I Spy Montreal Parent Interview: Le Petit Buttercup
Hey parents, hands up if you ever find yourself dreaming of starting your own business.
Something with flexible hours. Something fun and creative. Something involving cake. On a stick.
Two Montreal moms, Erika MacPhee and Stephanie Rondeau, have made the leap with Le petit buttercup, their cake pops company.
Let’s meet them and find out where they got the idea to sell cake pops and how they keep the kids from eating them all.
ISM: Hi Erika and Stephanie, please introduce yourselves.
Erika: We are, among other things, the owners of Le petit buttercup, our cake pops company. We met through our husbands and have been friends for over 10 years but only decided to go into business together a year ago. At that time, we were both transitioning from other careers and looking for an opportunity to work in a more creative way, while increasing the time each of us spent with our families.
We explored many different paths before settling on this venture. When we look back to what we thought our business would be vs. our responsibilities at Le petit buttercup, we both agree that it was better to take our time and do lots of research before jumping into something on a whim.
When we are not busy baking and marketing our cake pops, we are both even busier with our children. Stephanie has two girls age 6 and 9, while I have a 6-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter. Stephanie is a born-and-bred Montrealer who now lives in Beaconsfield. I have slowly worked my way west towards the Montreal area by way of Halifax and Ottawa. I now live in the lovely town of Hudson with my family.
ISM: Please tell us more about cake pops. Where did you get the idea to start selling cake on a stick?
Erika: As I mentioned, we had decided we wanted to start a business together before we even had an idea. We researched and pursued the options of owning a retail shop for clothing, a bakery and a dessert catering business before deciding on our cake pop business. While those other options are all exciting and creative, they were all going to bring back the 50 to 60 plus hours work weeks. Seeing as increasing family time was one of our fundamental criteria for starting a business, we discarded them.
Finally, when Stephanie was on vacation with her family in the U.S., she came across cake pops. She had not seen them in Montreal – and trust me, she knows her bakeries and pâtisseries – so we attempted to replicate them when she returned home. At this time, we still thought that we would just offer them as a small part of a larger bakery vision, but when we started feeding them to family and friends during our taste-testing phase, we could not believe the response. Dense, rich cake? Buttery frosting? Chocolate? On a stick? People loved them. We decided to focus our energy on developing a line of flavours and designs and then marketing the cake pops alone.
We have been very pleased with the response. We now offer approximately 8 flavours (the number varies a bit as we bring out seasonal flavours) and sell them in bulk or packaged form for immediate gift-giving. Our customers include corporate clients, who are looking for something special to offer at a meeting or a company event, to people who are organizing private parties and want to include the cake pops on a dessert table or distribute them packaged as a ‘thank you’. They also make an excellent option for wedding and shower favours.
ISM: How do you keep your children from eating all the cake pops? Or are they the official taste-testers?
Erika: Luckily, we are both set up that our baking/storage areas are a little separate from the family areas. That way, the temptation to grab a cake pop after school rather than an apple doesn’t present itself. However, the children have been excellent taste testers. They are not lured by all things sweet, so their feedback has been remarkably informative for the under 10 group.
ISM: Can you share a favourite family weekend activity or destination?
Erika: Seeing as I am in Hudson, I’ll focus on the hidden gems in our neck of the woods. When people think of Hudson, Finnegan’s Market and The Willows inn tend to come to mind. However, we also have some great walking trails with access to beaches that should not be missed. It is a great free way to enjoy the outdoors and get a little exercise. If you are in the market for a combination book/music store, art gallery, audio retailer AND a great cup of coffee, stop by A Temps Perdu. It has a wonderful ambiance and the owner Camille’s smile will make your day a little better.
Great to meet you, Erika and Stephanie!