Here at the Newburyport Daytripper, we love promoting local people. Kirstyn Pearl came on our radar after her chocolates ended up at the Newburyport Farmer’s Market. Read her Q & A to learn more about her amazing work ethic and new company Seacoast Sweets.
Who are you and what do you do?
Ha, what a question! WHO ARE YOU? WHAT DO YOU WANT?!?! Well, let’s see, I’m Kirstyn Pearl! Owner of Seacoast Sweets (an up-and-coming chocolate company out of Newburyport), a financial analyst/client coordinator at CBRE (the largest commercial real estate firm in the world), an older sister to three kids who have my heart. That’s pretty much the gist of it! I don’t sleep much but I work hard and smart, find success in doing so, travel the world, go to a million concerts, and am just livin’ life to the fullest!
Tell us what a typical day is like?
Right now, it’s a complete balancing act. I work in the city from 8 to 6, and my lunch breaks are spent putting bows on boxes and standing in line at the post office. When I get home, I take a nap and spend the rest of the night making chocolate. The world needs chocolate, but clearly this is not sustainable long-term. I’ve been working at this pace 7 days a week since October and am happy to say I’m now in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign that will provide some relief, if I’m to meet my goal.
Where does your strong work ethic come from. Are you someone who has always been driven, and did you have a role model that instilled the importance of hard work?
I was always a little different than my peers. I skipped first grade and with my mom having me at 19, I think she was extra hard on me growing up because she wanted to ensure I had a good life. I was afraid to get in trouble and let her down, or bring home a bad report card; after I finished my Bachelor’s degree, she asked where I was thinking about getting my Masters. I also grew up always finding her under a sink fixing the plumbing or rewiring an outlet, digging a trench for a new outdoor patio. Just last week, she was covered in plaster and teaching my 8 year old brother how to put in a backsplash, something she probably learned from watching a Youtube video. Having that “I can figure it out on my own” mentality made me also believe that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. I have had people along the way act as examples for what not to do in life. I’ve also had some of the most amazing friends, most notably my best friend Rachel who acts as a life coach/mentor, recognize my strengths. They push me just as hard as my mom because they know what I’m capable of.
Your peppermint recipe came to you from your Grandfather; tell us a little bit about him.
My grandfather, Angelo Messina, was born and raised in the North End where he worked as a baker. Although, sadly, I don’t know much more of his story, I am forever grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to make something out of his recipe. I can’t say I would have tried my hand at the chocolate thing had it not been for the peppermint patty and clearly, so far, so good! I really enjoyed going to his apartment after class and being taught the process. You could tell that the time spent together was going towards something special.
I read about your commitment to donate to the non-profit Dream Big. What is your reason for incorporating philanthropy into your business? Can you tell us about why you chose the charity you did?
It was a no-brainer to be honest. While I was at Bentley, I struggled with the thought of making the rich richer for the rest of my life when here I was, an able-woman capable of leaving a mark on this world in greater ways than just climbing a corporate ladder. I had looked into the Peace Corps and Teach for America but Sallie Mae came a knocking and I quickly had school loan responsibilities to take care of. I realized that while I had to take a different path to get there, helping others would always be my end goal. I chose Dream Big! after attending their very first Gala, as a guest of CBRE. I was an athlete myself growing up and know that all those years of being a part of a team greatly contributed to the businesswoman that I am today, so I believed in the cause. I reached out directly to Linda Driscoll, President & CEO, congratulating her on her success and we have had a great relationship since. She is certainly someone I look up to—the absolute definition of hard work and dedication.
Do you have a favorite seacoast sweet flavor?
I have a coconut patty which is made from fresh shredded coconut, a s’mores patty using a homemade buttered graham cracker crust and fluff, as well as a peanut butter patty with Teddy’s Peanut Butter as a base. My favorite between these four changes every year and, in looking at sales, I can see that everyone seems to have their personal favorite as well. There are a million patty flavors I’m excited to start playing around with. We do have a homemade caramel almond seasalt bark as well, which is to die for.
Where can we buy your sweets?
I’m happy to say that I sell at Sage Market & Design and Port Plums, both mother/daughter owned shops in Newburyport, and twice a month at the Newburyport Farmers Market. We recently reached Boston, getting into Olives & Grace in the South End, Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street, and Rebecca’s Cafe inside 33 Arch Street. Summer is huge for the company—I’ll be at the Nantucket Wine Festival, the MV Wine Fest, and every Sunday, the SoWA Farmers Market! Of course, online as well.
On our blog we love to support all things local, so could you tell us your favorite…
Drivable Daytrip and what you would do when you get there: I’m someone that thinks NYC can be made into a quick day trip (3 hours, windows down, a good playlist blasting—no?), but realistically, Kennebunkport has remained a favorite family spot for years. So many cute stores, saltwater taffy, and we particularly enjoy hanging out at the Colony Hotel pool, overlooking the ocean.
Go for a walk outdoors: I recently came across Mill Pond and find it becoming a favorite spot to escape. The Hampton strip in the summer does provide great people-watching, though.
Place to get a drink: Agave margaritas and chips. Need I say more?
Grab Lunch: Agave margaritas and burritos. Need I say more? Ok, ok, I’ll give another shoutout—Lexie’s on State has a pretty mean burger.
Our last and favorite question: What are you grateful for?
Everything. Really. You know when a celebrity will go up on stage and accept an award, shaking their head, their hand on their chest, total disbelief that they won? I find myself like that at least once a day right now. It’s only been about five months of giving Seacoast Sweets my best effort and the success has truly been amazing. My friends and family remain firmly by my side, my day-job is proud of my accomplishments both in and out of the office, and the most random people have been reaching out, telling me that I’ve motivated and inspired them to start their own company. It’s beautiful. Life is good. I’m the luckiest.