I'm the first to admit that I suck at baking anything vegan. I've been plant-based for almost four years now, but I still haven't mastered something as simple as a vegan cookie that both rises and doesn't stick to the baking sheet. So what do I do when I come to the realization that vegan baking won't ever really be my "thing?" If your answer is try, try again or get a cookbook, you'd be incorrect. I turn to the vegan bakery professionals to do it for me. 

That's when I came across Yellow Rose Vegan Bakery. It's run by two passionate vegans, Caitlyn and Stephen, who both want to bring the yummy world of vegan baking to more people. They ship small-batch cookies, pastries, and bars to the New England area and offer custom cakes for pickup at their NYC metro kitchen. You can also sign up for a monthly subscription box with seasonal-inspired treats like s'mores bars, blueberry thumbprint shortbread, and strawberries n' creme cookies. Their regular menu features yummy classics like chocolate chip cookies, scones, biscuits, and crumb cake as well as funky remixes like "not-ella" stuffed cookies. 

Caitlyn and Stephen met while attending Seton Hill University. They started a vegan club on campus and were engaged in activism for several years before deciding they wanted to start their own business. Although both entrepreneurial in their nature, the idea for their business wasn't clear in the beginning. They considered pop-ups, a farmers' market tent, and even a full-blown vegan diner concept named after Stephen's dog, Plato. After several months of planning, they settled on the idea of an online bakery. 

Naturally, starting a food business shortly after graduation had its challenges. Caitlyn remarks that their parents were hesitant about watching their kids pick up a business experience so different from their educational paths. Luckily, the online bakery model offered a low start-up opportunity cost; the company is currently operating out of a small commercial kitchen in New Jersey. Although the size of the space limits their productive capacity to small-batches, Caitlyn says that being able to hand-package and "have [their] eyes on every product" allows for quality control and a very personal influence over the brand.

It's clear that Caitlyn and Stephen are connected to their business, each other, and the plant-based lifestyle. For them, veganism is both a moral and an ethical prerogative. "We chose to revolve our business around veganism to make a positive impact for animals and not to appease a market of people following what some see as a fad diet," Caitlyn says. She hopes that more people will see the benefits of veganism, as well as all the deliciousness that vegan ingredients can provide. After all, going vegan shouldn't mean sacrificing your favorite foods! 

Within the next couple years, Caitlyn and Stephen expect to expand their menu to savory options and more classic pastries, like croissants and eclairs. They also would like to see their business do more than just feed people, but also provide and educational and social benefits to their communities. With a physical storefront and expanded team, Yellow Rose could offer refrigerated pastries, pies, and tarts, as well as interact with local schools and help teach about vegan cooking. 

For now, the company plans to build its online presence and continue making delicious baked goodies for its customers. You can order from their bakery using their website, or join their mailing list for more information. Bon appetite!