My goal in life has always been to find something that I was passionate about and would leave me exhausted from hard work at the end of the day. On family vacations, my brother and I would lie on the beach and think up new business ideas; then we’d come home and actually try to implement them. I didn’t realize at the time, but all that dreaming would come in handy. In 2008 I was working as an assistant media planner. I certainly wasn’t passionate about my job, and I guess it was clear to the people at the company because – I was fired. On that day, I called my brother, and he told me, “Don’t worry, it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.”
He was right. “Go home and bake your cupcakes; we’ll start a business out of it” is what he told me. I ran to the supermarket, looking for flavor inspiration. That’s when I thought up s’mores, cookie dough, and peanut butter cup cupcakes — three of my favorite things in the world. These went along with the flavor I famously had been making for all my family and friends — tie-dye.
Following a serendipitous series of events, I got a tasting with a well-known NYC caterer. We needed a name and a logo, and my brother insisted that it have a personal touch. We settled on Baked by Melissa. My friend Matt was twiddling around on his computer; within minutes he turned his monitor around and asked, “What do you think of this?” It was the exact same logo that we have today.
I went to that meeting with the NYC caterer with boxes that I got from the deli across the street from my apartment, our new logo printed on a piece of paper that we glued on top of the box. Inside were my cupcakes, which I decided to make mini without paper, so the aesthetic was just like they are to this day – simply designed with a little touch of the stuffing on top. The caterer loved them and from there, everything was a whirlwind. We created a website, baked cupcakes for events and holiday markets in the city, started selling at a pop up, and then launched our first retail location – a pickup window in Soho.
Baked by Melissa has always been a group vision. In those early days, I had an amazing team of friends (old and new), plus my brilliant brother, parents, and now husband! You can’t do something like this alone: you have to recognize what you’re great at and surround yourself with people who have the strengths that you don’t. That’s exactly what we did, and that is what we do today. Now we have 14 locations and ship our baked goods nationwide. It’s been a magical ride, and there is so much more to come. I feel so fortunate to wake up each day and make life sweeter for people everywhere.
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