Deidre Peak never thought she would turn a long-standing guilty pleasure into a creative, growing business.
But she did, and its success has tasted so sweet, she said.
Peak, a self-proclaimed sugar addict, says the recipe for Sweet Addict Bakery surfaced in grad school when her go-to stress reliever became baking her favorite treats at her condo apartment — crafting cupcakes, peanut brittle and eventually mastering caramels and truffles.
Realizing she couldn’t — and shouldn’t — devour every batch by herself, she started selling gourmet baked goods online and her artisan confectionery shop was born.
Since then, the business’ chocolates, caramels, marshmallows and peanut brittle have been sold in different countries and at local farmers markets. And Peak’s Fleur de Sel salted caramels were featured on the Food Network.
This season, the blonde baker from Telluride, Colo., has a pop-up shop at 212 N. Tejon St. along with 12 other businesses, part of Downtown Colorado Springs’ artisan market open during the holiday shopping season.
“It’s been a long and hard, self-taught process,” Peak said, about joining the bakery business. “But I like it because it allows me to be creative and isn’t a traditional 9-to-5 job. I’ve researched everything I’ve created, and I’m learning as I go. I did a 180 of where I thought my life would go, but having my own business allows me more time with my family and is much more satisfying.”
KNEADING A CHANGE
After graduating from Colorado State University, Peak enrolled in law school with the intention of becoming involved in the international human rights movement. But after consecutively receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Peak became tired of school and switched paths — getting engaged, married and starting a family.
“And that turned out to be a lot more fun,” she said. “I love baking because it’s something that’s creative; you can make it beautiful, and also get to eat it.”
Before the bakery, Peak worked as a corrections deputy for the Larimer County sheriff’s office and baked orders for the business during her days off or on the weekends.
Peak said although she enjoyed working in law enforcement, with two little girls and her husband’s unpredictable firefighting schedule, the routine was hard on the family.
“I realized I needed to make some changes and needed more flexibility,” she said.
Peak quit her job to grow the bakery, creating an Etsy page and business website and selling her products at food markets and craft fairs.
“I’ve noticed what sells in person is different than what sells online,” she said. “What people gravitate toward and what I like has been different, so it’s been a learning experience.”
FOCUSED ON GROWTH
Online sales remain the business’ main revenue stream; Peak’s flavored caramel sauces — including Fireball whiskey, pecan pie and red velvet — are popular because they’re not as restrictive as the individual candies, she said.
“If it’s a gift, someone may not like the chocolate caramels, but instead you can put chocolate caramel sauce over ice cream. The bourbon bacon caramel sauce makes for a good marinade,” Peak said. “The Sriracha has a lingering kick to it, but it’s not too spicy. My family uses it all the time as a marinade over chicken.”
Peak’s items are made from scratch and preservative-free; the business offers discounts for fire, police and military members.
“I try to keep ingredients local and organic to benefit our economy,” she said.
And the products make great holiday gifts and wedding favors, Peak said.
“I had an order for a wedding about a month ago, needing 250 candy apples shipped to North Carolina,” she said. “That’s been my biggest order so far, and it was a great learning experience.”
Peak tests out most of her recipes at home and rents commercial kitchen space to bake special orders.
“There are some things I can make within the home that fall under the Colorado Cottage Act, but I have some wholesale accounts that in order for me to sell to them, and allow them to re-sell it, I can’t make it at home.”
Sweet Addict Bakery isn’t quite big enough for a storefront, but not small enough to operate from her kitchen, Peak said.
“Either finding another place like an artisan market year-round, where I could share a location with other vendors or ultimately have my own storefront is my next goal,” she said.
Peak said as soon as she caught wind of the Pop-Up Shop program, she jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s another option to get my products out there,” she said. “I love the location across from Acacia Park and working with everyone has been great so far. It gives us the opportunity to collaborate with other creative minds and network.” [su_box title=”Sweet Addict Bakery” box_color=”#005ac3″]Location: 212 N. Tejon St.