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From Employee to Entrepreneur: Sarah’s Journey From the Corporate World to Edible Artistry

Owner of Painting With Sugar, Sarah Lamoureux standing outside in front of Hill-Stead Museum
Photograph by Alicia Ann Photographers

In a world where career paths are often linear, some individual’s paths are marked with branches of varyingly trodden trails, loops and even ravines to be navigated. Some choose to embark on unconventional journeys, embrace their passions and create their own success stories. Meet Sarah Lamoureux, a remarkable woman who redefined success by forging her own path, forsaking a lucrative corporate career to pursue her vision for her life. With a BA degree in fine arts, an innate talent for baking, and an indomitable spirit, Sarah's story is an inspiring testament to resilience, creativity, and the power of pursuing one's dreams to design a life entirely your own..

A Career Shift Rooted in Passion: Turning off the secure path and into the unknown

Sarah's journey began with a promising career in the corporate world, with a level of job security and financial stability that can often be hard to find in today’s world. After years of working in restaurants for very little money, staggering amounts of debt and no real direction for her future, this new career was a beacon of hope at first. It was in a field she had no education in and frankly very little interest, but armed with will power and a predilection for rapid learning, she found herself excelling in her roles, achieving financial and professional success. However, beneath the façade of success, her physical and mental health were suffering in a hostile work environment and her soul yearned for something more fulfilling and creatively expressive. She was determined to make a change, no matter how many people around her told her she would be crazy to leave. “This is only temporary” was her mantra for almost 8 years while she made the most of all the opportunities made possible by that job and began setting the stage for her future life. She put every penny she made toward eliminating all her debt, buying a home in the state she wanted to live in and into her dream of a very different life than the one currently laid in front of her.

Cultivating Culinary Artistry: Creating a new career path, from employee to entrepreneur

earl grey macarons

Baking had become a creative outlet when 60 hour work weeks prevented her from engaging in other forms of art and hobbies. Crafting delectable masterpieces to share with her favorite co-workers was a ray of sunshine in the windowless building they worked in. With each dessert she baked, her passion for culinary artistry grew stronger. She often heard “You should open a bakery!” but would just smile and laugh at such an outlandish idea, never even considering that could be in her future. It wasn't until after the birth of her first child that she realized her true calling lay in the world of entrepreneurship and confections.

With the corporate world firmly behind her, in a new state, a new home and a newly one year old baby in her lap, Sarah decided to open her own business.

pastry case filled with macarons at farmers market, shades of pink and cream

The exit from her career and transition across state lines had been carefully calculated, but there were some curve balls thrown the new family’s way. While she was home most of the time with her baby as planned, she wanted the freedom to quit the night job she had taken to make ends meet. She found herself in the restaurant world again, somehow making less than ever before, and felt like she'd taken a massive step backward even as she'd charged ahead in life. She was fed up; she wanted it all, to be a stay at home mother and the independent working person she was accustomed to being, but how does one achieve that? Owning a business was the answer. “You should open a bakery” began ringing in her ears, and rather than inducing panic and laughter, it suddenly made a lot of sense. It felt possible, it was indeed possible, and so that's what she did. She had mastered the French macaron and was the only baker at that time who made them locally, so she opened up a sole proprietorship called Vivienne’s Petite Parisian Pastries and began selling at her local farmer’s market.

Painting With Sugar: The birth of a luxury wedding cake business

Despite selling out every market, she wasn’t able to quit her night job yet. And now on top of it, she was working on her business from the time she got off work at midnight until 4am, with parenting duties beginning at 6-7am when the baby woke up. She was exhausted. Enter, her second pregnancy, which came with illness so severe she was forced to quit her job and take a break from her business. When the illness abated however, with her life as an employee finished for good, and a few more hours of sleep each night, she was able to really unleash her creativity.

custom decorated royal icing cookies, navy butterfly with half of wings covered in blooming flowers piped in royal icing

With a desire to create edible artworks that could tell stories and evoke emotions, Sarah added to her menu and eventually decided to channel her energy into mastering the art of cake design. Despite having no formal training in baking, her intuitive understanding of flavors and textures, meticulous nature and her fine arts background, laid a strong foundation for her journey. From learning the delicate art of sugar flowers to perfecting buttercream techniques and fondant sculpting, she embraced each opportunity for growth and continues to seek out new challenges. Her unwavering determination and commitment to excellence propelled her forward, through creative setbacks and all the very uncreative tasks involved in running and growing a business.

two tier minimalist wedding cake in white with blush marbling and painted crimson linework rose. Cake table in green house at House and Hound Wedding venue in New Hampshire
Photograph by Kate Rautenburg Photography

With a growing portfolio of stunning cake and cookie designs and a roster of happy clients, Sarah decided to refocus her business with a new name more encapsulating of her true passion, Painting With Sugar. Sarah's unique approach to cake design blends her artistic sensibilities and her ability to read client’s desires and vision with her culinary prowess to create cakes that transcend the ordinary, capturing the essence of each couple's unique journey.

A Journey of Fulfillment: Reclaiming Creativity

Sarah's transition from the corporate world to the realm of luxury wedding cakes and edible art was marked by challenges and triumphs, both in business and personal life. Sitting in her cubicle dreaming up her future all those years ago, Sarah never even considered entrepreneurship but this journey has been more rewarding than she could have ever imagined. It continuously surprises her how much she has grown as a person as a result and the sparks of inspiration she sees in her own children as they grow up living in the creative little haven of their home and experience small business ownership firsthand. A time management maven, she wove the responsibilities of raising a family, running a business, and home-educating her children into a harmonious symphony. Her home is part bakery and part classroom where creativity and learning flourish in tandem. Through perseverance, dedication, self-exploration and an unyielding passion for creativity, she transformed her life and career, finding fulfillment in creating edible art that bring joy to others' special moments.

Inspiring Others: Follow your dreams

Owner of Painting With Sugar, Sarah Lamoureux pictured with a woodland theme cake in realistic tree bark motif with edible moss, gum paste mushrooms, piped lichen and tiny fairy details

Her story serves as an inspiration for those who dare to step away from conventional paths and follow their hearts. For individuals who find themselves at crossroads, questioning their own journey. she encourages others to embrace change, seek creative outlets, and cultivate a life that aligns with their dreams. Her journey is a testament to the transformative power of perseverance and the boundless possibilities that lie within each of us. “Where there’s a will there’s a way” is a centuries old saying, but it’s a motto that Sarah lives by and it has served her well for over 30 years.

Sarah's journey showcases the transformative power of pursuing one's vision for their lives, no matter how far away that vision may feel in the moment.

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