Exploring Mary Coggins’ Triple Life as Mom, Chef, Email Marketer

Written by Meg Seitz · Photography by Julia Fay

“I feel like I have a triple life,” Mary Coggins admits. And she does. It’s a pretty sweet triple life.

A graduate of Duquesne University, Coggins got her start in marketing right out of college when she landed a position with a natural gas company in Pittsburgh. Then, in 2012, she moved back to Charlotte. ‘Back’ as in she lived here before, as a child.

“I actually like to say I grew up in America,” she says with a laugh. “I’m originally from Charlotte, I grew up in Charleston, I moved to Oregon in high school, and then ended up going to a private, high school in Wheeling, West Virginia before college in Pittsburgh.”

That personal ability to be agile and flexible as well as find a new rhythm and resilience relatively quickly turned out to be a skill Coggins would lean into as a real strength.

In 2014, Coggins quit her full-time job. And went to culinary school at Charlotte’s Johnson & Wales University. While in culinary school, she took on a number of challenges including S&D’s Coffee and Tea Culinary Challenge and Bel Gioioso’s Cheese Challenge; then, she was a Finalist in the Johnson & Wales Sharkfest Competition 2015. The hard work paid off – she graduated Summa Cum Laude in baking and pastries that same year.

Around that same time, Coggins developed UChef, an affordable monthly delivery service that teaches the whys and hows of cooking to all kinds of chefs, the serious and passionate, those just getting started and even kids, by teaching them the same principles and building blocks taught in top culinary schools.? UChef empowers members to explore new techniques, cook more independently, and think outside the recipe box.

“I work with small growing companies to already established with 400k email lists,” she says. “Any size brand deserves to have the beautiful emails of the big brands, and I have them achieve that.”

In 2015, Coggins won the SBA InnovateHER Regional Challenge for UChef.

UChef became a reality thanks in part not only to Coggins’ drive, but also her participation in Queen City Forward’s Impact U program, which is also how she first heard about the space that is now Hygge.

“I knew this space from Queen City Forward, so when I was getting overwhelmed at home, I knew Hygge existed, and I knew it was an option for me,” she shares.

Though her cool, calm, and collected demeanor doesn’t show it, Coggins has really good reasons to feel overwhelmed – she runs a growing, small business and, more importantly, she’s a new mom.

While managing UChef and her career as a pastry chef, she started taking on email marketing projects; she joined Upwork, and was quickly overwhelmed by requests for work. Now, she works freelance with e-commerce companies to maximize any money left on the table with their automated emails, abandoned carts, product recommendations, or holiday promotions.

“I work with small growing companies to already established with 400k email lists,” she says. “Any size brand deserves to have the beautiful emails of the big brands, and I have them achieve that.”

In addition to her professional work, Coggins is getting comfortable with the most important job in the world – mother to her five-month-old daughter, Georgia.

“Even though we hired a sitter for a couple of days a week, it was hard for me to be in the house with my daughter because all I wanted to do was play with her,” she gushes. “I just started to figure it out over the last month or so which is part of the reason why I came to Hygge.”

This mom, chef, and email marketer now works from Hygge’s Third Ward location several days a week. The icing on the cake for her triple life? “I’m just starting to get into a new rhythm,” she says.

Looking for a go-to dessert for a hot July 4th? Learn how to make Coggins’ “No Bake Lemon Ice Box Cake” right here.

Meet the Author: Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, an agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University and Founding Partner of the children’s book series, “Bea is for Business”.

She’s an English major with an MBA, so she can talk Homer’s “The Odyssey” just as well as she can talk sunk costs – though she’d much prefer the former.

Meet the photographer: Hi, nice to meet you! I’m Julia. I’m my happiest self when my camera is in hand and I’m taking in this big beautiful world around me! People are my jam and the fact that this job brings so many wonderful people into my life is pretty special.

I grew up performing mostly in front of the camera! Singing, acting, comedy improv – anything on a stage or in front of a lens. The roles began to switch as I entered my freshman year of college and found a creative outlet through photography. My first “real” shoot was when an engaged friend of mine asked me to photograph her and her fiancé. Within moments of getting started, I knew that this was it. Telling peoples love stories, that is what I’m supposed to do! I shot my first wedding at nineteen, and well you know what they say..the rest is history! We’ve been together ever since 🙂