On any given weekday, Ann Lewis Marzette can be found in the classroom, teaching and training students in the Kearney Middle School choir.
But when the clock strikes 3 p.m., she trades sheet music and scales for mixing bowls and measuring cups, embracing a side hustle that has her singing dough-re-mi — while customers serenade her with their praises.
“No one is going to do this,” she recalled thinking four years ago when friends — including her now husband — urged her to turn her passion for holiday baking into extra income by selling pies on Facebook ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“I sold like 40 pies — and I was so unprepared,” Lewis Marzette laughed, sharing the story that spawned her now-thriving business: Easy as Pie.
The cottage bakeshop offers a menu of pies with flavors like peanut butter cream, boozy pecan, and apple; seasonal favorites such as a snack food pie for Kansas City Chiefs gameday, gooseberry, strawberry, pumpkin, and peach pies; and an array of hand pies, mini pies, pop tarts, scones, savory pies and quiche.
The goods have made Easy a Pie one of Kansas City’s most-sought-after vendors at pop-up shops and for weddings and events.
“I did the Strawberry Swing a couple of times — that was huge. I often would sell out within the first hour of the event — even having made as much inventory as possible,” she said, noting she found herself rushing home to bake more pies before the events were over.
“One of my other early partners for popups was The Wild Way Coffee. … It’s been really fun to partner with these local businesses and people that are going through the same experiences.”
Booked and baking, a forthcoming event set for Feb. 5 is expected to see Lewis Marzette and other area vendors come together to help a peer of pop-ups, Devoured, raise funds to outfit a newly purchased food truck.
Click here to read more about Devoured’s journey so far.
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The event is representative of the sense of community Lewis Marzette has found among the Kansas City baker’s scene, she added, calling out support from fellow bakers at The C Word Cakery, Sweet Tea Pie Company, and Little Butter Bakery among others.
With Easy as Pie growing by the day, such support has given Lewis Marzette much to consider about her future in the classroom, she added.
“I’m figuring out, truly, where I want this to go and how that’s going to look. … Is it time to step back from education and focus on pies? Or am I going to keep juggling both?” Lewis Marzette said, noting her job allows her a recipe for flexibility in the two fields — and her pies have made her pretty popular in the teacher’s lounge.
“I have to be at work at 7:15 a.m. — but I’m also home by 3 p.m. I essentially have most of the day to bake and work on anything that I have to do, even though, sometimes, days are really long when I go straight from school into baking for another full workday. But it doesn’t seem as long because I’m doing everything that I want to do,” she said, highlighting the joy she finds in both professions and the honor she finds in baking something that holds meaning for the person slicing and serving it.
“I’ve always been like the mom of every friend group,” Lewis Marzette laughed, adding she just wants her customers to feel cared for — whether that’s at a birthday party or on a day when they’re feeling down.
“I love doing it and it just brings me so much joy to be able to put my name behind something that I’ve built from scratch.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.