UB student turns lifelong baking skill into baking site brennabun.com
Brenna Ferney went from her mother's special helper to being her own boss
Brenna Ferney kick-started her business at the age of 4 as her mother’s “special helper.”
The sophomore communication major went from mixing batter with her mom’s supervision to building her own baking business, creating custom sweet sixteen cakes, red velvet donuts and Nutella s’mores bars.
Although Ferney has been baking alongside her mother for as long as she can remember, her business began when she baked brownies from scratch for her 11th grade physics class.
“Just for fun I added chocolate wafer cookies into the batter,” Ferney said.
She said the brownies came out so good, she was eager to show them off to everyone she knew. After presenting the brownies to her physics class, her friends were “obsessed” and they initiated “Brownie Friday.”
Every Friday, Ferney would bake different types of brownies from scratch and bring them to her physics class.
“Eventually brownies turned into cookies, cakes, cupcakes and more,” Ferney said. “That’s how it all began.”
Three years later, Ferney couldn’t believe the business that took off from her creations.
Last April, when Ferney’s business starting booming, she looked for a way to organize her orders and share her ideas. That’s when brennabun.com was born.
On the site, she shares recipes for some of her favorite “not-so-secret” recipes. She rates each recipe with a difficulty level, cost and provides step-by-step instructions and ingredients to make each dessert.
Through the website, visitors can see some of the desserts Ferney makes and place orders for them directly.
Her Instagram account features the desserts she makes daily. Her followers often comment on her Instagram pictures looking to place orders for the desserts in the photograph.
“I had been baking for a while when Instagram first came out,” Ferney said. “So once I started posting pictures of the things that I baked, people in high school started asking me to bake them things.”
Once high school prom season started, boys from Ferney’s school ordered cupcakes from her as a way to ask girls to prom.
“After [prom season] the business took off on its own,” Ferney said.
Alyx Lewis, a sophomore communication major, met Ferney when they were both 2 years old in pre-school.
“She asked me to be her best friend,” said Lewis. “I didn’t realize then that the kickbacks would be so good.”
Lewis has been Ferney’s biggest fan since she first brought in brownies to class.
“Her oatmeal cookies are my favorite,” Lewis said. “Or maybe her banana cream pie, I really can’t decide.”
Lewis said Ferney bakes for every occasion she can think of – birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations for friends and family.
Ben Pfeffer, one of Ferney’s best friends, admires the effort Ferney puts into each dessert.
“Last summer at sleep-away camp, Brenna came up on visiting day with treats for all of her friends who still worked at camp,” said Pfeffer. “She made individually wrapped gift bags filled with all sorts of baked goods for us.”
While many of Ferney’s friends were hoping for a storefront in Ferney’s future, she no longer plans to pursue that path.
“Originally opening up my own store was the dream,” Ferney said. “But after going through a year and a half of business school, I know it’s not an easy thing to do.”
For now, Ferney is happy baking on the side and just for fun.
“But if I won the lottery, I would totally turn ‘brennabun’ into a storefront,” Ferney said.
Lewis said she sees Ferney as the perfect mother, baking for all of her children’s bake sales and school activities.
“She’ll be married with kids and cooking for every occasion that requires some type of snack,” Lewis said. “And she’ll be great at it.”