How did you start your banana bread biz, Allie's Banana Bread?
So…here’s how it goes: I’ve been making this banana bread my whole life. It’s my grandma’s recipe. Growing up, I would bake it for middle school fundraisers and post-soccer game snacks, pot lucks with friends, use it as a thank you gift, etc. And I really never stopped making it! I quickly became known as the banana bread girl in college, as well. It was just…my thing.
Fast forward to post-college life, my friends started asking me to bake them loaves for their office events, holiday parties, etc.. People would try it, become obsessed (of course), and ask where they got it. I started making it for these friends of friends, and eventually made an instagram for the bread to start taking orders. Before I knew it, I was getting more orders than I could handle, so I decided to start taking it a bit more seriously.
I started out by making Allie’s Banana Bread a legal business. I figured out all the licenses I needed, rented a commercial kitchen, and so on. And to my surprise, the orders just kept coming in. I made a website to take NYC based orders, and once a week, I’d go to the commercial kitchen after work and bake as many loaves as I could. I’d put them on sale, they’d sell out in just a few minutes, and the next day I would commute to work with a suitcase full of banana breads. Once 5:00 hit, I got on the subway and hand delivered everyone. I eventually started shipping nationwide, and quickly came to realize I was getting enough orders to make pretty much the same amount of money I was making from my 9-5.
Come September 2020, I decided to quit my full time job and start doing this full time, and now here I am!
What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?
I love how everyone really lifts each other up and is genuinely interested in your work. Every time I speak to someone else in the creative, small business community, they’re always trying to figure out ways to collaborate to make both of our ideas better, or put me in touch with another creator that can help me improve. Everyone is also very transparent about how difficult it can be sometimes, which is really nice when social media makes it seem like it all comes very easy to everyone. The truth is, it’s not, and this community is very willing to talk about it and share their experiences.
What's inspiring you right now?
Everyone in the food industry. I know that’s a broad group of people, but coming into this space without really having any knowledge of what it was like, I had no idea how hard it was going to be. The amount of pressure put on chefs, line-cooks, or anyone owning a business in the industry is insane. I really look up to these people, especially the ones I see going through it first-hand, like my friends from Edy’s Grocer and Cafe Panna. They all work so hard and I’m inspired every day to follow in their footsteps.