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Posted on Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Two Ann Arbor women look to boost people's confidence with baked goods business

By Lizzy Alfs


Melissa Sundermann and Gingie Gauger of Fresh Baked Confidence, an Ann Arbor baked goods business launched in 2012.

Courtesy photo

Melissa Sundermann and Gingie Gauger believe that fueling people’s minds is just as important as fueling people’s bodies.

So when the Ann Arbor physicians, mothers and entrepreneurs launched a baked goods business in 2012, they decided to make healthful snacks with motivational messages wrapped in the packaging.


Ann Arbor company Fresh Baked Confidence can make customizable gift baskets for events and holidays.

Courtesy photo

Called Fresh Baked Confidence, the company’s 11 different baked goods are popping up around the Ann Arbor area, from the People’s Food Co-op to Greenhills School and WideWorld Sports Center.

The products have catchy names — like “Believe-in-yourself banana muffin” and “Choc full of goodness granola cookie” — and they are preservative-free with mostly natural ingredients. Two of the products also are gluten-free.

“We’re both physicians, so we care about taking care of our bodies and healthy eating, and we try to do that for our families,” Sundermann said.

Gauger added: “When you look at some products that are available (on the market), you read the ingredients list not knowing what they are. I just feel like there are a lot of unknowns in our consumer industry.”

Similar to a fortune cookie, when customers unwrap Fresh Baked Confidence products, a motivational message is tucked inside. Messages like “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work” are meant to inspire consumers.

“It’s part of our mission that we strive to empower,” Sundermann said.

Sundermann and Gauger now rent space at Ann Arbor’s Juicy Kitchen restaurant to bake. Eventually, they hope to have their own commercial kitchen.

To help improve the Fresh Baked Confidence’s packaging and marketing plan, students at Michigan State University’s School of Packaging and Univeristy of Michigan’s Ross School of Business are working on semester-long projects that focus on the company.

“It’s a wonderful experience to work with these students who are bright and motivated…we’re really grateful for their help,” Sundermann said.


Melissa Sundermann and Gingie Gauger, owners of Fresh Baked Confidence, hope to expand into larger grocery stores and grow their gift basket business.

Lizzy Alfs |

Once the packaging is improved, the goal is to bring Fresh Baked Confidence products into larger grocery stores and expand throughout Michigan. Sundermann and Gauger also hope to grow their gift basket business to compete with companies like Edible Arrangements. They’ve made customizable gift baskets for sports teams, medical residents at a U-M hospital department and various special occasions.

“Right now, it’s just the two of us, but we’ll quickly be needing to hire part-time employees and possibly interns,” Sundermann said.

Sundermann and Gauger acknowledge the baked goods business is flooded with competition, but they believe their motivational message sets them apart. And they both agree: they won't be selling Fresh Baked Confidence products without the message, even though it would save time and energy.

“We felt like, from the beginning, that’s what made us unique,” Gauger said. “There are a lot of products already out there…our belief is to motivate and nurture your mind and your body.”

The baked goods cost between $2 and $3 and can be ordered on the Fresh Baked Confidence website. Fresh Baked Confidence products also are sold at Ann Arbor’s People’s Food Co-op, Greenhills School, U-Go’s at the University of Michigan Union, Juicy Kitchen, WideWorld Sports Center, Chelsea Farmers Market and the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 11:05 a.m.

Kudos to the doctors. Clever idea.

An Arborigine

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

Any SSRI additives in these "feel good" treats?


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

Apparently someone saw the series "Hung" and ripped an entrepreneurial page from the less obvious businesses choices. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Ellis Sams

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

Does overeating these treats lead to obesity and over confidence?


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

I bought one of their bars at a Farmers Market in the summer of 2011 when I was in the middle of the 2 year program I was taking in college. I was hating it at the time because I was in my late 40s and had a lot of homework and no life! The slip of paper inside said, "Nobody ever said it would be easy. They said it would be worth it." That really hit home and I kept that slip of paper and I still have it. It turns out that it was true!! I did finally graduate and it has been very worth it; I am loving my new career! By the way, the granola bar was delicious!!

Judy Freedman

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

I am so impressed. I hope the cookies are made from whole grain. At the leading health food stores you cannot buy a birthday cake or a desert made with whole grain. You really need that to offset the sugar. Best of luck!


Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

Judy, You can find a list of ingredients on their website. It looks like they do use whole grains.