I’ve always marveled at the consistency and brilliance of Kacie Smagacz, founder of Move That Dough Baking Co., a local vegan pastry brand. When I first met her she was working with Two Scoops Creamery, making vegan ice cream, while also doing a weekend pop-up brunch with Sunburger Cuisine and Shonda Caines of EBN’s Vegan Cuisine. Move that Dough quickly became a Saturday morning ritual.
One of my favorite things to grab from Move that Dough is the S’mores Pop Tart, but it’s all delightful and there’s something for everyone. I could go on for days about how wonderfully talented and thorough this human is, but I’d rather leave it to her, so I sat down with her recently to explain what drives her, how motherhood has affected her journey, and how she views the future of Move That Dough, among other things.
Jasiatic: Tell me about yourself.
Kacie: I’m Kacie Smagacz: neurodivergent, creative, question asker, learner, rebellious, fire sign, “too much,” prodigal son/black sheep of the family. I’ve lived multiple lives in this lifetime and I’ve ended up loving them all, along with the lessons they’ve blessed me with.
I had an idea about six years ago to use my past training with baking paired with my passion for justice, nutrition and healing to create a bakery that could meet the desires and needs of folks with different food allergies or preferences.
This idea has been an undercurrent through the weirdest, best, hardest, most real seasons of my life. It’s a blessing and privilege to have an idea pay my bills, help to pay my friends’ bills, and meet needs in this community, and I’ve fallen in love with it for as long as it’s been going.
What have you learned about yourself through this business?
I was un-self-aware that I am ADHD-brained until about a year ago. I always felt different and was often told so. A lot made sense after realizing how I’m wired and that I’m not alone.
I went into business with only impulse, adrenaline, passion, naive belief — no logic, and literally no business plan. That would make some people panic, but it has proved to be a really authentic flow for my life. In a world that wants us all to be neurotypical, this now feels like a good way to honor myself.
How has mommyhood impacted your work?
When I got pregnant, I didn’t plan on it. I was able to pay for a midwife thanks to my work. I was able to work nights when she was a newborn and be with her during the day. Establishing a deep bond was more important to me than any work I could imagine; work became secondary. I’ve been able to maintain being present with her during the day while working at night for more than three years now.
As we expand in our individual ways, things keep naturally shifting to where our needs are met without having to make some formulated plan. If anything makes me believe in the universe and/or God having my back, it’s this organic happening of needs being met without knowing how.
There is a lot of “play” in your visuals. What’s the inspiration for that and how has it evolved?
I have always oscillated between extreme introvert and performative class clown. I try my best to use the privilege I have as a local business owner to be real, to make people and myself think, to make people laugh and to be authentic.
I’m now a part of a team who shares this energy and it’s been so easy to play together. It feels like a reward for the lack of sleep. Life is serious, we can acknowledge that without cloaking it in false positivity 24/7, but comedy definitely helps to take the edge off.
What are your biggest challenges working in the plant-based community in Charlotte?
Honestly most of the challenges I’ve experienced have ended up being vital lessons, in life in general and business being a mirror to that.
Trust: becoming a version of myself I could trust, trusting those around me. I come from an insecure family and upbringing, and have to work intentionally to lean into trust and intimacy in relationships of any kind. It’s not easy. This has been a repeat opportunity to learn from in business, too. A balance between knowing when it’s my intuition or my actual trauma guiding me.
Wounding: sitting with mine, curbing when I’m projecting, holding myself accountable. Other people’s wounding, too; a lot of small business owners are passionate and come from a similar drive of feeling the need to be self sufficient. This can sometimes look like a scarcity mentality where distrust and fear guide the energy. Knowing this without enabling it has been a really recent lesson. Learning that standing up for myself isn’t actually wrong, even if it takes confrontation.
Confrontation is sometimes actually the most loving thing we can receive or give, and it’s not in our control how we are received by others. It’s painful to watch other small-business owners self-sabotage by pushing away good employees and people, and that serves as motivation for me to remain open versus jaded or bitter.
Demand: whether it be quantity or flavors or my actual time — learning to have boundaries around demand has been a huge lesson. Just because it’s asked of me or demanded of me doesn’t mean it’s aligned with me and that’s OK. I’m not a bad person for having to say no and not every potential customer is meant to be your customer. The customer is actually not always right, and we can get real about our limitations.
What are your personal food philosophies?
My beliefs around most things are consistently shifting. To me that reflects a willingness to learn, which I’m down with. For a while I displaced my extreme evangelical upbringing — black and white thinking — onto food philosophy. I was essentially trying to persuade people without consent into a way of thinking that I personally vibed with.
Through the continual confronting of things like the narcissistic tendencies involved in colonization and white supremacy, I’ve since learned to shut the fuck up and listen more. All that to say, my biggest goal or philosophy at this time is to listen. Bodies are individual. Cultures matter. Access matters. Ableism is alive and well in the plant-based community, whether it be financial, physical, mental, emotional, or anything else.
I’m proud to say I shed the need to judge, and I try to just do what’s best for my local economy as much as possible.
What’s your dream for the future?
To remain “on brand,” I don’t actually know. I know I want to protect children. I want to advocate for neurodivergent people like me. I would love to use my training as an end-of-life doula more. I would love to keep extending in whatever is presented as long as it aligns.
Something that’s been on my heart and in my literal dreams is having a house with a small amount of land to turn into a creative center. No agenda, no diagnosing, just a space for folks of all ages, all brain types, all abilities, to come and work creatively and engage in something truly healing.
How can we be better supporters of your work? How can we be better patrons?
I legitimately can’t think of a way. I ran from love, I ran from my family and my circle — directly into this community in Charlotte who have shown up for me in every way for years. When my mom recently died from COVID, this community paid for her cremation. This community raised over $8,000 so my siblings and I could pay for death certificates, pay to travel to spread her ashes and more.
I could not ask for more and could easily cry thinking about how the love I didn’t believe existed — the love I actively ran from — has sought me out here, even in my hardest times. It might not be the same “business model” as bigger companies but it fits me and it has carried me in ways I didn’t know I needed.
Where can we find all your yumminess in Charlotte?
Each week I spend the weekday evenings building up a menu for the weekend. I use Instagram to post when and where items are available. Predictably the widest variety and quantity will be at Common Market-Oakwold off of Monroe Road each weekend.
I also send small batches to Plant Joy (Camp North End), Green Brothers Juice & Smoothie Co. (Foxcroft, South End and Park Road), The Hobbyist (Villa Heights), Bart’s Mart (Commonwealth Park), Queen City Grounds (Fourth Ward), Central Coffee (Elizabeth), Press and Porter (Concord), Common Market (South End).
Become part of the Nerve: Get better connected and become a monthly donor to support our mission and join thousands of Charlotteans by subscribing to our email newsletter. If you’re looking for the arts in Charlotte, subscribe to the paper for the most in-depth coverage of our local scene.