Creative. Attentive. Delicious.
Pure Sweets is an organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher bakery in Philly that will win over even the most diehard cheesesteak and soft pretzel guy.
Our modern treats are healthy in blueprint and decadent in taste. No multisyllabic additives or peculiar preservatives here: the only things you’ll find in a Pure Sweets treat are carefully curated unrefined ingredients and happiness.
I've been consistent about healthy, delicious foods since childhood and was heavily influenced by my Chinese-Burmese upbringing. My mom, aunts and grandmother would prepare banquets for family gatherings. I didn't realize how lucky I was to eat amazing food all the time. When I became a vegetarian in 1993, they didn't hesitate to prepare tasty plant-based fare for me. As I embarked on the adventure of adulthood, my love of travel, global flavors and meditation led my respect for the nutritive power of food.
Upon adopting a vegan lifestyle in 2007, my sweet tooth went through a dry spell until some late night baking experiments began to fill the void. I realized I had a product that would combine my love of animals, food and wellness into a profession that could help people eat better, live better and experience the perks of a healthful lifestyle. And thus, Pure Sweets was born at the bustling and supportive Philadelphia Whole Foods Summer Markets of 2009.
Andrea Kyan: Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Born in Oakland, California to a sassy stay-at-home mom and a devout Buddhist, chemical engineer father, I was raised in New Jersey with two much older brothers. Growing up around these colorful characters shaped me early on. After studying Physiological Psychology and East Asian Studies at Smith College, learning herbal medicine in China, studying Buddhism in India, teaching English in Taiwan, 4 months of silent meditation in Burma, undertaking the post-bacc pre-med program at Bryn Mawr and years working in HIV/AIDS and medical research, I finally realized my dream job was right under my nose. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for understanding medical school just wasn't going to happen! I've toyed with the idea of culinary school and was honored to be given a grant by The James Beard Foundation in 2010 to attend The Natural Gourmet Institute Chef-Certification. I turned it down in order to focus on Pure Sweets, because there's so much more experiementing to do! When not baking like a chemist, I spend time with loved ones, travel the world and enjoy the outdoors with my dog, Tuffy, who's always game for a round of tennis. Favorite treats: The Moose, The Frog, The Poodle, The Lion.
Chwan Kyan: Financial Advisor
None of this could be without a great dad and mom. A retired research chemical engineer and devoted father and husband, Dad came from the remote village of Tengchong in Yunnan, China. Here he is pictured with Mom for their engagement photo in Mandalay, Burma (circa 1962). After the Japanese Invasion during WWII and the rise of Mao Zedong, Dad, at the age of 14, rode into Mandalay on the back of a donkey to escape Communist China. Although his family had successful retail businesses, Dad's academic excellence steered him away from the family company and eventually led him to the United States to pursue doctoral studies at Caltech. After a long, continuous career with Exxon/Mobil, he is enjoying retirement and combining his passion for science, finance and family businesses. Favorite treats: The Ape, The Kid, The Panda.
Tommy Leonardi: Photographer
Born of a Sicilian family in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, my boyfriend of a decade plus may have lived in Philly for over 20 years, but he’s a New Yorker at heart. Tommy got his start as Photo Editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian while a Communications major at The University of Pennsylvania. He has been taking photographs and documenting the lives of fascinating people ever since, including food photography for Pure Sweets. (Find him at www.tommyleonardi.com). Tommy takes the cake as the biggest Pure Sweets fan. I started baking healthful treats not only for myself, but also so he could enjoy desserts again. After years of large bowls of pasta and sugary sweets, his body developed reactive hypoglycemia. If you’re at all concerned that Pure Sweets treats will make you fat, don't be. My Dad, Tommy and I eat Pure Sweets every day!
Favorite treats: The Dingo, The Frog, any of the macaroons.
Shari Domow Bacsardi: General Counsel
Friend, fellow yogini and (outside) general counsel for Pure Sweets, Shari and I met on a yin yoga retreat in Costa Rica in 2006 and have remained close ever since. Don't mess with this girl because she's a sharp corporate attorney by day and a dedicated anusara practitioner by night. (Here she is on her wedding day! Photo credit: Tommy.) Growing up at the opposite end of New Jersey from me, Shari whizzed through high school and studied Public Policy at Duke. She then went to Georgetown Law, and after beating the grind in corporate law in Manhattan, settled in Baltimore with her loving husband. These days, Shari continues her career as a corporate lawyer in Baltimore, enjoys long hikes on the weekends and handles all Pure Sweets contracts. Favorite treats: The Sphinx and The Panda.
Tuffy: Street Team
During those long months in the city pound, did Tuffy foresee a career waiting for her? I think so. Pictured here with my niece and nephew, this loveable mutt enjoys meeting new people, canines and introducing them to Pure Sweets. Tuff Stuff has street cred coming from North Philly and a whole lot of love. Favorite treats: all of them.