Learn how a former stay-at-home mom grew a home-based baking business into a sweet, $2.5 million success.
DECEMBER 23, 2014. Amy Bouchard, founder of Gardiner, Maine-based Isamax Snacks, remembers her first big break. It was December 2003, and she had just opened a small storefront to sell her popular Wicked Whoopies. “Two weeks later, I got a call from O Magazine and I thought it was a joke," she says. "I thought they wanted to sell me a subscription.”
In fact, Oprah Winfrey’s “people” were considering featuring Wicked Whoopies in the magazine and on the star's hugely popular TV show. Could she send them some for a trial?
“I had never, ever shipped product before, and had no experience shipping anything, but I’m not going to say no,” Bouchard recalls. She packaged a set of Wicked Whoopies “better than fine china” and sent them off. The whoopies not only made the show, but were also featured on Oprah.com as a great gift for the holidays.
“People from all over the country ordered the whoopies,” says Bouchard. “We were getting orders all the way from Africa.”
What's a Whoopie Pie?
If you’ve never heard of whoopie pies, you’re probably not from New England, where they’re bigger than cronuts. Whoopies are traditionally two round chocolate cakes sandwiched over white frosting. Bouchard claims to be the first to introduce gourmet whoopies in different flavors, such as chocolate chip, banana and red velvet.
With the whoopies' moist cake and fluffy filling, “like an inside-out cupcake,” friends and family were wild for Bouchard's treats, she says.
In 1994, Bouchard was a stay-at-home mom looking to make extra income. Her brother told her she should try and sell her whoopie pies. Bouchard remembers thinking that was a crazy idea: Nobody was selling whoopie pies, and she had no business experience. But she loved to bake, and she figured she had nothing to lose.