We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara East and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Macarons and Muttarons LLC was an idea that combined my passions and my career. I have worked as a zookeeper since I was 19 and have always had an interest in animal nutrition. I have also always loved cooking and entertaining. During the fall of 2020 (and after watching a lot of episode of ‘The Great British Baking Show’) I began experimenting more with baking and wanted to try my hand at macarons as a potential holiday treat for family and friends. The process of making macarons is tricky and time consuming, but I found that it had a calming effect for the anxiety I felt about Covid. The first batches were nothing special to look at, but my family enjoyed them as a treat and I enjoyed the baking time. This snowballed into bringing batches in to my coworkers at the zoo and starting to do some actual research on improving the macarons. My husband Tim has worked in the restaurant industry since he was 14 and really encouraged me to look at the potential macaron making had as a company. I immediately wanted to include dog treats in the business, mostly because I can’t imagine not having interaction with animals as part of daily life, but also because of the special dietary needs of our dog Ripley. Ripley is our pit-bull mix that we rescued from the streets of Dallas, TX when I was a zookeeper at the Dallas Zoo. Ripley has recently been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that prevents his liver from processing copper, which is found in most commercial dog food and treats. When developing the recipe for the ‘muttarons’ we were very conscious of using simple ingredients and avoiding some common allergies in dogs. Overall my husband and my’s passion about good food for animals and humans has lead to the idea of Macarons and Muttarons. Treats for you, treats for you pup. Any day can be special with Macs and Mutts.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My work feels like its all the time right now! I work full time as a zookeeper at the Denver Zoo and also my husband and I have started Macarons and Muttarons LLC. Zookeeping has been really the only job I have ever done starting at 19. Its a tough field to get into (requiring a bachelors in science and some sort of un-paid internship usually) and can be really a labor of love once you’re in it. It is incredibly rewarding when you build relationships with the animals and the best when you can connect guests with wildlife and conservation. There’s no way I could work 40 hours a week plus start our own company unless I really loved them both.
Macs and Mutts has been equally hard work and super exciting! I love working for myself and spending quiet time in the kitchen baking. It has been so fun to have a creative component to my work when thinking of new box themes or flavors. Right now I am most proud that we got into farmers markets for the summer season. It felt intimidating at first, but I am so thankful my husband Tim really pushed me to take a chance and apply. We are so grateful for all the advice we have gotten from other vendors at the markets and are loving meeting so many new customers… and their dogs.
The hardest and most important lesson I am learning is to not take anything personally and to give myself some grace. We have had months where our boxes didn’t sell as well as other months. Thats ok. Doesn’t mean I did anything wrong necessarily. Just that it is a learning experience and we can always change next time. I am proud of our product and our growing company, but if someone doesn’t like something it doesn’t mean anything about me as a person.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
first of all I am totally biased towards Golden since that’s my hometown! Also visiting the Denver Zoo… obviously.
best Golden day….
start at the farmers market to get coffee and maybe a pastry from local bakers, spend some time walking Ripley (dog) around clear creek.
Coors brewery tour and enjoy free sample beers at the end
Peruse the Foothills Art Center
I would for sure take them do dinner at Abejas in Golden for the best cocktails and slightly more upscale dinner
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Absolutely shoutout to my husband Tim! Beyond his culinary knowledge, he has been a constant source of support and confidence builder. He has faith in my abilities when I don’t and is always dreaming about the next big step for our company. He also makes a killer old-fashioned after a long day at the farmers market stand. I also would be remiss if I didn’t shoutout the zookeepers at the Denver Zoo. They were my original test market for Macs and Mutts and continue to be our biggest support base. Thank you all for your orders, feedback and encouragement.
Facebook: Macarons and Muttarons LLC