Our interview was conducted with Jennifer Marich, the owner and head baker of Sweetest Moments, LLC; a sustainable bakery based in Manalapan, NJ that specializes in custom cakes and pastries. As a female minority who owns a small business, Jennifer is committed to her employees. She gives back to the community and battles gender inequality, both while simultaneously playing her part in eradicating hunger through offering food donations and eliminating poverty and food wastage.
St. John's University
What makes Sweetest Moment innovative is its mission to serve the community. Jennifer did this by creating a made-to-order system which allowed her to save both money and time since she doesn’t have to prepare a large number of pastries in advance. What makes her made-to-order system innovative is that it allows customers to place custom orders. Jennifer also works one-on-one with her customers to ensure they are satisfied. This makes the customer experience more personalized. This also makes her business stand out since it makes her products & service special, and makes the customer the center of her business.
There are times that orders are left unclaimed. When this happens, Jennifer takes the opportunity to donate the unclaimed orders to her local homeless community. Jennifer has also created a bakery workshop to uplift community members. Jennifer’s goal in her mentorship is to prepare and give others the tool to venture out and create/run their own business. By providing this mentorship, she is uplifting people from her community to overcome poverty. Within her bakery business, Jennifer has strived to use sustainable ingredients. She does this because she recognizes the impact that her business could have on the environment if she does not use those ingredients. Jennifer strives to expand her education to grow her skills through her business.
Jennifer grew up in the urban district of Newark, NJ with humble beginnings. A curious and observant child, she was aware that her family and neighbors were struggling to make ends meet and were not privy to the luxuries of households in surrounding communities. As she got older, she was determined to find a way to contribute to improving and elevating her community. Coming from a Latina family, she saw how food brought people together, regardless of social status, and allowed everyone to be rich in spirit. Immediately, she knew that she was going to use her love of baking to create something special in the community. Her actions and decisions she made at that time have molded her into the individual she is today. That was the beginning of a sweet journey.
Additionally, not having an abundance of food growing up, she did not want to take for granted the food she did have. She wanted to be intentional with her resources and be focused on baking with simple ingredients. She was determined to uphold this principle whether she was baking to fulfill client orders for donations at charity events, fundraisers for organizations supporting minority groups, members of the LGBTQIA community, or for baking workshops.
As one of the founding members of the NJ Home Bakers Association, she was able to advocate through meetings with senators and the governor to bring cottage food laws to NJ. Their effort was successful in October of 2021. This new law allowed individuals to sell non-refrigerated items from their homes. Her advocacy was instrumental in the passing of this law which gave individuals a manner to derive a source of income or supplemental income to boost their quality of life and in many cases raise them above the poverty level.
Sweetest Moments' made-to-order system has helped reduce waste in terms of food, product, and supplies which reinforces Jennifer’s focus on sustainability. When items are not picked up, they are donated. This practice contributes to great societal (community donations) and environmental (limited waste) impact and it also benefits her business. By operating on this made-to-order model, it minimizes the bakery’s costs, thus, maximizing the bakery’s profit.
While it is evident Jennifer operates her business with the community at the forefront of her mind, the good business practices she has established have fostered a successful bakery and platform which enables her to continue giving back to her community.
In addition to deep community advocacy work. Jennifer's free baking workshops have prepared many to be financially more independent. This has become more relevant during the height of COVID when many were left unemployed. Her generous efforts have also attracted good publicity. She is often asked to be a part of community events where she can continue to promote her business and has even been featured on the local news.
Jennifer Marich, Founder/CEO
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Manalapan, NJ, US
Business Website: https://mysweetestmoments.com/
Year Founded: 2016
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Sweetest Moments is a custom-made-to-order bakery located in NJ, USA. The owner takes advantage of her successful business to empower her community.