By Renee Foose, Special to the AFRO
At a time when women-owned businesses are among the fastest growing start-ups in the country, a pair of talented, energetic, and entrepreneurial minded teenagers have found a niche within their community and have launched a catering business specializing in gourmet cupcakes and healthy eats. Erin Bowman, 17, and her sister Lena, 16 established Sistahs’ Sweet, a baking company that deliver custom made treats. They’ve distinguished themselves as not only accomplished bakers, but as performers, offering to deliver any baked goods with the promise of a singing telegram.
The idea came to them following years of watching their mother and family members cook. “We have a passion for cooking and baking from watching our mom cook,” said Erin. “Initially our customers were our family members,” said Lena, “now we have a customer base that extends to the Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia area” she said.
Between 2007 and 2012 the rate for female owned businesses grew by 27 percent versus black female-owned at 67 percent the Census Bureau reported. This growth continues in spite of the challenges black women face as entrepreneurs, including funding sources for capital and discrimination within the business and start-up community.
However, the continued innovation of technology continues to propel this generation of entrepreneurs forward. Through the use of social media and word of mouth the pair have grown their business with a regular customer base. Many of the cupcake flavors they develop come from customer suggestions and through Erin’s love of chemistry and experimenting. In addition to baking, they have given cooking demonstrations and routinely visit Baltimore City schools to discuss how to eat healthy and how to have fun cooking. Having access to a commercial kitchen, they often recruit family members and friends to help them bake when orders exceed normal volume.
“We don’t have any one working for us at this time, but we hope to expand to more product lines in time and eventually hire staff” Erin said.
In addition to baking healthy cupcakes, Erin and Lena have also developed a line of scented body scrubs. Orders for Valentine’s Day are being accepted at www.sistahsweets.com or by calling 410-889-6100.