“I can’t count how many times people who hate cheesecake have had a taste of She Imagined Sweets’ bite-sized cheesecakes and their face just lit up,”says Zuirrae Mitchell, founder of She Imagined Sweets. “The average cheesecake is normally thick and dense in texture. That’s one thing I made sure to not happen. She Imagined Sweets cheesecakes are very light and creamy in texture with a thick crust, you don’t get the heavy cheesy taste.”
Zuirrae, with her always optimistic outlook on things and unshakable faith in creativity potential in everyone of us is taking the dessert scene in the Tri-state area by storm. From a psychology major to an amazing baker and self-taught business women–Zuirrae’s story is an inspiring one of success and following your heart. “Once upon a time I was scared of taking risks, but now I chase after it. I realized life is exactly what you make it,” shares Zuirrae.
From a very early age Zuirrae loved to create pretty things. “Well this fixation I have with desserts comes from many many years ago, I mean when I was about 2 years old. My mother told me I was always very particular with my food plating while in the high chair. I would only enjoy my food if it was plated very neat with everything in its own individual space,” laughs Zuirrae. The artistic aspirations lead the future master baker to attend an Arts High school in New Jersey, where she studied Visual Arts.
Somewhere along the road though, she took a four-year detour resulting in a degree in psychology. Her first job out of college within the field was something she was good at, but did not enjoy. She felt like she was placed in a box and could not be herself. “I didn’t even leave the two weeks notice when I finally decided to quit. That’s how miserable I was at that job, couldn’t spend another minute there,” remembers Zuirrae. “I believe people spend too much time listening to other peoples opinions about everything and they never get a chance to take control of their own lives and of who they are.” She later studied at The French Culinary Institute in NY and took a crack at selling sweet products. “I literally sent out a mass of texts a day trying to sell my apple tarts for I believe $15… I know I annoyed plenty of people. I got about four orders the first week and, of course, these were from close friends and family just to support my new venture. But to their surprise, the tarts were good and they congratulated me. I was borrowing my mom’s car to deliver these apple tarts that I would just wrap up in a plastic wrap,” says Zuirrae.
The talented dessert-maker with a creative vision came a long way since then–finding her niche market, establishing numerous partnerships with event companies, reputable caterers, getting postlights in the press, and a steady stream of happy clients. “I’m a great baker, but I didn’t know a thing about how to be a business owner. I had to learn about business, take many different classes and go to workshops. I wasn’t very organized either. Say, I went networking and met people there, but I wouldn’t even follow up with all these amazing people. Now I give proper attention to every single business card I’m given, adding it to my contact list or mailing data. Just as simple as that.”
“It takes about 6 hours to create 100 of these bite size desserts, I don’t take any shortcuts. It’s very easy to overbake them, so it’s tricky. I remember an elderly lady in her 70s came over to my booth at a city tasting event. She didn’t look like she was enjoying herself. She picked up a Cookies & Cream bite-sized cheesecake, had a bite and her whole face just lit up! The flavors made her travel back to her childhood; she brought her daughter to taste my bite-sized cheesecakes. The lady came back five times to my booth that evening,” shares Zuirrae. Those were some of her most gratifying moments.
“Watching people enjoy my bite-sized cheesecakes always makes me happy! I was always a very shy person growing up, having my own business continues to push me out of my comfort zone. I was invited as a guest on The Morning Show with WTNH8 in Connecticut and I remember thinking to myself Wow, I’m on a live TV, look how far I’ve come: From someone who never spoke unless was spoken to, to going live on TV! My business has helped me evolve as a person.”