Armed with her grandmother’s pound cake recipe and an inherent love for baking, this girl started a thriving business at the age of 17.
Alexandria Marrow is her name, and she is as positively sweet as her confections. Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, she launched Sweets by Alexandria with the mission to provide high-quality desserts and happiness to all consumers. This description illustrates how she delivers both:
Imagine biting into a moist Italian chocolate cupcake with salted caramel in the center. Now imagine that same cupcake is topped with fresh mocha buttercream and served by cheerful attendees whose maxims are “You did not wake up today to be mediocre,” and “Eat cake for breakfast.”
Sounds like a sweet dream, doesn’t it?
Of course, as soon as we heard about those caramel cupcakes, we set out to discover the story behind “the best cupcake you will ever eat.” As we learned more, it became apparent that this inspiring tale was all about a girl who loved to bake and turned her dreams into reality.
How did someone at such a young age balance school, social obligations and entrepreneurship? What was the secret to making amazing cupcakes? Would she have any advice to share?
She answered all of these questions and more:
1) Tell us a bit about your background.
I was born and raised in Durham, NC. I have two beautiful older sisters named Amanda and Aleah. We were blessed with two awesome parents named Greg and Anna. I attended Durham Academy for Pre K and Kindergarten and was homeschooled from 1st grade through graduation.
2) When was Sweets by Alexandria born?
It all began with my grandmother’s pound cake recipe that was passed down to me by my mother at the age of 13 years old. I began selling the cakes weekly and every week I would sell out. I continued to sell the cake for 3 years. In February of 2014, at the age of 17 years old, I launched Sweets by Alexandria digitally. We received an incredible response and I had always had a passion for business. I was an 18-year-old entrepreneur with a lot of drive, determination, and an amazing support system, so I decided to open my own business and that’s when Sweets by Alexandria was born.
3) Is there a special secret to creating the perfect gourmet cupcake?
Yes. All of our desserts are made fresh daily using premium, organic, locally sourced, natural ingredients whenever possible. In addition, we have special ingredients and special techniques to create our one-of-a-kind cupcakes.
4) How did you balance a teenage social life and school with starting a business?
Balance can still be challenging for me at times. I try to take advantage of my one day off per week and I also have employees that work at my kiosk, so I’m definitely able to take more time off if needed/wanted.
5) What does a day in your life look like?
I wake up usually any time between 6am and 7:30am, head to my commercial kitchen, start baking, open up my kiosk for the day at around 10am and either stay until all of my cupcakes are sold or switch shifts with an employee. If an employee comes in on a day, it’s usually because I have other personal or business obligations. Sometimes my days include cupcake deliveries, personal errands, grocery shopping, meetings, runs to the bank, and sometimes just a little time for myself to keep me sane.
6) What has been the best day in the business?
I definitely would say that there have been too many amazing days to choose just one. Every day is an accomplishment and a blessing. I’m super appreciative of every day that I’m able to successfully operate my business. Some days are better than others, yes, but every day is a blessing. I will say that holidays are our busiest times and we really enjoy working on days such as Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas Eve, etc.
7) What are your goals for the future?
I plan to expand and grow Sweets by Alexandria as it is flourishing quite beautifully. I want to take it as far as it will go. I will keep dancing to the tune, as long as the song lasts, which hopefully will be forever. I do also plan to attend college and further my knowledge in business/marketing.
8) What piece of advice would you give to other teens who are inspired by you?
Go for your dreams!
Some facts about Alexandria:
- Her favorite foods are seafood, burgers, and pasta.
- If she could be any kitchen utensil it would be a spoon because “they are very versatile and they go very well with our cupcakes!”
- Something that will always be funny to her: “We know our glass display cases are clean when people run their hands into it reaching for cupcakes almost on a daily basis.”
- Her worst nightmare is “dropping one of the boxes that holds all the cupcakes for the day, when on the way to open up the kiosk. So far so good…” *Knocks on wood*
- She would describe her personal style as “girly, yet edgy. I love lots of black and gold accessories. They’re my go-to. Arm candy is a must, every day I wear a gold watch and a huge stack of bracelets.”
@SweetsByAlexandria on Instagram:
Cover photo shot by Ariel Perry.