The Director of Alumni Engagement, Heather Sammons, recently caught up with and interviewed Cherise Hall about her new company ChereesieCup Cakes.
MA: When did you dream up the idea of having your own bakery? What or who inspired you?
ChereesieCup Cakes had been just a dream for a while in my head. As a kid, I was always in the kitchen with my mom, especially during the holidays, watching her put together whole meals and amazing desserts. I was always her sweets taste tester. As I got older, she let me take on bigger roles in the holiday meals, and I loved the satisfaction of seeing people enjoying things that I made. Fast forward to living on campus at The George Washington University during undergrad, baking became both a stress reliever and a cure to my homesickness. I would get all of my ingredients together in the kitchen in my dorm and FaceTime my mom to help me make some of my favorite desserts. July 2019 was when the idea to turn this hobby into a business originally manifested. I came up with the name, got it copy written, and registered as an LLC company in Maryland. I wanted to get the ball rolling and give myself one year to build my marketing and my recipes. So now, here we are. I give credit for my baking skills, my sweet tooth, and the courage to make my dream a reality to my amazing and supportive Mommy.
MA: Tell us what it's like to open a business during COVID-19.
COVID-19 has created obstacles that we could have never anticipated. More families are celebrating holidays, birthdays, and accomplishments in their own homes rather than going out, so we have seen orders come in, but for much smaller numbers. We have been taking all possible precautions when it comes to sanitizing and providing curbside pick up for all customers. Just like so many other small businesses, we are awaiting the end to these uncertain times in the safest possible way.
MA: What’s your favorite treat, and why?
My favorite treat would have to be a toss-up between our strawberry crunch cupcakes and our banana pudding treat jars. The strawberry crunch cupcakes are a take on one of my favorite childhood ice cream truck treats, and they bring back so many good memories. The banana pudding treat jars are the perfect treat to me. Banana pudding is my favorite dessert, so of course I had to create my own spin. They come in 2 oz mason jars layered with fresh whipped cream, pudding, bananas, and vanilla cookies all from scratch, so it’s just right to satisfy my sweet tooth.
MA: For your friends outside of Maryland, do you plan to add shipping at any point?
I have been asked this question a lot. I am looking into shipping as we speak! Right now, it will be limited to cookies, brownies, and cookie doughs, but I will have an update on that in the coming months.
MA: What else would you like your fellow alumni to know?
The MA community helped foster my leadership skills early, and I am forever grateful for the students and teachers that had huge impacts on my time there. It was the place where I realized that I had so many people outside of my family rooting for my success, and I will never forget that!
We wish all the best for Cherise and ChereesieCup Cakes in their new endeavor, and we can’t wait to taste their talents! We welcome you to check out ChereesieCup Cakes or follow on Facebook, but be warned—your mouth will water, and you will be craving a delicacy or two!
If you are interested in sharing with the MA community about what you are up to, please reach out to Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org.