’s Bakery] is shaped by customer demand. People make it different.” image

We really feel that Erin Mckenna’s Bakery succeeds at making customers feel welcome and at providing delicious, gluten-free desserts. After talking to Erin, we now understand why!

Red Velvet NYC

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There’s something magical about creating your own dessert from start to finish. It’s crazy how heating up a mixture of eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and butter can create a cake. Baking is so satisfying. The process may take a while, but in the end, its worth it. Each bite takes you on a journey to explore every ingredient you've added. To those who enjoy baking or want to learn, Red Velvet NYC is where it’s at. We’re super excited to be partnered with this confectionary company soon!!! Red Velvet NYC is a rare gem offers DIY bakery boxes that contains directions and most of the ingredients needed to make a dessert (besides delicate perishables like eggs). 

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Red Velvet NYC were kind enough to let us try one of their boxes containing the contents to make a FLOURLESS chocolate cake… Gluten-free peeps unite! They even laced it with a beautiful red bow and a thank you note.

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First time bakers, have no fear - Red Velvet is here. Making flourless chocolate cake is not as hard as it looks. The ingredients (save the eggs) are all in the box, and it only takes 20 minutes to prep! 

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Believe me. You’ll start wanting to bake cakes every other week if you knew how easy it was. 

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Now it’s time to mix and melt! Following Red Velvet’s directions is straightforward and easy. Just look how amazed our intern is.

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Once it’s all mixed and melted and baked, voila! A flourless chocolate cake with a nice strawberry.  

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Thank you SO much to Red Velvet NYC for letting us try out one of your bakery boxes. In less an hour, we got to make a flourless chocolate cake from start to finish and eat it.  Who knew baking could be so fun and simple? 

Magnolia Celebrates Their 20th Birthday!!

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Magnolia Bakery will be celebrating their 20-year anniversary on Thursday, July 14, and we could not be more excited! From being a cozy corner store on Bleecker Street to being featured on popular shows like Sex and the City, to international expansion in countries like Dubai and Japan, Magnolia Bakery has gone far and beyond in the last two decades. So how is Magnolia celebrating the big 2-O? We got to sit down with the manager of the flagship store for exclusive details.

Byron has been working for Magnolia Bakery for 12 years, and his character is a testament to what the bakery stands for. He is a people person with a welcoming personality, regards his customers as clients, and greets everyone with a smile! 

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How do you feel about Magnolia becoming 20?

Byron: It’s amazing to see it grow! It really feels as if it were an actual 20-year-old person. We’ve been growing through the teenage years, slowly growing up, and figuring out how to be an adult company in a way. When I started working here 12 years ago, I never would have imagined having shops throughout the world. 

What are you doing for Magnolia’s 20th birthday?

Byron: So on July 14, we’ll be selling our classic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for $1.25 (max. 12) at our Bleecker Street location only. We’ll also be giving out our “Bake from Scratch” scratch cards at every location, where people can win cupcakes, cakes, and birthday party passes. We’ll also have limited edition T-shirts and pens, birthday bags containing a kit to build your own cupcake, and last but not least, we’ll be introducing the confetti cupcakes, confetti cookies, and confetti ice cream sandwich! They look as great as they taste.

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When’s the best time to visit the shop?

Byron: The morning is the best time to come, because it’s not too crazy and its not as busy as the rest of the day. 

So what do you love most about Magnolia?

Byron: Our best moments are definitely when someone walks in after a long day. There will be people who are crying, or even doctors who lost their patients. They’ll come in, get a cupcake, and smile. So what I love the most are the smiles. Oh, that and people propose here all the time!

What was your most memorable experience?

Byron: Filming the SNL video. It wasn’t planned or anything, and they were filming I was like, “Oh my gosh Andy Samberg is walking on the sidewalk.” That was crazy because a couple weeks later everyone was saying, “So... Do you mack on cupcakes?”

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Where do you see Magnolia in the next 20 years? 

Byron: Magnolia will continue on expanding. We already have several in the States, one in Tokyo, and not to mention Hawaii has a tiny café where you can just sit and get cupcakes. I just feel like sky’s the limit! So much is happening in your 20s, and the minute you say you know where you’re going, you change in the opposite direction. With that said, we still want to stay true to our brand, which is giving our customers the same nostalgic feeling of eating our delicious goods. In 20 years we’ll be all over the world. 

How has Magnolia maintained such a great reputation over 20 years?

Byron: Hard work and training from our staff. Everyone that comes through we make sure that they’re taught to learn the recipe. We’re constantly tasting and re-tasting. I tell people I walk in circles during my shift because I’m always checking. I like to make sure everything stays true to our core. 

Last but not least - what flavors would you recommend?

Byron: You have to try the chocolate chocolate - it is the richest, moistest cupcake I’ve ever had in my life. And also butter cream. If you make it from our cookbook recipe, put it in vanilla ice cream and mix it with some chocolate, its SO good. And also the hummingbird cupcake. People won’t leave the store without it! And when we’ve run out, they say they’ll just come back another time.  

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Thanks to Byron and the Magnolia Bakery’s staff, we got to try out some of the cupcakes. We personally vouch for the hummingbird cupcake: it is sweet, savory, and has the perfect frosting-to-cake ratio. Magnolia is celebrating their 20th anniversary and we are absolutely ecstatic. Here’s to another 20 years!