Photo by Jeylin White
Marissa Kelly owner of Mrs. Sweet Treats said she likes to use Ghiraradelli chocolates to decorate her cupcakes.
RIVERDALE — If you had told Riverdale resident Marissa Kelly back in high school that she would become a cupcake connoisseur, she might have frowned in disbelief.
“I failed every home economics class in high school,” she said.
Kelly said she discovered her passion for baking while making cupcakes for her baby shower back in July. “I had no idea I could bake,” she said. “My mother was always good at it so I guess I picked it up from her.”
To say her cupcakes were a hit that day would be an understatement. Kelly said she has been baking non-stop since, and now has a business because of it.
“People kept telling me I should start a business, so I decided to do so,” said the soft-spoken, dark-haired 25-year-old.
Three months ago, Kelly started Mrs. Sweet Treats and she said orders have been coming in by the droves, mostly from family and friends, and members from her church, Light of Joy, in Riverdale. Kelly has done weddings, birthdays, church functions, family reunions and business luncheons.
“I get about three to five orders a week,” she said. That’s about an average of 20 orders a month, with an estimated profit of $500. Kelly said she tries to complete the orders a day before the due date so the cupcakes will be fresh.
So what makes Kelly’s cupcakes stand apart from the rest?
She said it’s the ingredients she uses. Though Kelly was hush-hush about giving away her secret recipe, she did say she likes to try different things like mayonnaise, yogurt and pudding. In addition to her cupcakes, Kelly makes cake lollipops and candy tables.
“I really like trying different things,” she said.
Her husband, RaShawn, 26, is her point taste person. He said it’s not only the unique taste of his wife’s cupcakes that make them stand out, but it’s the way she decorates them.
“I’ve never seen anyone decorate a cupcake the way she does,” said the tall slender RaShawn. “I’m not really big on sweets or a fan of chocolate but I will try anything she makes.”
The couple met at a spoken word event where RaShawn was performing as back up dancer. They have five boys, Rico, 7, RaShawn Jr., 5, Zachariah, 4, MarShawn, 1, and Kingston, 7 weeks.
With such a large family to support and RaShawn being the sole bread-winner, toiling away as a barber, while his wife worked part-time became increasingly challenging.
“We were not saving any money, daycare was becoming too high, so we decided we would could save money if Marissa stayed home with the kids.”
However, with Marissa quitting her job, money was still tight. “I felt bad. I really wanted to help my husband out with the bills,” she said.
The couple said her starting her own business has been a true blessing.
“I love that I can do something I love, help my husband financially and I’m able to stay home with children — I hate daycares,” said Kelly. “I really enjoy baking. It’s my passion and I love doing it every day.”
“I just like that she’s happy and doing something that she loves and I’m in full support of what she is doing,” her husband added.
The young couple said they have big plans in the future. Kelly said she wants to open up a bakery in Riverdale and her husband aspires to have his own barber shop.
Kelly’s mother, Terry McGrady, is the chief financial officer of Mrs. Sweet Treats. McGrady said 10 percent of the monthly income from her business goes to modest-income families to purchase a computer.