What Is This Trend?

As 2019 draws to a close I want to start a new trend in 2020- empowering women who are active members in the food industry: owners of their own businesses, CEOs, women who are their own bosses. I thought of this after doing some research on gender gaps in different fields. In the food industry, women represent 53% of the workers in entry-level positions. 37% of manager positions are held by women, 24% of senior managers and directors, and only 18% of C-Suite employees. Thus, I begin this series by featuring a local Ann Arbor business: Milk + Honey.

What Is Milk + Honey?

Kristen Yee

I first learned of Milk + Honey when its founder and CEO, Rachel Martindale, came to speak at a chapter meeting. After tasting her cheddar scallion cone and apple spice cake, I fell in love with her unique flavor pairings and decadent baked goods. Rachel takes orders and freelances in wedding cakes and other event-specific baked goods, but runs a local pop-up on Saturdays from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. in downtown Ann Arbor. Located at 100 S 4th Avenue, Suite 110 inside Bløm Meadworks, she sells her highly demanded goods to the general public. One of Ann Arbor's best spots, it boasts a rotating menu each week that will be sure to satisfy any sweet or savory cravings. What also sparked my interest was the way she introduces diverse flavors to her work. As an Asian-American, Rachel utilizes Asian flavors like matcha, black sesame, and many more.

Why The Focus on Milk + Honey?

Kristen Yee

I chose Milk + Honey as my first business for this series because I was so inspired by Rachel's story. A University of Michigan alum with a degree in Engineering, specifically material science, she had a unique background and story that brought her to where she is today. While engineering was her primary field of study, she always had a passion for baking and often made various pastries and desserts as a way to deal with stress. While she had realized by her junior year that engineering was not for her, she continued with her schoolwork despite her negative work experience. After graduating, she received a job at an animating company where she faced many struggles working as an Asian female in a field dominated by white males. Rachel did note that women experience all industries differently than their male counterparts and she explained that her experience was extremely tough. She continued baking and freelancing on the side while continuing to push through her work during the day. Eventually, Rachel took the leap and quit her job to pursue what she loves full time. While Rachel also has a part-time job in addition to Milk + Honey, she says she is much happier now that she is doing what she loves. Although it took a lot of courage for her to leave the job she spent many years of school working towards, she is now a full-time business owner and in total control of her company and products. One of Milk + Honey's most exceptional qualities is that a portion of all of their profits are donated to Ozone House - an organization in Washtenaw County focused on combatting youth homelessness. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

I was so inspired by Rachel's story that I decided to start a series for my articles. I want to focus on other female-owned businesses in the community and do a "spotlight" on their story and business. I hope to empower others and spread word of different local businesses as I go. Make sure to visit Milk + Honey on Saturdays from 9-3 at 100 S 4th Avenue, Suite 110 inside Bløm Meadworks, and check out their Instagram @milkandhoneymi for more information on menus, private orders, and more!