Sweet success: Check out four former finance types who switched to making confections   - NY Daily News

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Published on March 9, 2014

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Sweet success: Check out four former finance types who switched to making confections

Sweet success: Check out four former finance types who switched to making confections  - NY Daily News Sweet success: Check out four former finance types who switched to making confections  - NY Daily News They traded their business suits for aprons to work with a different kind of dough. Several former finance workers have opened sweet shops around the city, beating batter instead of crunching numbers. Liz Fife from the West Village is just the latest. She's set to open whoopie pie shop Batter & Cream in SoHo in the spring after leaving her job as an investment banker last year. "These people are taking risks in a different way," says New York-based career counselor Judith Gerberg, referring to the gamble one takes when starting a new business. (About 80% of restaurants fail within the first five years, according to the documentary "Eat This New York." Other research points to a 60% failure rate.) While Gerberg isn't sugarcoating the career switch, at least this kind of risk involves being surrounded by tasty treats every day. Jennifer Mitchell Photography Handmade whoopie pies from Batter & Cream. "If you're on Wall Street, there's only one reward: the deal and the money," adds Gerberg, who has seen several clients recently make the move from finance to food. "You still have to be a businessperson, but you have a sweet bottom line." Gerberg believes the trend is motivated by a craving for creativity in the workplace.

These four business owners agree. --------------------------Batter & Cream Andrew Schwartz For New York Daily News Doughnuttery owner Evan Feldman with "bar graph" box of doughnuts at his shop located inside the Chelsea Market (batterandcream.com) Former investment banker Liz Fife went from analyzing pie charts to making whoopie pies after quitting her finance job last year. She started the online baking delivery service Batter & Cream in the fall. "I went into finance thinking that was what I was going to do for the rest of my life," says Fife, 26, who admits she relieved the stresses of deals and deadlines by getting a milk shake every day on her lunch break. "I started to realize maybe this wasn't my passion." Fife thought up the idea for her handmade whoopie pie biz while trying to decide what to bring to her boyfriend's birthday party. "People are looking for the next cupcake when they're sick of macaroons and cake pops," says the blond baker who's opening up a brick-and-mortar store in SoHo this spring. "So I thought, I could live off dessert -- why not whoopie pies?"

Richard Harbus for New York Daily News Icing the doughnuts atDoughnuttery located inside the Chelsea Market. Her most popular flavors combine sweet with savory like the Pistachio Raspberry Rose; and Chocolate Chili Love, made with chocolate ganache and chili pepper. There's also the classic S'mores . Butter and Cream's regular-sized whoopie pies sell five for $15. Fife says she's still working long hours like she did in her Wall Street days. But instead of being tied to her desk, she's now burning calories while constantly on her feet in the kitchen. ------------Doughnuttery (Chelsea Market, 425 W. 15th St., doughnuttery.com)

Jennifer Mitchell Photography Butter Lane bakery owner Pam Nelson icing her cupcakes. Evan Feldman, an ex-municipal credit analyst, was looking for a new way to make money. He quit his corporate job in 2008, and took a number of odd jobs before opening Doughnuttery last year, a doughnut shop in Chelsea Market. "Instead of worrying about the market rising, I'm worried about my dough rising," says Feldman, who's 40. "I always wanted to be in business. I realized the only way I would truly be happy was if I worked for myself." When Feldman wasn't making bar graphs, he'd frequently indulge in Crumbs cupcakes and enjoyed events like the Fancy Food Show. He satisfied his craving for sweets by pitching in at his wife's bakery, but when it closed he was having withdrawal. So last year, Feldman , who lives on the Upper East Side, started taking baking classes at the Institute of Culinary Education. Now, his pint-size doughnuts cost $6 for six, and include inventive flavors like the Fruity Breakfast Cereal, inspired by Feldman's favorite childhood cereal Fruity Pebbles, or the PBCP -- peanut butter, cayenne and pretzel. Doughnuttery also sells house-made dipping sauces like Beer Caramel . The mini doughnuts are fried and sugarcoated on an assembly line right in front of customers .

Jennifer Mitchell Photography Assorted cupcakes at Butter Lane Bakery in the East Village. The tiny treats have been such a hit that they were featured on a segment on the Cooking Channel's "Unique Sweets" show . "I still do cash-flow projections," admits Feldman. "Being a former finance guy, having those skill sets doesn't hurt." ----------------------Butter Lane (123 E. Seventh St., and 240 Seventh Ave. in Park Slope, butterlane.com)

Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News Mohan Kumar, a former real estate financier and now co-owner of Oddfellows Ice Cream Co,, at his shop on Kent Ave. in Brooklyn

A former analyst at Citibank had a sweet solution to a bitter layoff. Pam Nelson opened up Butter Lane bakery in the East Village in 2008, dubbing it "a cupcake shop for grownups." "It's nice to be in a world that's sweet, no one comes in here in a bad mood," says Nelson, who also offers cupcake-making classes. "I didn't play Barbies, I played office when I was little," says the entrepreneur who says she didn't put her finance MBA to good use until she opened her bake shop . "It can be just as stressful with deadlines for orders, but at the end of the day you're not working for the man," Nelson says. The 49-year-old creates cupcakes ($3.25) like the Sea Salt Chocolate or Maple Pecan Vanilla. She has since opened a second location, in Park Slope, and has even personally delivered her cupcakes to her old Citibank office. But baking didn't always come easy for the Tribeca resident. She once forgot to taste test and made 10 dozen chocolate cupcakes using salt instead of sugar. Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News Scoop of Peanut Butter and Jelly ice cream at OddFellows Ice Cream Co. "It was the classic bakery mistake," laughs Nelson, who primarily works the front of the house these days, leaving the baking to others. . " -----------------OddFellows Ice Cream Co. (175 Kent Ave., Williamsburg; oddfellowsnyc.com) Mohan Kumar's career change started with a scoop of pretzel ice cream.

He used to be a real estate financier, but now co-owns OddFellows Ice Cream in Williamsburg. Kumar says his wife's pregnancy cravings for ice cream and fried chicken sparked the idea for his treat shop. "Regular ice cream didn't satisfy her. She wanted something savory," says Kumar, who had his friend and pastry chef Sam Mason whip up a special pretzel flavor. "After dinner she finished the entire pint. The next day she was like, 'That was so good. You guys should sell that stuff!'" Conveniently, Mason -- who now co-owns the shop -- already had half a business plan written and was looking for a partner. That's where Kumar came in, and the pair opened up OddFellows last summer. Their clientele rave over flavors like Burnt Caramel, Coffee Crunch and Cornbread Sundae. Kumar doesn't regret leaving his real estate days behind, and prefers his blue jeans to three-piece suits any day . "I have former colleagues who say, 'I wish I could do that,'" he says. "This is way more risky, though." jsettembre@nydailynews.com http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/finance-types-sweet-new-life-article-1.1710813

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