Woman of Interest
Founder and CEO Cupcake Kids
Jessi grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and says “I’m a country girl."
"I’ve been an athlete all my life. I like and thrive on competition. I was a swimmer
from the age of 6 to 22”.
Jessi has a BA in Economics from Harvard. She wanted to swim and train before her
first year of college. To earn money for school, she started a swim camp for kids
and in the evenings she coached a local swim team for kids 4-18. She also started a
technique camp to teach kids how to swim and teach proficient swimmers how to swim
more efficiently and faster.
After college she got a job at Bear Stearns that brought her to New York City. She
worked in Debt Capital Markets and Credit Strategy during her 5 years there. In her
spare time, as a creative outlet, she loved baking with her nieces and had a
birthday party for one of them where the kids baked cupcakes and decorated aprons.
She was asked to do several more birthday parties and hold baking classes for
friends. Jessi says “I always liked creative things I like baking and doing crafts.
I was baking cookies with my neices one Saturday and I had the idea I could do this.
This could be a business. I love food; I love kids I; love business; and I like
creative high energy environments.”
In the meantime Bear Stearns was purchased by JP Morgan and Jessi started thinking
about pursing Cupcake Kids as a full-time business. “Could I do this as a job? Would
I like it? Could I make enough money? Could this be a business?” She decided to go
for it in 2008.
Jessi says she expanded the idea to cooking since it was going to be a full time
business. She started out doing birthday parties then single classes,
holiday/seasonal classes and now Cupcake Kids does weekly classes for 2-4 year olds
with their mothers or caregivers and 5–14 year olds after school and on the weekend. “We have now expanded into corporate events like Take Your Child to Work and field trips for schools."
Jessi’s goal is to make the cooking classes for kids and events exciting and engaging as well as educational, fun and nutritious for the kids. A lot of planning goes into the
classes (finding recipes that you can do in 1 hour), shopping for ingredients and
equipment, plus preparing new programs, classes and offerings.
The biggest challenges are “Finding a balance and not setting my expectations too
high or becoming overwhelmed with the many functions I have to do.”
The most rewarding aspect is “I like being involved in so many activities. I enjoy
the work, ranging from the very tedious to the very creative, the food, the business
and the financial aspects. I love interacting with the kids at the events and seeing
them enjoying themselves.”
Jessi says the keys to success in starting a business are “…don’t be afraid of risk.
Make a calculated decision and move forward. Be excited about what you are doing.
Having a support system is also very important and helpful.”
In her spare time Jessi likes hanging out with family and friends, going to the gym
and enjoying restaurants with friends.
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