Not long after InBev bought St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, Hazelwood resident and single mom Casaundra Bronner found herself out of a job. As the company was being reorganized, Bronner’s position in the marketing department was eliminated.
Bronner had worked at Anheuser-Busch for 11 years. Shortly before her position was eliminated, she decided to go back to school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Phoenix in 2007, and in May of 2011, she earned her master’s degree in management from Fontbonne University.
During the time she was working toward her master’s degree, her mother suggested that since she was technically unemployed and “getting all these degrees,” she should use the knowledge she was gaining on her own behalf and start her own business.
A business is born
After taking some time to consider her mom’s idea about starting a business, Bronner said she realized that one of her passions is baking, something she’s enjoyed since high school.
“I started making all sorts of treats for my family, and they always got a special cake for their birthdays,” Bronner said. “By the time I had my girls, I really started to go all out on their birthdays.”
Bronner said her daughters, 9-year-old Mya and 7-year-old Jordan, like to help taste-test her new creations.
They, along with her love of baking and the little nudge from her mother, inspired her to start her company, Conversation Pieces.
“I tossed around a few different names, but I wanted something that hinted at edible works of art that taste good,” she said, when Patch asked her how she chose the name of the company. “Then I came up with Conversation Pieces.”
A balancing act
As a single mom, Bronner said it can be tough to manage her business and her family, but compromise and creativity help her succeed.
“I love being a mom, but sometimes it is a little more difficult because I am doing it by myself,” she said. “But we get by.”
She said that since she’s crafty, creative and knows where to find good deals, she is able to give her girls experiences that some kids with “both parents and lots of money” may not get to enjoy.
She said she believes in the “just do it” philosophy when it comes to handling her busy family and her business.
“I suppose there are sacrifices I make so that my girls have everything they need, but I really don’t dwell on them,” Bronner said. “My girls are smart and are luckily willing to help out around the house.
"They know how to fix certain meals for themselves, and they know when to leave me alone for mommy time.”
Temptingly tasty treats
Bronner’s baked goods are as attractive as they are delicious. She bakes everything from scratch and even makes her own candy and chocolate.
She said that she is busy preparing for holiday orders, and this year, she is offering holiday-themed cakes, cookies, cake pops and peppermint bark, in addition to her regular items.
“Nothing is too odd or impossible,” she said. “And if anyone is having a girls’ night or women’s club parties, I do some really great cocktail cupcakes—and I’ll be adding cheesecakes to my repertoire very soon.”
Bronner said she appreciates all the business that comes her way. She wants the Hazelwood community to know that it’s her passion to make people happy by giving them beautiful and delicious goodies to eat.
“I want the items to not only look good, but to taste even better,” she added.