Monday, December 16, 2013

Entrepreneur's Sweet Tooth Mixes Business, Pleasure, Profits

by Maniko Barthelemy

When a sweet iconic staple like Hostess Brands, with an 82-year track record eats the bitter plate of bankruptcy, why would anyone open a pastry business, after the company’s fall? For a New Orleans woman the answer was easy. “You just have to start,” said Imani Ruffins.

Photo courtesy of Imani Ruffins for Ruffins' Faith Pastries, LLC
Ruffins owns Ruffins Faith Pastries LLC, an online dessert catering company she launched in February, using her top secret personal recipes. No boxed cakes are allowed in her kitchen. “I love cupcakes and at $3 each buying them became real expensive, so I started baking my own,” said Ruffins. Consistent orders for specialty cakes and muffins keep her phone ringing, creatively decorated apples also popular. “I was baking for my family, trying different things and then a friend of a friend asked me to bake and it kind of went around like word of mouth and my business grew fast,” said Ruffins.
Photo courtesy of Imani Ruffins for Ruffins' Faith Pastries, LLC
Cupcakes start at $30 for an order of 24. Candy-covered apples start at $30 for an order of 10. She’s undoubtedly in a highly competitive industry but worth may be worth the risk.  Just like busy consumers stretched for time, buy fresh, flavor-filled, fully cooked meats or meals from grocery stores, people want and will pay for homemade baked treats they don’t have time to make. Experts project sweet success for the baking and pastry business, predicting $310 billion boom by 2015.
Photo courtesy of Imani Ruffins for Ruffins' Faith Pastries, LLC
Part of the reality surprises Ruffins, who has a full-time job in criminal justice and is finishing her bachelor’s degree. “I had so much unexpected business I had to shift to weekends only,” said Ruffins. The other benefit of the positive numbers, may suppress noise from her critics.  “I was told, ‘I’ll never make it without formal training or school and people won’t want to spend money because pastries aren’t a high demand and I’m going to lose money before I make money’ ” said Ruffins.
Moving into 2014, Ruffins plans to take another chance, expand her brand, and send a message to her children. “I’m working with my brothers on a plan to start a food truck business in New Orleans and we really want to work together and get our children involved in the business,” said Ruffins.
For more information, log on to or e-mail Imani Ruffins at 

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