Rachel from Fetching Goodies in Alexandria has been blogging about recipes since college. After years of recipe practice and dreaming about opening a bakery, she took the leap to start a home bakery last year. Rachel’s specialty is cookie bars with plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. She’s also added some pie to her menu – just in time for the holidays!
I got to sit down with Rachel to hear more of her story and where she gets her inspiration.
What is your background? How did you get started with baking and where did you learn?
Rachel: I started baking when I was 15 years old. I wanted a job. I met with some local bakeries, restaurants, coffee shops.. and no one would hire me until I turned 16. So, I spun up “Rachel’s Baking” (I know, very clever) and started taking orders for baked goods. I made good ol’ flyers and handed them out in my neighborhood and around town. (Remember this was before Facebook, Instagram or social media existed.) Looking back, it was some great foreshadowing for the future!
My mom baked us lots of yummy treats growing up. She makes the best pie. And chocolate chip cookies. And chocolate cake. And banana bread. We almost always had fresh banana bread in the house. I learned from her.
When did you start your blog and what is the biggest thing you learned while writing and trying recipes?
Rachel: I started The Fetching Foodie, my recipe blog, in college. It started first as a digital place for me to keep track of my recipes. Then it evolved into more of a brand. It was a resource for others looking for sweet treat recipes, as well as a media outlet for local food and drink festivals. One of the things I learned is you have to be OK to fail sometimes. Sometimes, new recipes do not come out 100% the first time. I’ve made total flops during recipe testing. I learned to learn from my mistakes, accept the lesson, and try again until it’s right.
How did you decide it was time to open your shop last year? Did you have a big “ah-ha’ moment or did you always know you were building toward starting a business?
Rachel: It has always been my *dream* to open a bakery, or do something with baking. I moved to from DC to Virginia in 2018. From there, I started researching the cottage food law, which allowed me to start a baking business out of my home. One of the approved places to sell from is farmers markets. So, I reached out to my local Del Ray Farmers’ Market. There was a 1 year waitlist! I joined the waitlist. Sure enough about a year later in 2019, a spot opened up. I dotted the ‘i’s and crossed the ‘t’s on making Fetching Goodies an official business, and joined the market. The rest is history!
I saw on your website that bars are your favorite thing to make because there are so many different flavors to try! Where do you get your inspiration for these flavors? Do you have a favorite flavor?
Rachel: Yes! I love the thickness that bars provide. My favorite dessert is, essentially, something warm and gooey, topped with cool creamy (dairy-free) ice cream. Bars are perfect for that.
My inspiration comes from several places. A lot of it comes from imagination — cookie daydreams. Trying to think of foods that taste good and what they could pair with. I get inspiration on Instagram. From cooking shows. Friends and family. I feel like my brain is constantly thinking about foods and flavors trying to come up with the next pairing.
I am a peanut butter & chocolate girl for life. I LOVE the peanut butter oreo bars and the monster cookie bars. If you love that peanut butter-chocolate combo, you will love them! I also LOVE the brookie celebration bars (which are brownie oreo chocolate chip cookie bars with rainbow sprinkles). They’re perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, housewarming, or a fun surprise just because!
You have lots of gluten-free and vegan options! Why was it important to you to make sure you had these options on your menu?
Rachel: My goal is to make gluten-free and vegan goodies that you would never know are gluten-free/vegan. I feel like sometimes gluten-free/vegan goodies get a bad rap. I want to show that gluten-free and vegan ingredients can be turned into goodies that are just as incredible as their non-gluten-free/vegan counterparts. Inclusive goodies, if you will. You can order one thing, and it can be enjoyed by people who are gluten-free/vegan, and people who aren’t! And really, you would never know the difference!
The background to it is: I have had a sensitivity to dairy my entire life, and I have always loved dessert. I know what it’s like to go out to eat, look at the menu, and feel like there is nothing you can have. I think there are a lot of fantastic gluten-free and vegan options now, but you still have to find them. My goal with Fetching Goodies is to make sweets that are 100% delicious, that can be enjoyed by as many people as possible, whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, or not! They’re undetectably gluten-free and vegan.
What would you say to other women thinking about starting their own business?
Rachel: GIRL POWER! It is a ton of work and a ton of fun. If it’s something you love, and you have the desire to be a business owner, take the leap! There are so many other fabulous women business owners too, it’s a wonderful community of women supporting women. Don’t be afraid to be new at something, or to not be an expert. I’ve learned a lot, and it’s the most rewarding type of knowledge.
Will you have any special treats on the menu for the holidays?
Rachel: Yes! Pies are available to order through the end of the year. I’ll have holiday cookie bar flavors for the month of December. Plus, my favorite, holiday Goodies boxes will be available to order soon! Goodies boxes have a variety of items and flavors. It’s the best way to get into the holiday spirit!
Where do we order?
So where can you find Fetching Goodies? Head to FetchingGoodies.com! Orders require at least 72 hours notice, and there are a limited number of orders accepted each week so the further ahead you order, the better! The residential bakery is located on Devon Place in Alexandria, VA 22314. The full address is included during checkout and in the confirmation email. Keep up with Rachel and her latest treats on Instagram @FetchingGoodies.