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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton
Updated on Nov 22nd, 2022
Fact checked by Emma Vince

NotPie Cake Subscription 2023: The Icing on the (Cup)Cake!

We chat with Amanda Frazier, Co-Founder and CEO of NotPie about how her and her husband Joshua spread joy, happiness and love in the form of cakes, to celebrate people no matter the distance. Just remember, it’s all about cakes, not pies!

What is the history behind NotPie and how did you come up with the name?

It was my father’s birthday. We lived in Ashland Oregon and he and the other members of my family were in San Francisco. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t be with him on his special day so I wanted to send him a birthday cake. It felt really important that year. 

However, after searching high and low for possible options, it seemed that my only choices were either to spend a lot of money on something that was less than amazing, or have another family member pick one up at a local bakery and deliver it for me. 

This is when the light-bulb came on. 

Joshua and I are long-time entrepreneurs with complimenting expertise. It didn’t take us long to get excited about creating an e-commerce micro-cakery.

When we were kicking around the idea of the bakery, we asked our four kids for their name ideas. Our then high-schooler replied "Not Pie,” and we just went with it. In the most literal sense, it’s true! We make amazing cakes without a single pie on the menu. 

What challenges did you initially face - or was this an instant success story?

It depends on how you define instant success! We were really successful in creating a great product from the start. I remember when we got our first annual subscription. NotPie was maybe a few months old and someone bought an annual cake subscription! 

I thought that was instant success! More than five years later, and we are still growing into our dreams of making it easy to celebrate people from a distance. 

Our biggest challenge from the beginning was the successful delivery of the cakes to all fifty states in the country. Our cakes are designed to be shipped, and to be even more delicious by the time they arrive one or two days later. 

The biggest hurdle that we couldn’t get our heads around was how the box was going to be treated while in the mail - they were thrown around and tumbled in sorting machines. It goes without saying that a lot of broken cakes were arriving at people’s doors in our early days. 

But we eventually figured it out with our own packaging hacks. 

Do you find that people are wary of ordering cakes that they have not seen with their own eyes? 

No, we rarely get questions about how we ship cakes and how they arrive. 

We have been known to post funny pictures of cake delivery fails, along with real pictures of how they arrive, and behind the scenes shots of us in the kitchen making the cakes. 

Transparency is a gift for online companies. These days, our cakes arrive beautifully and our reviews help customers feel confident about that. 

Do you find you have seasonal differences in turnover?

The majority of our orders are gifts from people sending cakes to the people they want to celebrate — birthdays, anniversaries, first day of work, finals week, and of course the major holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas, and Mother’s Day. 
I notice people sending longer six to twelve month subscriptions for Mother’s Day, and shorter one to three month subscriptions for kids moving into college dorms in September. 

Are most of your customers ‘regulars’?

Now that we are a few years old, it has become apparent that more than half our clients are new, and the rest are returning customers. We have a group of super fans that place orders a few times a month, celebrating many birthdays and anniversaries. I love seeing each of their orders, and am always inspired by them! 

What percentage of your turnover is from vegan and keto sales?

About half of our sales are for vegan gifts, including our well-loved vegan double 

chocolate cupcake, vegan cake box subscription, and s’mores. 

The keto subscription is very new, so that is still a fairly small percentage of our sales so far. 

Which NotPie is the best-seller?

The double-chocolate vegan birthday cake and the chocolate covered s’mores run neck and neck for the single purchases. The original cake subscription continues to be the best seller year round. 

As we like to say, 100% of people are happy about cake arriving at their door. In that spirit, every product we make is a best-seller!

Where/how do you find the inspiration for the next flavour?

I love this question! I mostly look for inspiration at our local farmer’s market. I love baking

with the seasons, using well-loved, carefully sourced ingredients — everything from the 

organic flour to fair-trade cocoa powder from Peru, vegan-friendly sprinkles colored 

naturally, and fruit and veggies grown within 10 miles from our bakery

We are committed to using organic, natural ingredients exclusively, without artificial colors or flavors. 

I was recently cruising through the market on a Wednesday afternoon looking for inspiration for a Fall cake. It’s a weird season when everything is pumpkin or pumpkin-spiced flavored. I was looking for something different but wasn’t sure what. I stopped in at the Windmill Farms booth. 

I love everything that Ronald (the owner) grows and I stock my own kitchen with his amazing veggies. That day the carrots were piled high on a table, and I’m pretty sure they were winking at me. So I bought some, brought them to the kitchen and made this amazing cardamom carrot cake. 

It turned out to be so amazing that we ended up supplying it for the entire month of November as our exclusive Fall cake. We made a traditional cake, and a gluten-free + vegan version. Topped with our signature vanilla marshmallow finished with a dip in white chocolate and sprinkled with candied pecans. It’s among my favorite things we made this Fall. 

What exciting things lie next in store for NotPie?

We have so much planned for 2021 — it’s going to be a rad year! A store front for local

pick-up and delivery is in the works. 

There are many product lines we want to expand on - including our s’mores products,

marshmallow kits so you can make vegan marshmallows at home in any flavor. Maybe the most exciting is the launch of a few new ways to send cakes and connect with your favorite people from a distance. 

You can find a tiny hint on notpie.com/tweet-a-cake

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