The Bella Christie Interview
From the people that brought you Bella Christie and Little Z’s comes Lawrenceville’s newest eatery, A Sweet Boutique. Started as a catering business, Bella Christie’s became a store front so customers could purchase individual servings and have a more convenient location to pick up orders. The new location will offer various menu items from sandwiches, to single serving baked goods, to custom designed bakery treats. Additionally, A Sweet Boutique offers both kids and adults the option to participate in sweet decorating parties in its fantastic new party room.
We recently spoke to co-owner Kristin Smith about what it’s like operating a small business with her sister Kadee Lewis.
“My sister and I are polar opposites and I think in business that helps tremendously. We each bring to the table opposite skill sets and points of view. It helps the business to be more well rounded. There are certain things that she does better and there are certain things that I do better. That also means we don’t see eye to eye all the time, but in the end we are family, so anything we disagree on in business we eventually resolve and find a way to make it work.”
Although Bella Christie’s offers many types of goodies, their Facebook page touts mini desserts as their specialty. Kristin describes how that came to be.
“The idea to offer mini desserts evolved over time. I began creating decorated cookies and cakes, working out of a commercial kitchen in my home. As I started to gain clients and do more and more weddings and special events, clients began asking for cookies, bars and desserts to serve along with the cake. I found that the clients preferred the smaller, bite size desserts to regular size desserts, and aesthetically speaking I liked the smaller-sized desserts as well. When it came time to open the bakery, it was only natural to continue offering the smaller-sized desserts that everyone had come to know us for. We found that people loved being able to try a little bit of everything as opposed to only being able to have one item because it is so large.”
For Bella Christie’s a new location means a new opportunity to bring their customers new ideas and menu items.
“We are definitely not the typical Pittsburgh bakery and that is why you will not see the word bakery in our name. In the new location, we offer a small selection of sandwiches, soups and salads, as well as single serving dessert items. Our donut cart is situated front and center, making mini specialty donuts all day long. Clients now have the option to choose from our unique menu selections or to create their own custom donut flavors with a selection of icings, toppings and sugars to choose from. We specialize in dessert tables for weddings and events, so we set up the front of the store similar to the dessert tables that we create for our clients. We will also offer the same great custom cakes and specialty items that clients have become accustomed to ordering.”
Although it differs slightly from the flagship location, A Sweet Boutique in Lawrenceville maintains the same community atmosphere clients have come to expect from Bella Christie’s.
“Both Lawrenceville and Aspinwall are small walking neighborhoods, and I find in both locations word of mouth travels fast. That actually works to our advantage because we believe in word of mouth. If we make you happy, you will recommend us to your friends and family. I actually enjoy hearing about the six degrees of separation of our clients – it is fun to connect the dots. I also love that we create beautiful wedding cakes for couples, and a year later we are creating baby shower cakes and baptism cakes for their children. It makes the whole business feel so family oriented.”
Stop by 3511 Butler Street (the former location of Dozen’s) to check out A Sweet Boutique for yourself. You can also visit the Aspinwall location at 213 Commercial Ave or track their food truck on Twitter