Amy DuVall still can’t believe she’s baking Italian cookies for a living in Alexandria. The owner of From Politics To Pastry says its surreal to be her own boss, especially after nearly 20 years of rubbing elbows on Capitol Hill as an environmental lawyer and lobbyist.
“So far, everything is working out well,” DuVall told ALXnow. “I will say that I am definitely more relaxed. It’s very surreal to not have a boss. I mean, other than taxes and laws, but to not have somebody to report to is very surreal.”
DuVall found herself at a crossroads in 2016, after then-President Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act into law. The legislation, which significantly updated the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, took up most of DuVall’s time and energy. With the Act wrapped up, she asked herself, what should she do next?
“I have this great therapist who asked me what I did for fun,” DuVall said. “I told her how much time I spent in the kitchen, and she asked why I couldn’t do that for a living. And I laughed at her. I really did. I was like, because that’s not what I went to school for. Not only is it not a way to make a living, but it’s just what I do for fun.”
DuVall left the corporate world in 2018, and her journey was filled with twists and turns along the way. For instance, after getting accepted to attend the renowned L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, it abruptly closed. Instead, she would teach herself how to bake by taking online courses and watching videos.
She started selling her Italian cookies at farmers markets in 2018, and then launched in February 2020. The pandemic forced DuVall to stop selling at the markets, though, and all orders are now made for pick-up at her house in the city’s Rosemont neighborhood.
DuVall said she appreciates being able to live on a more flexible schedule.
“It’s frustrating at times because I have no help, but it’s also extremely rewarding,” DuVall said of her business. “Nobody can take credit for the success except for me. That’s been pretty cool.”
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