5 Questions With Averie

Below is an interview that my advertising partner, Raptive, put on their website May 13, 2024.

Meet Raptive creator Averie Sunshine, founder of Averie Cooks! Averie has built a loyal audience by specializing in easy, reliable recipes that families love. She’s the author of two cookbooks, was named in HuffPost‘s list of Ten Best Food Bloggers, and has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Glamour, and Taste of Home, just to name a few.

1. How do you make your brand stand out in the food space?

My goal is to provide readers with quick and easy recipes using basic ingredients that they and their families will adore and make over and over again! I want cooking to be easy, doable, and approachable, not a tedious task someone ‘has to’ embark on after a busy day or long day at work.

I want to deliver incredible 30-minute meals that the whole family loves and my readers feel proud to serve. For desserts, I take the complication and fuss out of baking to make it actually fun! My readers write to me thanking me for this, which is very rewarding.

2. What’s something people might not know about your business?

I started my site in 2009 and it was called Love Veggies and Yoga. I focused on raw, vegan, gluten-free food, along with me doing and talking about yoga; it had a more ‘crunchy’ vibe. I’m a certified yoga teacher, and at the time I was a new mom and very into all things holistic and natural. Still am—but I realized that for my business, a more mainstream approach to food (and just food, no sidebars into yoga or parenting topics) was the way to build my brand and business.

3. What have you learned about building an engaged community?

I am 100% in charge of all blog comment replies to really keep a connection with my readers and community. I interact with my readers when they leave a comment on my website telling me they made a recipe of mine for their mother’s birthday or their son’s graduation, that a recipe of mine is a family favorite over the holidays, or that my chocolate cake is what someone’s husband requests every year on their anniversary—hearing these stories and thanking, addressing, or interacting with every single reader who comments on my website is something I am very proud of.

4. What’s a common misconception about creators?

That we just ‘got lucky’ and don’t work that hard. Or that we take a few pictures of what we made and post a recipe and sit back collecting a paycheck. NOPE! I didn’t make money for 3-4 years after starting my site—considering the investments in photography equipment, kitchen equipment, cookware, food costs, and website costs—and I didn’t make enough money to live on in California and quit my other job for about 7 years after I started.

During that time I worked 16+ hour days while juggling motherhood, my personal life, workouts, and sleep…a true luxury! Working incredibly hard, sacrificing, and self-education about topics from SEO to website tech to photography are all part of the process.

5. What’s your secret to longevity in a rapidly-changing industry?

Being able to adapt, embrace, and pivot when new things come along (like Pinterest did) but also not necessarily jumping on every single trend bandwagon. I remember when everyone raced to get a Snapchat account. I was not one of those rushing! I want to concentrate on providing quality recipes that work, are doable, approachable, quick, and easy, yet taste like a million bucks so my readers keep coming back to my site! I can’t do that if I’m not focused, constantly honing in, and being really intentional.

Find Averie—and her delicious recipes—on Averie CooksInstagram, and Facebook.