Without a business plan or investment funding, Baked by Melissa was driven by Melissa's sheer passion for baking. "Baked by Melissa wasn't necessarily this big 'Aha!' moment," Melissa explains. "It was the mindset of doing everything you possibly can to achieve your goal and seeing every challenge as an opportunity."
In the early days, Melissa would bake night and day, seven days a week, as she was getting her business off the ground. Eventually, she landed a window spot at Cafe Bari, where her cupcakes sold out to long lines of people. "I had never even worked in a bakery before and neither had my brother, but we imagined it," she says. "You have to believe it to achieve it, as corny as that sounds."
To further refine her product, Melissa decided to miniaturize her cupcakes (they're slightly larger than a quarter) so that her customers could taste multiple flavors guilt-free. And it's a good thing she did, because today she offers a bounty of flavors — roughly 30 — of cupcakes, muffins, and macarons. Her offerings are a visually enticing mix of colorful inventions and classic flavors, including red velvet and peanut butter and jelly.
Melissa is the embodiment of the type of modern woman that Banana Republic loves to dress: fearless, self-assured, and polished, but not afraid to get her hands dirty or laugh at herself. Her wardrobe echoes this with an effortless fusion of sophisticated separates and comfortable Mom-proof staples, punctuated by lively colorful accents. As the founder of her company and mom to a one-year-old, her style needs to reflect her no-fuss, no-muss attitude, and Banana Republic allows her to do that, effortlessly and stylishly. "I need to be comfortable to be my best self," she explains.
Melissa gravitates toward classic cropped pants, versatile sleeveless tops, and soft cardigans in timeless colors like army green, taupe, and blush. To punch up an outfit, she'll throw on a pretty floral blazer. For someone who is averse to loud prints, Banana Republic's classic patterns strike the perfect balance between modern and timeless. "I think a pop of color is really great," Melissa says.
SHOP THE STORY
But the real recipe for Melissa’s success was her unwavering optimism combined with pure, honest hard work. She dreamed big, but her actions were even bigger. "I'm going to continue working my ass off every single day, and I know that's what makes magic happen," she says, palpably exhilarated by her own statement. "I'm living proof of that for the past nine years." Imagine if she had been promoted at her advertising firm that fateful day. Surely, Melissa shudders at the very thought.
Melissa's Top 3 Treats
2. Cereal muffin. "I've always loved cereal, especially Fruity Pebbles, and I've always wanted to create bite-size treats for breakfast. This flavor was one of the first in this category and, of course, it's near and dear to my heart."
3. Blueberry Pie cupcake. "Anytime I walk into a doughnut shop or bakery other than Baked by Melissa, I always look for the blueberry flavored pastries because they're my favorite. I've been inspired by this flavor for so long, and I'm proud to finally offer it."