“As a cliche as it is, there is always a silver lining to every situation. When life gives you lemons, you gotta bake some brownies out of them!”
Kelly and her mother have surely lived the phrase, and they have turned a negative situation into a positive one. Like many other stories that VOICE has heard, The Brownie Bakers was born in 2020 out of a necessity during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March of the following year, they have launched “The Brownie Mobile”, a small food truck where they share their gourmet and sustainably made brownies.
VOICE(V): “How did your brownie business come about?”
Kelly(K): “I was born and raised in Vancouver, but I went out to university in Toronto. I was working in a marketing department in my previous company, and when they asked me to move office from Toronto to Vancouver, I jumped to the opportunity to come back. That was just before everything kind of blew up last March. Shortly after relocating (only five days!), I was terminated.
I found myself suddenly unemployed and looking for a job through March to May. I was applying to everything and anything that I could find, yet nothing ever went though because it was a hiring freeze at the time.
One day, I was just scrolling IG and there was a big burst of home-based bakers, and I asked myself, “Should I do something with brownies?”. So I created a brownie IG account for fun. It started out as friends and family ordering but slowly I started getting new customers, and I started doing home deliveries and pickups. The brownie business back then was a necessity to pay the bills while I was still looking for a job, but soon I found myself building a website and getting into farmers markets and wholesaling to local grocery stores. I just feel really lucky and grateful that it turned out how it did. Not many people can have a successful story when things are starting like this.”
V: “Why brownies?”
K: “Because my mom used to own a baking shop in Vancouver when I was a kid, and I remembered that her brownies were really damn good! Also, there are many cookie businesses out there but there is nothing famous for brownies in Vancouver and in BC. So I noticed that there is a gap in the market.
My mom is a baker of the company, and she manages most of the baking. I handle everything else that is on the business side of things.”
V: “And why did you decide to go with The Brownie Mobile?”
K: “Coincidentally, the kitchen that we are in is mostly occupied by food truck companies. Seeing how the food truck business can be and how it can grow, it kind of inspired me. Also, I know the challenges of having a brick and motor with my mom previously owning a bakery. I like the idea of roaming around and finding customers, and going where customers are, instead of having them come to me. I like running around everywhere. There’s also no coffee and brownie food truck in Vancouver!
Ever since the launch of food truck, there has been an exponential growth for the business. It is not only people finding us online or at the farmers markets, but people who are just walking down the streets, walking the dogs, or in the parks, they find us and become our regular customers.”
V: “Was it challenging to launch a food truck business?”
K: “Launching the food truck was obviously a challenging and exciting phase of the business. I couldn’t have done it without the support from fellow small business owners, especially Yaro, the owner of Invito Coffee. We started our business around the same time and we just kind of connected on IG through the same cause of being sustainable and growing through IG. He single handedly did all of the renovating in the trailer for me including plumbing, the electrical, building shelves etc. I am very grateful of having him as my mentor. I honestly could not have done it without him.”
V: “What makes your brownies special?”
K: “Aside from tasting great haha, we always try to bring local and sustainable aspects to it. No matter how busy our company gets, our goal is to always do our part in supporting local even after this pandemic. We try to source our ingredients as locally as possible within BC. Eggs are from Maple Hill Farms in Abbotsford, the flour is from Anita’s Organic Mill, ice cream from Nora’s, and coffee beans from Invito to name a few.
All our brownies are made in small batch. My mom hand-cuts and hand mixes everything. It is always going to be that way. My mom’s recipe is always changing because she is a perfectionist, and she is always trying to improve things and come up with new and different flavours. Our vegan and gluten free options have been really popular as well.”
The Brownie Mobile keeps it nice and simple. We only offer brownies and serve locally roasted Invito coffee and locally brewed kombucha to go. Better yet, there is a very popular seasonal offering at this time of the year – brownie ice cream sandwiches! It is definitely a go to summer treat and we offer a vegan and gluten free option as well using local plant-based ice cream from Nora’s.
V: “What does the future hold for The Brownie Mobile?”
K: “We have recently started catering for movie and TV sets. We are also gearing up for the wedding season. In the future, we like to expand into an actual food truck instead of a trailer so that we will be able to have more people on the truck and offer more items.”
V: “Any message to people thinking of a start up business?”
K: “Trust your gut feeling. Take a leap of faith and just do it! You never know what’s going to happen if you never try. I for one never thought I would own a brownie food truck!”
Under the fine weather, The Brownie Mobile often pops up in Heather Park, Kitsilano or Mount Pleasant area. Every weekend, they are at one of the local farmers markets. Stay up to date with their schedule online, and when you are out and about in your hood, just look out for a cute pink truck. It is going to be your lucky day!
Kelly’s Favourite Brownie: Salted Pecan Caramel. It is also their best seller!
You can bring a brownie home, put in a microwave for a couple of seconds and make your own sundae with a scoop of your favorite ice cream on top.
VOICE Community: Invito Coffee