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Meet Andrea Hemment of Tortissima

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Hemment.

Andrea, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Baking is something that I have always done. There were always occasions in my family that merited a cake or a plate of cookies, and I was fortunate to have a mother who encouraged me to bake and learn with her.

The beautiful cakes that I see in bakery windows have also forever fascinated me. When a cake decorating class that I took at my local high school failed to satisfy my curiosity, my husband suggested that I research cake making on my own. I scoured the libraries in my area for information. I read voraciously, took note upon note, and offered to bake for any occasion that arose.

Tortissima grew out of my desire to turn a much-loved hobby into a small business, all the while remaining an “at home mom”. I began my professional life as a teacher. I received my Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University and began teaching Italian soon after graduating. When my children were born, I chose to be at home with them full-time, and continued to explore cake making and decorating as a fun pass time.

When both of my children began school, I heeded the advice of family and friends and explored the feasibility of a home-baking business. After many months of studying, exams and inspections, I received my license and launched the bakery.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think the biggest challenge that I’ve faced with my home business has been finding innovative ways to grow and promote it. Maximizing social media platforms like Facebook, and instituting promotions like my “Monthly Special” are just some ways that I have tried to expand. It can be daunting for a client to reach out to a home baker rather than to a traditional bakery with a “brick and mortar shop,” so maintaining very high standards and offering consistent quality with very personalized service help as well. This has led to return customers and a steady stream of orders.

Tortissima – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Tortissima is a licensed, residential bakery that I run out of my home. I specialize in custom desserts, including cakes, cupcakes, cakelets, and cookies. I am especially known for my “trompe l’oeil” creations, which are cakes made in the form of everyday objects.

I think there are three things that set Tortissima apart from other bakeries: quality of ingredients, customized work, and attention to detail. I enjoy collaborating with my clients to create the perfect dessert, and I take the time to really listen to them and understand their needs. I also make certain to focus on every element of a dessert I create — from the initial sketches to the baking and decorating. It’s this specialized focus that makes my work stand out.

I love what I do for so many reasons! Dessert making is a perfect outlet for my creativity and imagination. I love that I can bring a bit more joy to a special occasion, and help create a special memory for my clients. Most importantly, I’m so happy to have found a venture that allows me to keep my family as my top priority!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Rather than one proud moment, I find that I experience a consistent flow of many proud moments as a baker. The look of excitement and happiness on a client’s face when he or she sees their order is very special to me.

In fact, most of my clients will contact me to let me know how their cake, cupcakes or cookies were received. It is always gratifying to hear that my creations are both beautiful and delicious.

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