How do two lawyers become bakers? Well, it goes back a couple of generations. Angela Polk and Jennifer Feldman are sisters whose pumpkin-bread-making tradition was inherited from their mother and grandmother.
Angela, the older of the two sisters, notes, “We grew up in a very traditional two-parent household where Dad worked and Mom ran the household.” Their mom was a very good cook, and her mother, Grandma Carmen, was inventive in the kitchen, using recipes only as guidelines.
“Our mom taught us the joy of cooking, providing a family dinner every night, and entertaining with flare. Even though she would say she wasn’t a baker, she made a pumpkin bread recipe that originally came from Grandma Carmen. It was on a large index card in our mom's recipe box, typed by our grandmother. I remember that Grandma said it came from the NY Times! Mom gave away her beautifully wrapped pumpkin breads and cookies at the holidays.”
Angela spent weeks with her grandmother every summer, all the way through law school. “She taught me to love the kitchen. Her philosophy with cooking was to use what you have in your refrigerator and pantry and some common sense and, ‘things will turn out just fine,’ and she was usually right,” Angela smiles.
As adults, both sisters became lawyers, and they continued the tradition of baking pumpkin bread for holiday gifts. “We quickly got to the point where we were out-baking our mother. She would make about 15 breads for holiday gifts and we were making 40 or 50. We upscaled her beautiful packaging as well, adding cellophane bags to the traditional grosgrain ribbon. People looked forward to receiving the bread year after year, and soon there was a chorus of ‘You should really sell this bread.’ Finally, we decided to look into it.”
Before the California Cottage Industries law passed, these two lawyers didn’t see a feasible way to make the breads for sale. But when Angela learned about the new law in December 2014, she immediately texted Jen, “It’s legal! We should try this.”
2 Sisters Baking Company was born. Angela and Jennifer set to work on their logo, website and packaging and went to market in September 2015. Angela focuses on baking and production and Jennifer manages much of the administration of the business.
Their first holiday season at the end of 2015, their 2 Sisters Baking Company Pumpkin Bread was a huge success. Sales continued to be strong after the holidays, so the sisters decided to expand their offerings. “We circled back to our grandmother’s philosophy and decided to make banana bread. The goal was to build on the quality of our pumpkin bread -- super, super moist, with the perfect balance of the basic ingredients, and then to add other flavors to the line, always using real ingredients.”
By the fall of 2016 they had discovered KitchenTown, an incubator commercial kitchen in San Mateo. Besides becoming their production location, the on-site café also sells 2 Sisters' Pumpkin and Banana Breads.
Describing her enthusiasm for 2 Sisters Baking Company, Angela says, “I’m a 100% person. When I practiced law, I was all in. Raising two kids, all in. Now with 2 Sisters, we are very passionate and committed. The business is interesting and fun, and we continue to learn new things. I love having the challenge of making it work.”
“The reaction from our customers is universal, and it’s so heartwarming that we now make the bread year-round. It is very satisfying to be creating something that brings people so much pleasure.”