Quarantine offers a fresh start for a Kingston entrepreneur.
By Jennifer H. McInerney — Photography by Jack Foley
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many South Shore businesses discovered that “business as usual” was no longer an option. This led to a dramatic reimagining of existing business models, with some entrepreneurs “pivoting” in entirely new directions to explore previously untapped opportunities. Such was the case for Kingston entrepreneur Kacey Medeiros, who realized the time had come for her to start over—from scratch.
After working in the bustling wedding and event-planning industry for five years, Medeiros, 29, found herself confronted with a blank calendar. The usual steady stream of weddings and celebrations had been summarily cancelled or put indefinitely on hold. But she didn’t panic. Instead, she preheated her oven, plugged in her stand mixer, and turned to the comfort of one of her favorite pastimes: baking.
“As an event-planner, my schedule was always crazy, especially during wedding season. I never had the time to bake before and, suddenly, I had nothing but time,” Medeiros recalls.
Baking has always been something that Medeiros enjoyed. Growing up, she would often make cookies with her mom and helped her father cook pancakes on Sunday mornings. She dreamed of opening her own bake shop one day, which led her to study at Johnson and Wales University, where she earned an associate degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and a bachelor’s degree in Food Service Entrepreneurship. During her junior year of college, Medeiros fully immersed herself in the fine art of pastry-making as a student at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie in southern France. While there, she supplemented her studies with visits to patisseries and boulangeries in the region.
Throughout high school and college, Medeiros also became involved with Relay for Life events, which raised money for cancer research. Her experiences eventually led her to pursue a career in event planning and, ultimately, wedding planning. During those first few weeks of quarantine, however, her passion for baking was rekindled.
“It was like the universe was telling me to go in this direction and pursue what I’ve always loved,” says Medeiros.
Taking advantage of her unexpected downtime, she began experimenting with different sugar cookie recipes and cake flavors, mixing and blending assorted icing colors and perfecting the pastry-decorating skills she’d learned from the experts in France—from fancy, flowing script to intricate details and artistic flourishes. Medeiros shared freshly baked batches of treats with her family, friends and neighbors, who encouraged her to turn her pastime into a profession.
Within a few months, Medeiros opened Le Sucre Bake Shop, an online patisserie offering made-to-order, custom-designed sugar cookies, three- and four-layer cakes, and cupcakes for all occasions. With the French word for sugar in its name, the business conjures what Medeiros calls “the homey, warm feeling of a bake shop.”
In her home kitchen, Medeiros bakes dozens upon dozens of sugar cookies and decorates them all by hand with royal icing. Her unique cookie artistry has elevated her confections from enticing to exquisite, appealing equally to her clients’ tastebuds and aesthetic sensibilities.
Since opening, Le Sucre Bake Shop has catered to an array of special-occasion themes, from Father’s Day gift sets featuring cookies shaped like golf clubs and backyard grills to elegant snowflakes for winter celebrations and custom creations for baby showers, engagements and wedding announcements. Medeiros aims to produce products that are as beautiful as they are delicious and is always striving to come up with unique designs that set her apart.
Some of her more recent creations have included collections inspired by hit television shows like “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Queen’s Gambit” and elegant “cookie bouquets” made up of cookies resembling roses and other blooms.
“Cookies are super popular,” says Medeiros. “Since people can’t really have events and gatherings right now, they’re focusing on special favors—for drive-by baby showers and birthday parades—that are more personal.”
To help build her business, Medeiros connected with a group of cookie-artist entrepreneurs, also known as “Cookiers,” on Instagram. “Everyone’s been so generous with advice on what has worked for them,” she says. “Plus, they get what it’s like to make cookies for a living.”
Medeiros packages her cookies in heat-sealed bags to preserve freshness. Le Sucre Bake Shop offers local delivery, two-day shipping and pickup in Kingston.
In the future, she hopes to open a brick-and-mortar bakery and looks forward to being involved in the wedding and events industry once again—this time, as a source for wedding cakes and custom-decorated cookie favors. For now, however, Medeiros is grateful to play a role in personalizing smaller-scale celebrations for her growing clientele. With every custom confection she bakes, Medeiros helps to make these special events even more memorable—and a whole lot sweeter.