Meet Miranda Bucciero, the 20-year-old who baked up her home-based business from scratch.
We got to talk to her about what it’s like to turn a passion into a skill, how to build a business from the ground up, as well as her experiences of doing that as a full-time student.
What is Flour Power NY and why is it awesome?
Miranda Bucciero: Flour Power is my small, home-based baking business that I run via Twitter and Facebook. It started in high school, but back then I was calling it Baked by Miranda. During sophomore and junior year I would bake one flavor of cupcakes every week and sell them to my class. When I left for college I began working for local bakeries in Westchester, New York. It was much easier working for someone else while being a student; it was a predictable schedule and income flow in a stable environment.
That all ended when the bakery I was working at decided to close its doors. That’s when I really started putting all my effort into Flour Power. Initially it was small orders for family and friends, gradually building the brand to what it is now: a small, home based, made-to-order baking business. I’m still growing and learning with every day and every order that’s placed.
How do you juggle being a student with running your own online bakery service?
MB: The short answer would be, “I make a lot of lists.” But in reality it’s more complicated than that. The first thing I do is make sure I schedule enough time to complete all my coursework, projects, homework, and studying. Then comes everything else. I come home to New York from Rhode Island almost every other weekend to work on orders. Right now I’m doing Cookie of the Month Club, holiday orders, and a “No Rush” order list for those who don’t have a specific date they need their treats by. I have two planners, and post-its on almost everything I own with reminders, deadlines, goals, and shopping lists. It gets overwhelming sometimes, but I try to make sure I don’t do any work after 9:00 pm (most of the time).
I taught myself say no. I learned quickly that when I push myself past my breaking point not only do my mental health and physical health suffer, but also the product I produce suffers.
What is your favorite thing about the work you do and the impact it has on people?
MB: I love knowing that people get excited when they receive their orders. I get texts, tweets, and Snapchats when they open their boxes. Knowing that people who signed up for Cookie of the Month Club are eager to try new flavors from me makes me extremely happy. People come to me so I can help them show someone how much they care. People celebrate milestones in their lives with my baked goods, from anniversaries to weddings, baby showers, engagements and even being cancer free. I see my customers sharing their goodies with their friends and experiencing old favorites or trying things for the first time with each other, and it feels amazing knowing that my food is part of that interaction.
What are your hopes for your future and the future of Flour Power NY?
MB: My biggest long-term goal for Flour Power is opening a storefront here in Westchester County. My short-term goals include doing more monthly subscriptions and expanding the items I can offer via shipping. As for my personal goals, I’m putting most of my energy into graduating college.
Can you describe one of your proudest moments since starting this project?
MB: Starting the Cookie of the Month! Last summer I signed the lease to my first apartment with two of my friends. I was able to purchase my furniture and decorate with money I earned from the first round of Cookie of the Month. Being twenty and capable of doing things financially on your own feels amazing.
Is there something specific that sparked your interest in baking?
MB: One of the main people who has encouraged me to do what I love is my Mima. As long as I can remember she’s been the one who has brought our whole family together; whether people are from out of town or aren’t speaking to each other, Mima is the one person who can convince everyone to put aside their differences and spend time with each other.
She’s constantly reminding me of how proud she is of me for pursuing something that I really enjoy doing, and I probably would have never started cooking if I didn’t grow up having Sunday dinner at her house. She always had us help her cook or bake when she babysat my cousins and I; she’s what made cooking fun for me as a child; and she is the person who has encouraged me to keep going.
What do you consider to be one of the most important aspects of your work?
MB: One of the most important things for me is the fact that I’m in a position where I’m constantly growing and changing and learning new things. Everyone I talk to and interact with teaches me more about myself and who I want to be and what kind of business owner I want to be.
What has been one of your biggest career challenges, and how did you overcome it?
MB: Space has been the biggest challenge lately. I’m fortunate enough to have parents who support me and are constantly helping me reach new levels of excellence with my work. We have one oven in our house and when you’re baking hundreds of cookies you run out of space fast. I’ve taken over a portion of our basement with my own fridge, a shelf of ingredients and dry storage, and a half size speed rack I was gifted for Christmas! But at the end of the day, it’s my parent’s house, and when my parents and my brother and I are home, there’s not really much space for Flour Power.
Do you have any advice for young girls who want to get involved or make something of their own?
MB: Surround yourself with people who build you up. There’s a difference between a concerned friend giving you advice or constructive criticism and someone looking to tear down your personal and professional successes. Over the last year I’ve truly learned the importance of having a group of strong, powerful, confident women as close friends to uplift and support you, and cheer you on, but also give you advice and make sure you’re in touch with reality. I genuinely hope all women find a coven of their own in their lifetime.