By Lanier Laney
Owner (and baker) of Sweet Vivi’s, Ohio native Vivi Verity got the first “taste” of her future in her grandmother’s kitchen. Vivi says, “My grandmother’s bottomless cookie jar of oatmeal raisin cookies probably got this whole thing started! It gave me a life long love of cookies.”
Today Vivi spends her days baking cookies, whoopie pies, cupcakes and cakes under the Sweet Vivi logo with her main client Lowcountry Produce but she also does a lot of special orders, birthday parties, weddings and baby showers.
“I love providing for Lowcountry Produce and I also love getting a challenge from a personal order, like when someone calls in with a request that I get to research and create,” said Vivi. “I also love my customers, they pump me up when they write nice things on my Facebook page!” Adding, “I’m honestly surprised at how popular my goods are, I mean, I like them but am so honored and excited that other people do too. There’s nothing better than hearing ‘I looooove your red velvet cupcake.’ Or ‘I need a Sweet Vivi cookie!’ Or even just seeing a kid’s face light up while looking in the case. I feel I’m lucky that I turned something that I love to do into a business. Doesn’t always work out that way. I have had a lot of help from my parents and friends in many capacities and I thank them VERY much!”
After attending the School of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Vivi decided to launch her business two and a half years ago, first at the Farmers Market and City Java with a simple philosophy: “To make fresh, old fashioned, homemade, mostly all natural, just yummy baked goods,” she said. Apparently her approach worked and sales took off immediately as everyone seemed to love her baked goods, including the vendor next to her at the Farmers Market.
Vivi said, “It was at the Habersham Farmers Market where I met Dwight Garrett Sr. We sold our items next to each other and became friends. (Actually I let him borrow my tablecloth because his table was so bare, then he got fresh blackberry juice all over it and it was ruined! Ha, ha!) He kept telling me about how his son Noel was going to open a store in downtown Beaufort and he would love to carry my goods. I never believed that the samples ever made it to Noel because Dwight had quite the sweet tooth! Turns out they did and that’s why I’m lucky enough to be in Lowcountry Produce. I deliver freshly made cupcakes everyday there, except Sunday. Usually I try to deliver at least four flavors at a time. I deliver cookies when they need them, and whoopie pies when I have time to bake them. Before LCP, it really would be on an order by order basis. I will be delivering Red Velvet Cupcakes on Wednesdays and Fridays because they seem to be very popular! Mini cupcakes are my best sellers, of course, as well as my iced molasses cookies”
In the fall, Vivi will be expanding to Hilton Head when a new Lowcountry Produce opens in Sea Pines.
Vivi fell in love with Beaufort as a young girl when she visited her grandparents Bill and Peggy Verity, who retired here in the 80’s. Says Vivi, “I love the beauty of Beaufort, first and foremost. The river, the marsh, the Spanish moss, the salty air … I make sure I enjoy it every day and don’t take it for granted. I love that I can get on the water whenever I want too. I love how easy it is to live here, easy to get anywhere, park anywhere, do anything. I love the history but also love that any Beaufortonian can be a part of improving our great town. There are so many possibilities to make a difference.”
Vivi’s family has put those words into action. Her dad, Jon Verity, is Chairman of the Redevelopment Commission for the City of Beaufort. Her mom Vicki is on the board of Friends of Caroline Hospice and the Coastal Conservation League. And Vivi also volunteers at Friends of Caroline Hospice.
I asked Vivi if there was any unusual thing she had done or hobby that people would not expect. “I can do a headstand on a paddle board in the river!” she said. “But in Beaufort, that’s actually not that impressive since there are a lot of paddle boarders.”
So whether baking a new batch of delicious cupcakes or standing on her head in the middle of the river, this mini mogul’s accomplishments are always amazing! (Or amazingly tasty!)
To see all the different flavors of cookies and cupcakes she bakes, check out her website at www.sweetvivis.com.