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Meet Michele McAtee of Maddiebird Bakery in Edgewater

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michele McAtee.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michele. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I took a break from my first career to stay at home with my baby daughter in 2009. Her first birthday cake in 2010 was my first cake, like, ever. My friends, never having known me for being particularly domestic really, were impressed with my little (first, really) creative culinary victory, and started asking me to do cakes for them. And surprisingly, I enjoyed it– working with my hands again, creating fondant cake designs and decor and expressing myself through color and texture and character and context, telling stories with cake, which I know sounds totally corny but… Then one day, a stranger called me and told me she’d found my information on a network of Chicago parents that had a significant user base, and I thought, “I gotta look into finding a commercial kitchen space.” That was in 2011. I shared the small kitchen at my buddy Tony’s local neighborhood roasterie, Metropolis until we opened Maddiebird on Devon in 2013. I honestly just kept saying ‘yes’ to anything I could, and taught myself as much as I could until I found at the opening of my own bakery. I’m ridiculously lucky.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest struggle has been balancing my work life and my family life. Hands down. My husband works with me now, and my daughter is the namesake of the bakery–it’s become not just my business, but a family business. But that doesn’t always equal quality family time, you know? Let alone time for yourself. I am learning that if I am not thriving or taking care of myself, I can’t enjoy the successful business I’ve created. It’s a constant struggle for balance. But I’m improving, really, and my staff is helpful with reminders. 😉

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Maddiebird Bakery – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Maddiebird Bakery is a custom cake studio and cupcake shop located on Devon Avenue, right on the cusp of the lovely Edgewater and Rogers Park neighborhoods of Chicago.

We specialize in creative, unique custom cakes for weddings, birthdays, as many milestones or occasions as you want or need to celebrate! I think what sets us apart is that our cakes have character and an artistic context. I like to think of the cake interacting with its recipient(s) in a way.

As a company, I am most proud of my team. I have a small but mighty, loyal, conscientious, truly badass team that really cares about the work we do, and strive to do.

And we all are learning together how to do our jobs better every day. And not just about cake-crafting and new techniques, etc, you know? We have developed a pretty awesome work environment, we have fun, we laugh a lot, but also, we have developed relationships with customers and our community that have honestly changed us. That was unexpected, I guess.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Well, short term, we will be participating in Chicago Vegan Mania on September 23rd at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater! I’m really excited about our ever-expanding vegan menu–more than half of our recipes can now be made vegan! Please come see us at our booth for yummy vegan cupcakes and try one yourself!!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michele McAtee

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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