Interview by Hannah Sprouse
Rachel Altiere-Cohen is the proud owner of Sadie Baby Sweets, a boutique shop in Grandview known for their delicious cake pops and decadent array of sweet treats. Experiencing the challenges of balancing her three passions in life – business, family, and self discovery – is no easy task, but Rachel is determined to build her business and expand her clientele. After all, it’s a pretty sweet gig!
Where are you from and what brought you to Columbus? I grew up in the Youngstown area (Canfield). My mother is originally from Columbus. She and my father met at Ohio State and married after college. I am the youngest of 6 children in my family to graduate from OSU. I am so proud to be from Ohio and living in Columbus. I knew the day I left for NYC (where I lived for 8 years) that I would be back living in Columbus again someday. The day I moved, I remember looking at the city as I drove out of the Lincoln Tunnel and I released a breath of relief that the time had come that I was finally coming home.
Tell us about your current job role & what led you to start your own business: Running your own business and overseeing employees, timelines, marketing, expenses and orders just to name a few is a lot of responsibility. As an owner you wear every hat and you do your best to delegate tasks so that you don’t spread yourself too thin and so you play to the strengths of your employees. We grew so fast from a small production out of my house in Grandview to having these amazing corporate clients and doing full blown wedding sweets tables that I needed to find a catering facility/ shop and preferably close to home. 1171 W Third Ave. is our home and we are grateful to our landlords for taking a chance on us. There were 4 proposals from various businesses to rent the spot and we were selected. YAY!
I started this business by accident after I moved back from NYC. When I moved back I worked as a Realtor in an office with a lot of male attorneys and loan officers. Since I didn’t really have many friends left in Columbus I took to baking at night and brought my creations into the guys at work. They encouraged me to do this for real…I didn’t hesitate and shortly afterward I had my LLC, licensing, and business name, (named after my 85 pound Weimaraner dog – Sadie….we call her Sadie Baby and we also make mini desserts so that’s where the “baby sweets” in Sadie Baby Sweets plays a role too).
What’s new and exciting at Sadie Baby Sweets? 2018 was a groundbreaking year for us. It was our first official year in our commercial space. We were honored to be named the official baker of the Women’s NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament. We did a fun segment on Good Day Columbus, and we won The Knot Best Of Weddings for the third year in a row. Every January our main focus is The Columbus Wedding Show and booking consultations with future couples for their wedding sweets tables. Valentine’s Day is a big holiday for us too, and we will be offering some fun group classes in our bakery and encourage clients to place their orders for their loved ones well in advance. But don’t fear: the shop will be stocked during our regular business days.
What gets you up in the morning? A cooing 7 month old and coffee.
And what gets you through the workweek? Fantastic employees and an amazing clientele. Plus we have a lot of fun creating edible art every day. My husband and my sister are my rocks. They allow me to vent by expressing the highs and lows of running my business which can be extremely stressful and lonely at time but also extremely rewarding and gratifying too.
What advice has helped guide you along the way? Some advice I was given in my late 20’s: Don’t protect a career you don’t have! Take some chances and go for it! If you are going to put your name on something, DO IT WELL, otherwise do something else you enjoy. One of my favorite quotes is, “Success is never owned. It is rented, and the rent is due every day.”
Explain some of your work-life balance challenges. How do you achieve success despite the hustle and bustle? Finding balance: It is an ongoing challenge that I take one day at a time. When I first started, there were many weekends where I would be hustling for 24+ hours straight baking and decorating for orders and farmers markets. Now that I have staff to help me, I try to at least take off most Sundays and be home by 7pm weekdays to spend with my husband and baby girl. My family and husband are very supportive and encouraging. I am blessed that I can take my baby girl to work with me most week days. In the end, your goal is that all the blood, sweat and tears are worth it. You give up so much personally and take valuable time away from your family in order to have a successful business, but I know what is important and I am striving to be better.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind? In a former life I used to unwind by running, but nowadays my guilty pleasure is perusing Instagram or watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or OC while working on proposals.
What might someone be surprised to know about you? I was 1st runner up for Miss Ohio USA three years in a row, I was a Rotary Exchange student in Sweden for a year and have traveled to more than 16 countries, and I have been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for over 12 years. I auditioned for season 2 of the Bachelor and was selected for the show, but when they switched out the bachelor I declined.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up? It was a tossup between a prosecuting attorney and an entertainment reporter for E! Entertainment TV.
What book are you reading right now? The Power of Broke by Daymond John
What would your autobiography be called? Give It A Shot: The Trials and Tribulations of Trying Everything
What are among the top places you’d recommend to someone who is visiting or new to Columbus: The Ohio Statehouse, Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus Museum of Art, Worthington Farmers Market, North Star Café, The Pearl, The Ohio State University, a Buckeyes football game, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, North Market and people watching at an outdoor café at Easton.
Tell us about some community initiatives that you’re most passionate about: I have participated in the Nationwide Children’s Columbus Half Marathon 10 years in a row. I wasn’t able to prepare for it last year due to having my little girl, but I love the community support for the cause and the rewarding feeling of training for the run. Personally and professionally, I have donated or raised money for Pelotonia. I never had a bike growing up on country roads and having a gravel driveway, so although I feel I am very athletic, I do not know how to ride a bike so that I could participate… so that is my contribution. Business wise, Sadie Baby Sweets is very generous with donations, and we have been a sponsor for events such as Bash at the Barn raising money for the Franklin Park Conservatory, A Night of Chocolate benefiting the Cancer Support Community, THREAD of Hope, The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and Ronald McDonald House, just to name a few.
What are three things that you think Columbus needs? A train system, East Coast diners, and car pool lanes.
What’s the most exciting thing going on in Columbus right now? The growing amount of entrepreneurs in the Columbus food scene.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them? We really are “The Heart of it All” – a fun city with great people, supporting local!