Juliet Postlewaite, owner of One Grain Bakery in Charlotte, is The Charlotte News Business of the Week. Originally from Alaska, Postlewaite has lived in town for two decades and started her baking business one year ago. We spoke to her on Sept. 28.
Q: What is special about doing business in Charlotte?
A: My business is mainly online right now. Many of our customers are actually on the West Coast! Any local business is direct to customers anywhere in Chittenden or Addison County. I would say what’s great about starting a business like this in Vermont is the Cottage Food Law. This allowed our bakery experiment-turned-business to happen without a heavy investment of time and finances. My husband is gluten sensitive. The only bread products he can eat are from an ancient wheat called Einkorn. After much research, we discovered this wheat was making a comeback. Scientists had started to investigate its gluten structure and how it’s tolerated differently from modern wheat. Plus it’s a “real” wheat and even tastes better than normal wheat. I began to make all our baked products.
Being a busy mom though, I continued to check out the bread aisles at Healthy Living, Shelburne Supermarket, etc., hoping to find something my husband could eat. I couldn’t believe there was nothing made with this wheat available. At this same time, my 12-year-old daughter was frustrated that she couldn’t work a “real job” like her older siblings, and we discovered a woman in Maine who sold Einkorn bread on Etsy. That gave us the idea of selling bread online. So, to provide my daughter with a job one weekend, after we baked up a batch of muffins, we decided to list it as an experiment and thereafter, listed whatever we baked for the day. Then one day something sold! And it kept happening. Our business was born!
We developed new ideas from customers and found there was a whole segment of people who were in the same boat we were but couldn’t make their own sourdough einkorn bread. So we took off with it and that became our specialty. The kids and I found the whole business to be surprisingly fun and challenging. We decided to become official, formed an LLC, rented a commercial kitchen and are now trying to bridge the learning curve of running a business while actually having a business!
Q: How many employees work there?
A: It’s just mostly me since the kids are in school now. My daughter also now has a job and prefers to work out of the house. But it was a really great introduction to business for her. I come from a line of entrepreneurs. It’s important to me that the idea of starting anything new is not a “mystery” to my kids but that they see it as an attainable possibility for their own future.
Q: What would you like readers to know about your company?
A: I have had a few people question when we will sell in town. Currently we just deliver to individual households since we’re all over the place anyway. We will eventually experiment with placing products locally; it’s just going to take time because we are really taking our time with this. We have a large family and that’s our first priority. But I love that we can actually make something that isn’t redundant and that people truly need and enjoy. We receive feedback all the time, from all across the country, thanking us for doing this. Does it get any better than that? If you are curious what we make, our current product line can be found at etsy.com/shop/OneGrainBakeryLLC.