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Kirkland’s first French Macaron parlor Lady Yum to open this June
Striking a similar resemblance to the CBS comedy “2 Broke Girls,” Lady Yum owners Megan Gordon and Shan S. Foisy are raising funds to turn the former downtown Kirkland Cefiore space into the home of their popular macarons.
They hope to have their grand opening on June 14.
Although Gordon and Foisy’s situation is a little less dire than characters Max and Caroline on “2 Broke Girls” - and they sell macarons instead of cupcakes - the women are similar in that they have created a business from passion, they’ve honed in on a niche and they’re on the cusp of a baked goods craze.
“There was a cupcake craze and now I’m hoping to start the macaron craze here,” Gordon said, adding that macarons are quite trendy in California and New York. The entrepreneurs use the french spelling of delectable treat.
Already, the two have surpassed their kickstarter goal of $25,000 in just 16 days. Unfortunately, after putting all of her own money into the rebuild of their store, Gordon discovered it’ll cost an additional $10,000 to raise the ceiling.
“First, it needed new floors and paint,” she said. “But then we dug around and found this cool old brick and high ceilings and it just adds so much character.”
The donations have come from past customers, friends, family and her Facebook fan base.
One of her most memorable backers was a man from Mercer Island who donated $5,000.
“I made a cake for his daughter a year ago,” Gordon said. “It’s shocking how generous people are.”
Gordon has run Lady Yum since 2011 at a commercial space from Twelve Baskets Catering in Kirkland, doing local delivery. She said she’ll keep that location when the store is finished so that they’ll have enough space for baking the macarons, cakes and other baked goods Lady Yum offers.
The store instead will act as a place for patrons to pick up orders, buy gifts or pop in for a macaron and a glass of wine, as they’re in the process of getting their liquor license.
But Gordon wasn’t always a baker and business owner, and Foisy wasn’t always a co-owner of Lady Yum.
An Alaskan native from a small village called Hoonah, Gordon came to Washington to pursue music in college at the age of 16.
Gordon enrolled at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma in an early admissions program to study the piano and other forms of music but ended up gravitating toward business and finance, which she would eventually get her degree in.
“I felt like I didn’t fit in with the rest of the music kids,” she said, adding that she had always baked and cooked because there was “nothing to do” in her Alaskan village growing up.
Gordon said in her 10 years of working in business and finance she managed new college graduates and always told them to figure out their natural strengths.
She described her life as working 80 hours a week and missing out on life.
“Then there was this day where I was like I think I need to start practicing what I preach,” she said. “Lots of young people associate success with money.”
And she did too, at the time. But now, “investing in the community, doing what you love” is more aligned with her perspective of success.
Gordon said the “now or never” moment pushed her to break the “golden handcuffs” of stock options near the age of 30 and embark on the “absolutely terrifying” venture of starting her own business.
Originally a custom cake and dessert tables business, she first met with Foisy to develop the Lady Yum brand. Foisy was from the San Juan Islands who had run a design studio since 2008.
Gordon continued her business but said she realized custom cakes weren’t a scalable product.
In creating customized dessert packages, the salted caramel macaron had become her number one seller, so she switched gears.
Gordon worked to perfect her gluten-free, different flavored, colorful cookies that resemble hamburgers, or macarons, which sky rocketed their popularity.
The flavors have ranged from beer and pretzel caramel for Father’s Day to Captain Crunchberry and Mango Habanero - a strangely popular one. Savory cheese and smoked salmon flavors are also on the horizon, Gordon said.
Foisy and Gordon met again for the rebrand and the two ended up discussing the idea of becoming business partners. Foisy’s background in culinary school, her French food blog and her skills in marketing, sales and graphic design made her the perfect candidate.
As business plans came together, Gordon and Foisy decided to keep their new store in Kirkland, despite the adversity they’ve seen some downtown businesses have face.
By investing in her community, hiring four new full time and four part-time employees and including other local business’s food products - think the lemon blueberry jam from a local Farmer’s Market - Gordon and Foisy believe their business model will flourish the community they love.
The Lady Yum store will be located at 111 Lake St S. in Kirkland.
For more information or to donate toward their store remodel, visit www.ladyyum.com.