Nourishing Sweets: Meet the Founder of Elisa’s Love Bites

Nourishing Sweets: Meet the Founder of Elisa’s Love Bites
Credit: Elisa Lyew/Elisa’s Love Bites.

Elisa Lyew was working as a pastry chef when she realized that restaurants offered few nutritious desserts, which gave her an idea. The chef began a side hustle, making pastries with wholesome ingredients and natural low-glycemic sweeteners. Today, she owns Elisa’s Love Bites, a dessert atelier in New York City, which also offers shipping. Find out more in Elisa’s interview with Artisan Joy.

Credit: Elisa Lyew/Elisa’s Love Bites.

How did you get started with your business?

Working in traditional restaurant pastry chef roles, I became keenly aware of the massive void when it came to nutritious options. Most desserts are produced using high amounts of refined sugar and, in many cases, enhanced with artificial colors, flavors and additives that result in dishes void of any nutritional value. I knew there had to be a better way and set out to create my personal dessert line, as a side gig, where I focused on using only real, wholesome ingredients—nothing artificial, without refined sugar or harmful sweeteners. I also decided to make all my recipes gluten-free.

When did you realize that you could turn your side gig into a business?

When my list of customers started growing and my day job felt increasingly less meaningful and fulfilling, I knew it was time to take the leap on my own. I incorporated my business and started selling online and built the business into a boutique bakery soon after.

Credit: Elisa Lyew/Elisa’s Love Bites.

How do you define success for your business?

Connecting with consumers and sharing my personal approach to creating desserts with the local community is what I’m all about. Every time I meet a customer who enjoys our creations and understands our particular approach to creating desserts, I know I’m doing something right! I strive to maintain our connection to our customer base and am always working to expand my reach to more consumers who are looking for more nutritious sweet treats for everyday indulgence and special occasions.

Credit: Elisa Lyew/Elisa’s Love Bites.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

The farmer’s market is my top source of inspiration. I love seeing what’s in season and chatting with farmers—I always come back with tons of new ideas after every market visit.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?

It’s okay to ask for help! Don’t try to handle everything on your own. It’s okay to take breaks; you don’t need to burn yourself out to achieve great results.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start selling their art or creative product?

Start! There is no right time—just do it. Don’t worry about your product, packaging, messaging, being perfect. Get out there and start doing it! There are tons of opportunities to get your product in front of your future customers, whether that’s online, at markets, pop-ups, etc. Figure out where your audience can find you and meet them there! As you keep engaging the market and doing the work, you’ll continue to improve in every way.

Credit: Elisa Lyew/Elisa’s Love Bites.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve worked behind the scenes on various TV shows, creating the food actors eat on-screen.

As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining our art. How do you handle perfectionism?

I learned a while ago that it’s easy to get caught up trying to make things perfect to the point where they don’t get done at all! That can apply to every aspect of a creative business, from product to marketing to engaging in social media to the number of items you offer. Go for it— even if it’s not perfect yet. There is always room for improvement down the line. Don’t let perfectionism stop you from achieving your goals.

What’s something that surprised you about running a creative business?

Running a business takes so much time and energy, that it leaves very little room to continue to create. It’s important to give yourself space to keep that creative spark—that can mean taking breaks, meditating, setting time boundaries and making sure you continue to have interests and activities outside of your business so that you don’t lose the creative fire that led you here in the first place!

What’s your advice for handling the highs and lows of running a business?

For me, it helps to keep a journal as a running list of things that are working out well. Whenever I hit a low point, being able to glance at the good times helps me better deal with negative situations. Business ownership requires resilience, and this is a good way to practice that! Focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems.

Credit: Elisa Lyew/Elisa’s Love Bites.

Has someone ever criticized your work? How did you handle it?

When I’ve received constructive criticism, I take it into account and use it to my benefit and to help my business improve. Mean-spirited criticism is ignored; I don’t have time for anyone’s negativity! 

What’s a cause you are passionate about?

I am proud to partner with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a non-profit that collects surplus foods from restaurants to feed local residents who experience food insecurity. You can learn more about RLC and get involved by visiting

Credit: Elisa Lyew/Elisa’s Love Bites.

Can you share the name of a supplier or vendor that you use for your business that you just loveone that makes running your business a bit easier? 

Our coffee comes from Finca Don Vicente in Panama, my home country. My customers love their coffee, which comes in unique varieties that we are proud to showcase in my shop. The beans are expertly roasted and promptly shipped to us, and the taste is unbeatable!

What brings you joy?

Sleeping, eating, traveling, supporting other small businesses, and spending time with my family and friends.

Thanks, Elisa! You can learn more about her creative business at

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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