Enjoying the Sweet Life, Meet Kupcakerie Co-Owner Kascha Adeleye
Q: I understand it all started when you baked your first cupcake without help from any ready-made box from a grocery store. Can you share with us, what encouraged you to begin baking from scratch?
KA: My first passion is for teaching, which naturally makes me a nerd with a weird love for science. I was curious to see what would happen as I used different ingredients. An extra ¼ tsp of salt or baking soda makes a HUGE difference. This need to explore and expand my creativity is what got me baking outside the box … literally!
Q: You initially stared by selling cupcakes online … how did that go for you?
KA: I’ll never forget the very first online order we got, for two dozen red velvet cupcakes. My husband and I had no clue this would work, but slowly, one order a week, turned into one order a day. I would bake, he would deliver. We even shipped across the United States back then. Selling our cupcakes online allowed us to save enough money to open our storefront, completely debt free.
Q: Did you ever think you would see yourself in this role as a business owner going from online to a storefront business?
KA: I never imagined entrepreneurship as a career path. I started my career as a teacher right out of college, and I still hold a position in a school today. I never imagined I would walk into a bakery café that belonged to me. Kupcakerie has grown well beyond what I thought it ever could be, but I have an amazing partner in my husband - I think he knew this would happen all along.
Q: Can you share with us some of the names you have for your kupcakes and the how you name them?
KA: Naming cupcakes is probably one of our favorite things to do as a Kupcakerie team. When we create a new flavor, we all throw out crazy names, and we vote for which one we like the best. Some of our originals were named by Henry and myself, but favorites like “Peanut Butta Have My Chocolate” and “Germaine Jackson” were named by customers. My personal favorites, name-wise, are “Tall, Dark, and Handsome”, “Hot and Bothered”, and “What are Nu-Telling Me?”
Q: Do you see the business expanding in the future?
KA: That’s the plan! We’ve already started scouting places for a second location. Our current challenge is growing our current team to manage our flagship store in East Point before we move on to location number two. Futuristically speaking, we’d like to have several shops in Atlanta before moving into the city of our Alma Mater, Athens.
Q: Tell us about some of your popular kupcakes your customers come back for? Which is your favorite?
KA: Our top five cupcakes are Red Velvet, Main Squeeze, Scarlet Letter, Jazzy Jane, and Cookies and Dreams. It’s hard to narrow down my favorite, it changes by the week. If I had to pick one, it would be Birthday Cake. It’s a classic, like the birthday cakes your mom probably made growing up. A yellow cake with chocolate fudge and sprinkles. Yum!
Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?
KA: I got my very first job at age 15 working at Bi-Lo, a grocery store, in Augusta, GA. In the role of a cashier, you learn the importance of customer service. Working in retail prepared me for my role in teaching and as a business owner. As much as it pains those that work in the restaurant business, the customer is always right, and the experience you provide for them is what keeps them coming back. That was an early lesson learned.
Q: What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
KA: There have been so many! The biggest would be the fear of getting started. There’s something about that first step that freaks me out. I’ll never forget the first day of our soft opening. Henry and I just couldn’t take down the brown Kraft paper that covered the windows. We looked at each other, and said, “Are you going to do it?” Neither one of us could get up the nerve; so, my mom snatched it down. We sold out of cupcakes that day. Suffice it say, I don’t hesitate to dive in headfirst anymore.
Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?
KA: Our key lime cupcake was considered the best cupcake in Georgia based on our Yelp reviews! I couldn’t believe it. Georgia has TONS of bakeries that have been in business for years! We got recognized in our first few months.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
KA: The team that you build, the way you treat them, that’s what creates a successful business. Our Kupcakerie team is the most amazing group of people, and they’ve become our family. As someone who never liked group work in college, I’ve come to find that surrounding myself with a village has made Kupcakerie what it is today.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
KA: Is it cliché to say my mother? She’s a former soldier, breast cancer survivor, and the friendliest human being I have ever met. She’s never met a stranger. She would do anything for anyone without hesitation. Her selflessness has always inspired me. The mother she has been to me is what I strive to be for my daughter every day.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
KA: Underestimation. Women are still being underestimated daily in the workplace. Even in my career as a teacher, I found that most leaders in education are men, while most of the boots on the ground, are women. When you’re the only female principal or assistant principal at the table, everyone wonders why you’re there. For Kupcakerie, people are often surprised that I’m an owner, not just a baker.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
KA: Show up and show out every single day. Be exactly who you are when you come to work every day, without fear. If someone doesn’t like it, man or woman, quit, find another job, or hell, start your own business.
Five Things About Chef & Owner Kascha Adeleye
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Alexander Hamilton, and yes, it’s because of the musical. I read his biography in preparation for seeing the play, and it was fascinating. I imagine building a country from scratch is damn difficult. I’d love to find out more about that affair with Maria Reynolds, too.
2. What’s the best advice anyone’s given you?
What’s meant to be will be. I can’t even remember who said it to me and at what point, but it’s let me live life without worry.
3. What’s your favorite movie?
Easy … Hands down, The Godfather.
4. Do you have a favorite quotation?
“Make sure everything you do is so completely CRAZY, it’s unbelievable.” -Roald Dahl
5. What place you always dreamed about visiting?
Are you handing out trips to Fiji? I’ll take it!