Sweet ideas: Female foodie entrepreneurs
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There’s nothing like maple almond pecans, spicy bacon caramel corn, apricot thyme scones, black caraway shortbread and pistachio-cardamom cupcakes to whet your appetite—and your creativity.
These are just a few of the wacky and out of this world sweet treats made by Ovenly, another Brooklyn-based artisanal food business started by two visionary and food-loving women looking for a career switch.
Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin first met at a (food-focused) book club, and it didn’t take the two long to start brainstorming business ideas. They had similar hopes and dreams, as well as a chemistry they knew would make them good business partners, and ultimately they just went for it. “We just decided to do it without a lot of talking about it. And we’re really driven—we decide on something and we do it,” says Agatha.
“We’ve had very stressful moments but our partnership is really solid. It’s a different relationship than we have with anyone else,” says Erin.
Starting Ovenly marked a drastic and needed career change for both women, they say. Erin had been working at a non-profit organization and Agatha was working in psychiatry research. “I had reached a plateau,” Agatha says. “I found baking to be a lot more relaxing and creative.”
Erin agreed: “I felt really dissatisfied,” she says. “Food was a creative outlet for me.”
It’s not just the baking and recipe creating that makes their new work fun, it’s also the entrepreneurial spirit, the two say.

“We want to be a national business,” says Agatha. “It’s exciting to think about how to grow our business in a new way.”
“For better or worse it’s a little bit of a drug,” Erin agrees. “The excitement of the business is growing it—finding the new thing around the bend.”

Photo credit Winona Barton-Ballentine

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