There is an epidemic of young entrepreneurs in Oxford County and the latest one has the audacity to put her heart and soul into some of the most delicious baked goods in the area. Esther Scholten is a 24-year-old who has turned a childhood love into a career with The Hot Oven, and she credits her mom with her success. “It is definitely my passion. I have been baking since I was eight. I was always helping my mom in the kitchen. I loved it.”
She adds if not for a push from her mom the business may never have gotten off the ground. “She always told me how good my pound cake was, and that there must be a market for it and we should be able to sell it. I thought she was right, but how do you start something like that? There was a few produce stands in the area that I brought my pound cake too and they said they would definitely sell it for me. I probably sold a couple hundred the first year but that’s all I did.” Esther says she decided to add some pies to the mix and put a post on Facebook advertising her goods. “But we lived out in the country on a gravel road and of course no one would show up. I thought what am I going to do with all of this stuff?”
That’s when the idea to sell on County Road 59 was hatched. “My mom said I should put a table up on the main road and maybe people would stop. Just try it. So, I did, and I sold quite a bit that day and people would ask me if I would be here again next week.” As the weather turned colder she bought a small trailer to sell out of and as business increased she purchased a new bigger and better version with windows that open and a display fridge. The trailer is now located on the corner of 59 and Otterville Road.
Esther baked her goods in her mom’s basement for two years after being certified by public health, but life changed last October when she married her husband, Dick, and moved to Verschoyle where she now parks her trailer. She says the next step in her baking journey may be a storefront in the South-West Oxford community near Mt. Elgin.
While baking has always been Esther’s passion it was not at the forefront of her career choices. “I did have other ideas. I thought about becoming a nurse, but this was always my dream. I often asked myself what are the chances I would be able to do it? It just kind of worked out.”
There is a tremendous focus in Oxford on utilizing local products from local companies, somewhat of an unwritten rule of loyalty. Esther says her focus is on creating her delicious products like cinnamon buns, pies, bread, tarts and much more, right from scratch using as many area suppliers as possible. “I order from Potters Road Berries, Townsend Fruit Farms, Townsend Cherry Growers, Produce Express, and JTK Meats to name a few.”
The passion Esther shows in her baking is easily evident and there is nothing she likes to see more than someone buying something with a big smile in their face. “It is very satisfying to make a product myself that people enjoy. I make my customers happy. I love sweets myself which plays a part in why I love baking. It is so satisfying to turn a few simple ingredients into something that tastes amazing.” She says she has some very loyal customers, and she does appreciate them. She also appreciates her husband’s support. “I am very thankful for that. He helps me out when I’m working late.”
Esther didn’t hesitate when asked what the secret to her achievements has been. “I give the most credit for my success to my mom. She encouraged me. When I thought to myself what do I do now, she would say try this. She was always there for me.”
You can check out Esthers list of goodies on her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064419262638