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From a hobby to a business, Jessicakes Bakery is built upon relationships
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Photo courtesy of Jessica Channell, Jessicakes Bakery
...not only am I baking the cake, but I'm becoming part of their family's memories.
Jessica Channell

When she was 12 years old, Jessica Channell watched as her grandmother prepared a German chocolate cake. It was her father’s favorite dessert, and Channell noted every detail required to construct it. From creaming the butter and sugar to beating the egg whites, Channell was by her grandmother’s side, watching as the delicious tradition came to life. 

Now, she can be found running Jessicakes, a bakery that sits just off of Industrial Boulevard in Covington. 

The idea of owning her own bakery first came to light in 2004, when Channell was expecting her daughter, Alanna. She wanted to earn income but also knew she needed to be at home with her newborn baby. 

“I looked for ways to make money working from home,” Channell said. “And did some soul searching, and trying to figure out exactly how I could work from home and make money while she was a baby.”

While searching for stay-at-home jobs that fulfilled her necessities, she stumbled upon the regulations for opening a home bakery. Upon discovering the requirements, she jumped at the opportunity to pursue a passion that dated back to watching her grandmother work in the kitchen, baking that German chocolate cake. 

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Channell, Jessicakes Bakery

“Back then they didn't have cottage food laws,” Channell said. “So, I had to convert my laundry room into a whole separate kitchen in my basement in order to be licensed and be able to sell.”

At the time, Channell excelled in the kitchen, crafting delicious cakes and pies with a variety of different flavors. Things were running smoothly for her wholesale business, until The Great Recession caused her to change course. 

“Whenever we had the recession in 2007 and 2008, most all of my restaurants shut down,” Channell said. “And so I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out what niche I could do from there, since what I was doing wasn't working anymore.”

While the economic downturn required Channell to stop selling her baked goods to other restaurants, it allowed her an opportunity to get her degree and improve a certain element of her craft. 

Channell felt confident when it came to baking a cake. However, once it was time for decorating, she was lost. 

“Instead of selling professionally to other restaurants, I started working on my technique and decorating,” Channell said. “And doing custom cakes for my friends and family [and] doing some weddings here and there.”

Following the recession, baking turned from a business plan to a hobby for Channell. In 2013, a changing of jobs almost had her working behind a desk as a certified public accountant. 

However, a conversation with her fiance quickly changed her mind. 

“And he goes, ‘Why would you go the long way around to get to where you want to be,’” Channell said. “‘Like, if you want to open up a bakery, just open up a bakery.”’

With her family fully behind her, Channell opened Jessicakes in May 2013, a business with a name that had been bestowed upon her by one of her friends years prior. 

“And she was like, ‘If you ever ever own a bakery, I think the name Jessicakes would be super cool to name it,’” Channell said. 

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Channell, Jessicakes Bakery

In a market that has no shortage of bakeries and pastry shops, Channell needed a way to make her establishment stand out from the rest. While she prides herself on her custom cakes, it is her interactions with customers that she prioritizes the most.

“My customers are the best part of what I do,” Channell said. “They become part of my family. And so I take pride in what I do, and I always want to make them happy and make sure that they enjoy their cake.”

When customers walk into Jessicakes, not only are they greeted with their cake, but also with a memory that will be cherished forever. This value is influenced by Channell’s grandmother, who she witnessed baking that German chocolate cake many years ago.

Channell said her grandmother put love into everything she did, which is a foundation she aspires to build Jessicakes on. 

“Not only am I making a cake for their memories [or] their special occasions,” Channell said. “But whenever they look back at those pictures, they remember coming into the bakery and talking to me and picking up their cake, and they remember tasting their cake. So not only am I baking the cake, but I'm becoming part of their family's memories.”

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Channell, Jessicakes Bakery