The Femme Stories is a blog series celebrating the makers who inspire and empower their community, and continue to gift us with their creativity; these are their stories.

Olivia | Inspiring Olivia

Do you ever start following someone but can’t remember how you discovered them? Well that is me with Inspiring Olivia and I could not go back to a time when I didn’t have this brand popping up in my feed. Her baked goods, which are front and centre in her videos and photos, literally make your mouth water. They are delicate, whimsical and picture perfect. Olivia is someone I have come to know through her platform on social media and very much hope that as shows start to happen in 2021, that I will get to meet her in person very soon!
Ottawa Baker, Inspiring Olivia
 How did you get started, are you professionally trained or self-taught?

 I am a self-taught baker. What spurred on my baking was that I have a nut allergy, and I wasn’t finding baked goods in grocery stores or bakeries that I could have, so I started doing my own baking. Last year I realized it was a good market to get into, because there are lots of people with allergies. I have been baking for 4 years now, it is a lot of trial and error, but it is also so rewarding to have a recipe work out.

Your baking style seems routed in classic style, but you always add your own personal flare, for example jasmine tea, to honey and thyme cookies or grapefruit scones, where does your recipe inspiration come from? 

For me, it is finding ingredients I like, and incorporating them into baked goods I have tried before, and then you can tweak the recipe here and there. I love working with different ingredients that you wouldn’t  normally see in a treat.

Last year you have challenged yourself to only buy second hand clothing, what prompted this and how is it going? 

When COVID hit, I really started thinking about how much we buy, and I started researching and found that we have a lot of great resellers and vintage options here in Ottawa. They are selling pre-loved, vintage and consignment items and my goal was to reduce the consumption of fast fashion items. Style is one of those things that always comes back, no matter how long ago, it always cycles back, so these styles are so much more long lasting than the fast fashion items that just end up in a landfill.

Recently you started offering treat boxes, do you have a new one coming up? And what will be in them?

I do have one coming up, the next one is The Mother’s Day box. I have always loved going to afternoon tea with my mom, so it will be centred around that experience. It will feature a local tea company, Tealee and it will have scones and finger sandwiches. I don’t know exact flavours yet, testing will happen in the next couple of weeks.

 You are a baker, but past that you are an influencer, you promote local businesses, create content and even share how you create that content, did you have a marketing background or did you come by this naturally.

Actually, my background is environmental science with a specialization in biodiversity and conservation and then I took two years of business, but no marketing. I have been learning the ins and outs online and for me it is a fun project to work on. I have even started to showcase how I take my still photos, I like sharing that to inspire others as well.

What is your favourite thing to bake?

My favourite is the buttery puff pastry, when it bakes’, the layers really expand and you can see those flaky layers when you pull them out and it is so rewarding to watch. 

What do you see for the future of your company?

In the near future I will be participating in some markets throughout the summer. I am excited to learn how to approach setting up my booth and reducing the plastic with selling my products, at this “market” one of the requirements is no plastic packaging.

Down the line, I want to expand the menu options to offer more gluten free and vegan options, that is something that I want to work on throughout the summer.

For sure a long-term goal is to open up my own bakery, the joy of walking into a bakery and smelling those baked goods, nothing compares to seeing and smelling them in person.

What are you currently reading?

Right now, I am reading The Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, I am only two chapters in, but everyone has told me it is a great book. 

It was so lovely to chat with Olivia, having only interacted via social media, it was nice to dive deeper into her company. For me, past her baked goods, I love her approach to Instagram. She shares how her content is made, her thrifted finds and local businesses, she is the definition of community over competition and you know I love that. I recommend following Inspiring Olivia, it will add some treats to your daily feed and make sure to get your orders in for her new Mother’s Day Treat Box.


Written by Carissa McCaig

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