Danielle and Suzanne Butler were determined to introduce Kiwis to American-style dessert pies. From this enthusiasm, The Pie Piper was created in early 2014, initially a small market stall at the Howick Village Saturday market, to now, where Auckland’s dessert pie needs are finally satisfied. If that wasn’t enough, in early 2016, following a return trip to Seattle and Vancouver, the Butler’s also came up with Doornut’s—gourmet doughnuts delivered right to peoples’ doors.
The Butlers worked solo until they hired their first employee in 2016, or as they called them, ‘Pipers’. Now, they have a team of twenty made up of full-time and part-time Pipers and ‘Donuteers’. The team still focuses on North American-styled desserts but has expanded to pies, cakes, cookies, and candies. All of their wares are handmade from Danielle’s family recipes, a tantalising range that consists of Apple pie, Key Lime Pie, Coconut Cream, Banoffee, Nutella, Pecan and Rocky Road, to name a few. In addition, they have 24 unique flavoured gourmet doughnut flavours, including vegan options.
“We were lucky to be a part of the initial charge of Auckland’s food truck scene back in 2014,” said Danielle. “It’s a challenging way of making a living, and you really have to love it to stay in it as there are so many unpredictable ups and downs.” Although it may seem like the ideal lifestyle, Danielle said that it comes with its challenges. She noted that to be successful, one must a) not be looking to make fast money, and b) have to be willing to work hard, and long hours. “There are so many variables, from the mix of vendors, to what the customers are willing to buy and pay for on the day. And then there is the weather. It’s a great high when you get it right, but it’s hard not to take it personally when you miss.”
“But the best thing about Auckland’s food truck scene is the community among the vendors. You get to meet the most creative people trying new things, and it challenges your thinking on what you’re offering, too.” The Butlers noted that the food scene has developed a lot since their inception into the industry. “With Auckland’s cultural explosion, the food truck and street food scene cover all nationalities and ethnicities.”
With a successful past behind them and a bright future ahead, the Butlers hope to be able to continue building their brand of ‘Pie and Happiness’ throughout Auckland. They have two more stores planned at this stage, as well, one on the North Shore, and another in Howick.
“We hope that people recognise that the food truck and market scene are made up of solo entrepreneurs, who rely heavily on local customer support. We need to foster these creative cooks and chefs as they make up the colour of our city and really challenge our thinking about food.”
“Here are The Pie Piper and Doornuts we’re passionate about what we do and what we create, and we hope that love is transposed when people come to visit us, whether it’s at one of our market stalls, or one of our stores.”