Melissa Jenkins, the Sweet Success Behind BAM Desserts


Melissa Jenkins, BAM Desserts

In the heart of Somerset County, New Jersey, Melissa Jenkins has carved out a sweet spot for herself and her business, BAM Desserts. Recently honored with the 2023 Business of the Year award by Somerset County, and featured on NBC New York for an impressive 30% increase in revenue within a year, Melissa's entrepreneural journey is one to be celebrated.

Melissa’s path to becoming a successful entrepreneur is rooted in her childhood experiences, particularly her visits to her aunt’s candy shop in rural North Carolina. Despite being in “the middle of nowhere,” her aunt’s small candy shack spoke volumes about ownership and entrepreneurship, showing Melisa that becoming an entrepreneur was a viable option available to her.

After receiving a grant that put her in touch with UCEDC, Melissa began working with UCEDC Business Counselor Mary Adleman. She explains that both the grant and Mary’s guidance provided the initial boost she needed, and she describes Mary’s help as invaluable in helping her navigate challenges and seize opportunities. Melissa says, “UCEDC played a crucial role, becoming a cornerstone of support,” highlighting that “UCEDC has been more than a resource; it’s been a partner in my success journey.”

Outside of UCEDC’s resources, Melissa emphasizes the vital role community support has played in her entrepreneurial journey, which is often a challenge faced by many entrepreneurs, particularly in the Black community. Melissa encourages aspiring Black women entrepreneurs to persevere, showcase their creativity, and build a network of supporters. She also warns, “Don’t share everything with everyone.” This principle, she notes, is critical for preserving one’s vision and shielding it from potential negativity. “Timing is everything,” she adds. For Melissa, pushing the “go” button on an idea is an art that requires the perfect moment.

When asked about the synergy of her creativity in baking and crafting a successful business strategy, Melissa states, “Creativity transcends the kitchen; it’s integral to my overall business approach.” Drawing inspiration unexpectedly, she designs unique treats like the blueberry lemongrass cupcake or the chocolate lavender delight. She says, “Creativity doesn’t adhere to schedules; it blossoms when inspiration is ripe,” showcasing the fusion of culinary artistry and business strategy. Stressing the importance of trusting instincts, she advises, “Avoid external influences that may derail big dreams.”

Melissa Jenkins recently won the 2023 Business of the Year award in Somerset County thanks to her strong beliefs and hard work. She's become a role model for creative businesses, showing how to blend creativity, planning, and community support into successful small business ownership. For Melissa, entrepreneurship is not just a career but a calling to break barriers and inspire the next generation. She aims to demonstrate that running a successful business is achievable, despite the challenges, particularly for Black entrepreneurs. Melissa aspires to be a guiding light in her community, proving that with determination and resilience, dreams can come true.

Check out BAM Desserts today