Meghan Ritchie, founder, Megpies pastries
Meghan Ritchie is the creator of the popular artisanal pastries known as Megpies. Fans of baked sweets may recognize the name from their local Starbucks counter, where her signature tarts have been sold nationwide since July 2016. But any slight resemblance to Pop-Tarts ends when you’ve tasted one of her baked creations.
While many founder stories involve a kitchen table, the key location for the launch of Megpies was Ritchie’s front stoop. That’s where she began selling her baked goods five years ago, out front of her home in Park Slope, while balancing odd jobs to support her avocation. Ritchie acknowledges those days on the stoop started as an excuse to people-watch and talk to neighbors, but now credits that ritual as a catalyst in the success that followed. Now, as she tells us in our podcast (click below to listen), “I always encourage people to try things as much as they possibly can and push that limit, even if it’s just selling to your friends.” She adds: “I am someone who will get very mired in the details and if I [thought that I] wanted to actually start a company, I would have never started it. It would have taken me forever to get something perfect.”
Ritchie, along with her business and life partner Paul Jones, spent the first two years of the business in an exhausting cycle: baking batches of scones at midnight and making early-morning bike deliveries on the commute to her daytime job at a jam kitchen. But when Ritchie began baking batches of the flat, jam-filled pastries reminiscent of a certain childhood favorite, things began to take off. The pies won the attention of Starbucks and Whole Foods, yet Ritchie and Jones didn’t even have a business plan. They asked themselves, “How do we become a super-legitimate business with insurance and all of the things that you need to partner with that type of company and sell in their stores?” Ritchie recalls. The big companies became her mentors, in a way. “The Whole Foods packet of ‘things you need to do’ was almost like a ‘how-to start your business.’ It was a great way to understand everything that was needed.”
Today, Megpies produces millions of pies to fill the counters at more than 7,500 Starbucks locations, as well as Whole Foods stores and other local cafes and shops. While she no longer bakes the pies herself, Ritchie hopes to now focus her attention on expanding regional and local distribution. Listen to our conversation with her by clicking below, and you can read our earlier profile of Ritchie and her company here. –By Kim Thornton