Laura D'Abate: Starting a Business From Scratch

January 18 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

Today, as I was talking about my recent and still-evolving work, a woman asked me, “What’s your goal?” Taken off guard, I mumbled some gibberish and ultimately said, “I’m still sorting out the specifics.” That answer made me feel aimless because, so often, women are told we need to have a plan.

But many women do have a plan. It’s just that it’s been run off the tracks by any number of life occurrences: a pregnancy, or loss, a move or even just a change of heart. Here’s to the ladies who have a whole lot of ambition but are open to experiencing whatever door life opens next.


Many startups begin small, often in a small room in the proprietor’s own home. Home-based businesses in the U.S. are flourishing, thanks, in part, to the digital age, and women are running most of these companies—72 percent, in fact. There’s beauty in working out of your home, whether you’re just starting out or plan to keep your business small. It gives women the flexibility we desire and the kind of ownership we deserve.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Laura D'Abate, Head Baker and Founder of Pip n Bits

Today’s Woman to Watch is the creative sugar queen behind Pip n Bits, a custom bakery based in Astoria in New York City. Her name is Laura D’Abate and she is truly a baking artist.

Though Laura is an expert at turning sweet cravings into decadent cakes, cookies and specialty confections, baking was simply her hobby for many years. In fact, prior to launching Pip n Bits in 2015, Laura worked in a completely different field, as a photo editor for a variety of high-end magazines, including Ladies Home Journal. While producing photo shoots for magazine food features, she learned a ton about the world of food styling, and became inspired to experiment with her own food-focused business.

After years of making birthday cakes for friends and cookies to share with co-workers, her passion for baking took over, and Laura launched her one-woman shop with money out of her own pocket. Laura says it all started with the humble yet delectable whoopie pie. Flavor combinations for these sweet sandwich treats seemed limitless, and Pip n Bits’ whoopie pie flavors now include banana vanilla bourbon, cardamom chai and my favorite, key lime pie.

As you can probably surmise from those sweet descriptions, Pip n Bits specializes in baked goods with an imaginative twist, from chocolate chunk sea salt cookies to handmade sea salt caramels and even extravagant, customized, special-occasion cakes requested by customers from throughout the country.

Every photo Laura posts on social media leaves me in awe, as each piece of yumminess looks unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, such as her faux sushi cake! Y’all, it’s cake that looks like sushi but that’s homemade with sweet ingredients, including Laura’s famous buttercream. Yum! When it comes to cake designs, Laura’s imagination is endless. Take, for instance, her Grumpy Cat Cupcakes and Chocolate Log Cabin Cake. Laura even made a darling knitting-themed cake for a writer on the show Full Frontal With Samantha Bee—edible ball of yarn and all!

Years ago, Laura thought she had landed her dream job working as a photo editor for national magazines. She later realized her calling was in pleasing people with her bakery treats. That’s the thing about dreams: You never know where they might lead you. Whatever the end result, Laura shows us the best part is enjoying the sweet journey.


Set aside your doubt and fear, and follow Laura D’Abate’s lead by taking a leap into your next great adventure. After all, as writer and philosopher Suzy Kassem said:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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