Celebrity Hybrid Mom Gets Her Piece of the Pie

Written By: Allison Rubin

Best known for her various soap opera roles over the last two decades, Mary Beth Evans, currently playing “Kayla” on Days of Our Lives, can also list business owner on her resume. After 20 years of baking apple pies from a family recipe, she turned the delicious treat into Mary Beth’s Apple Pie Co. “I made this apple pie forever and I would give it as gifts to my kid’s teachers. I was doing that for a long time and then I thought I would give it to people frozen, not baked, because the best part about it is having the smell in your house. I gave it to people one year with the directions for how to bake it and that was a big hit.”

 

Starting the Journey

A self proclaimed “worker bee”, Evans started her pie business in 2005 after her husband read an article about mail order apple pies and told her she should do that with her own. “I said to him, ‘you’re insane, what if someone actually ordered one?’ And he said that would be a good problem to have.” So after many years of wanting to start some sort of business, Evans thought this was something she might just be able to do. “I knew that I could work for myself and that it was a good product – everybody loved it.” And work, she did!  “About two weeks before Thanksgiving in 2005, I bought a Sears box freezer and put 50 pies in there that my housekeeper, my kids, all of us had made, which was a big deal – 50 pies is a lot.  It was ridiculous actually.” Evans then sent out postcards to her neighborhood to advertise and got about 100 orders. “I had said for $5 I would drive it to their house so I was a maniac, driving everywhere. It was the hardest money I had ever made. I took the orders, made the pies, wrapped the pies, and delivered the pies.” Soon after that first Thanksgiving, Mary Beth took her pie on the road, promoting it at different food shows and in supermarkets. She has since appeared on QVC where she sold 3,000 pies in seven minutes. No small task that was. “We had to have 3,000 pies in the freezer and ready to ship out in 24 hours. It was crazy.” 

Challenges

All the success has not come without some setbacks. “I’m not really a businesswoman which is where the big hiccup of this process is. I really enjoy selling it and the Martha Stewart part of it I’m great at, but the business part of it has been a challenge. Even figuring out what to charge for something – I don’t know the percentages and the breakdowns so that has been tough.”  The shipping process alone has been a lot of trial and error. “You have to ship with dry ice in a certain kind of box and the prices for that can get outrageous so I was actually losing money with all the shipping costs in the beginning. You really just have work your way through and figure it out as you go.”   

Balancing Work & Family

When it comes to balancing family and work, Evans brings her kids along for the ride. “I had them all working on it with me. I had my oldest son delivering pies when I couldn’t do it, my younger son became this crazy apple peeler and my daughter was making the pies with me.”  Mary Beth’s hard work has also turned into a great life lesson for her kids. “As a mom, what an incredible gift it is to my children and their friends in seeing that you can take the simplest little thing that you are good at, put some elbow grease into it and make it turn into something. So that was actually a really cool lesson for everybody. It’s always been very important to me that my children have jobs and appreciate hard work.”  

Mom Advice

Evans’ advice to other moms wanting to start their own business, “Don’t be afraid.  I think fear gets in the way for a lot of people – fear of failure, fear of success.  You have to just put yourself out there.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

To order one of Mary Beth’s pies, visit her website,
www.marybethsapplepies.com