An Interview with the ladies of the Sweet Note Bakery
This interview was with Michelle, Brittany, Alison, a.k.a. The Crazy Bagel Ladies…
How and when did Sweet Note Bakery come about?
What was the deciding factor that prompted you to pursue your unique vision? Sweet Note was founded in June 2012 when Michelle (finally) decided to take the entrepreneurial leap after finding out her grandfather and sister were diagnosed with Celiac Disease. After learning more about the allergen-free community, and its subsequent “good food” restrictions, Michelle knew she could make a difference. With a passion for baking, she created a winning recipe: the first gluten-free and top 8 allergen-free bagel (no dairy, soy, egg, peanut, or tree nut).
So give us an update on what Sweet Note Bakery has been up to.
Sweet Note has just moved to a new facility in Bensalem, PA. It’s 10 times bigger than the original space in Manayunk, PA. Due to the endless, growing demand in the gluten-free and allergen-free community and due to the rise in food allergy awareness, Sweet Note is expanding rapidly. The bagels are sold in over 17 states throughout many retailers and restaurant partners. Also available online!
Michelle, you went to school for Music Management. How do you apply those teachings and ideologies to the building of your brand?
My music management background taught be a lot about branding building and innovating. I became more aware of my creative and artistic side, which I channeled through to my passion for developing our bagel recipe. The management side of my degree provided great insight on the business world and an good overview on all facets.
Michelle, what brought Brittany and Alison into the business with you?
Is this a friendship based venture? Brittany was the first official employee of Sweet Note to come on board. I had met her through a mutual friend who she went to high school with. She has just finished her first semester of college at the time, and was looking for some part-time baking work as she started her 2nd year and continued to build her personal blog (frecklednettles.com) Our energy and passion created a synergy that was undeniable; we knew we needed to build Sweet Note together.
I have known Alison since she was little; I was best friends with her older sister growing up. When Alison heard what I was doing with Sweet Note, she reached out right away to learn more, and we began immediately discussing how she could fit in to the crazy bagel lady team (a name we gave ourselves as we are crazy passionate about our bagels). It was the perfect way to round out an amazing trio of 3 young women with tons of passion, persistence, and confidence. We know we can and will make a difference in the manufacturing industry.
The three of us bond over our need to revolutionize the gluten-free and allergen industry; we want to create products that are made with REAL ingredients (you know… ones you can pronounce, sans preservatives, fillers, or GMOs) and uphold high standards for our commitment to being gluten-free and allergen free.
You’re based in Philadelphia, what brought your business there?
We are all “Philly girls” at heart. We love our city and what it stands for. It is just fitting to build a business in this history-rich city.
What are some of your favorite bands?
I have always loved classical music. Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, and AC/DC have a special place in my heart. My Dad wouldn’t let me have it any other way growing up. I, however, have an extensive list of favorite bands, which range from from Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra.
Favorite / Funniest musical memory?
Since we grew up together, Alison will remember this one well. For one of her birthdays, her sister was allowed to bring a friend to a concert, so naturally I was chosen (again, we were attached at the hip). The concert was the Spice Girls! We got dressed up and danced our little hearts out. It was a blast, and is hilarious to look back on since not too many people will proudly admit they were Spice Girl fans as a teenager.
What are your favorite bagels?
My favorite is everything. I love the crunch and flavor of the onion, garlic, poppy, and sesame with that little hint of salt. Throw some veggie spread on there and I am good to go! I am also a huge fan of our seasonal pumpkin spice bagel. I LOVE all things pumpkin!
Now over the past year, your company has expanded into many distribution centers and supermarkets (their amazingly delicious bagels are available in the frozen department at Nature’s Pantry in New Windsor, NY – embed hyperlink), where do you see Sweet Note Bakery in the next 5 years?
With our expansion into the new facility, we are truly ready to dominate the gluten-free bagel industry. We are working diligently on new product lines and new manufacturing opportunities that we are beyond excited to finally entertain. In the next 5 years, we plan to expand nationally and internationally, bring more gluten-free and top 8 allergen-free products to the market, and expand our social reach through initiatives. In doing so, we hope to give back to the amazing communities that have helped build us.