Words by Alyssa Stevenson / Photos by Mariah Laughlin
A little over a year ago Mariah Laughlin started baking up pies to pair with craft brews at Bearded Monk. Not too long after that she picked up steam on her pie-filled instagram account and her pie landed a magazine cover. While her crust skills are crazy good - she is really into connecting with people over pie. Read on to find out why you should head out to Nerd Nite next week to hear all about her life of pie.
Like most of us, Mariah works in a corporate environment full time - but needed a creative outlet that was all her own in order to stay sane. “When you work in a corporate environment you support a bigger initiative, but when its yours you get to play with it and have fun with it.” So she lets the pie lead the way, and says that she has had an amazing experience with Denton - which has been an integral part in the flourishing of Surpies.
While she doesn’t have a big sweet tooth herself, she struggles to resist a great fruit pie. Not to mention, fruit pies are the perfect backdrop for beautiful pastry work. As you scroll through her insta-feed, you can really see how beautiful that all butter crust can be. “I look at photos of pies I made for family gatherings three or four years ago, and they’re okay. I mean, I didn’t know what I was doing. You really have to practice it, and get your technique down, and sort of your style down,” reflects Mariah.
While she lives and works closer to Fort Worth, Denton has become her adopted home. She got involved in the Denton community, and claims that it has been the warm embrace of the people and businesses here that have helped her flourish. Mariah specifically pointed out the great help of the Bearded Monk and The DIME Store, since they reached out to her when they celebrated their store’s birthday, and then she sold out of her delicious wares within a few hours at this year’s Handmade Harvest. Shawna Smyth Studio even designed her logo!
While she’s taking a few more orders this year for the holidays, we did talk about how hard it can be to figure out when your creative side hustle can be a real challenge. As many people with ‘side jobs’ know, it can be tough to say ‘no’ to business sometimes, and it can be difficult to figure out how to keep something great from becoming overwhelming or overly stressful. According to Mariah, “It’s finding the balance of making it a hobby, and having time for other things too. I felt the shift when I started getting orders - and I didn’t want to mess with something that felt so organic. I know now what my limits are. If you get to the point when you’re not enjoying it anymore, you need to take a step back and make sure that you’re balanced.”
While her business is a nice comfortable small size now, she does sometimes daydream about what it would be like to run a full fledged pastry based business. “It is a really cool thing to envision running your own business. To be able to give people a place where they can come in and enjoy food, and the company of one another is a really beautiful thing.”
While she enjoys her full time job, and has worked for the same company for eight years, has gotten her degree, and built her life through her twenties, she says, “It is nice to stop and take a step back and evaluate what it is you want to do. Whether it’s a full time career, or the dream of a bakery - it challenges you to push yourself, and opens up your mind to something else you want to do. A year ago I wasn’t making pie for people, and it’s crazy to think that it just popped out, and if nothing else ever comes of it I have this crazy story to tell.”
Check out more of Mariah’s awesome pies in her beyond beautiful Instagram feed, and check her out at the upcoming Nerd Nite Denton 8: It’s Time for 3.1415926* to hear more about how pie gives her an opportunity to connect with others.
You can catch Mariah Laughlin talking in person about all things pies on the Nerd Nite Denton meeting on Tuesday, November 22nd at The Bearded Monk. More info here.