By Lyric Hounshell
Eighteen-year-old Purchase College student, Misa Love Smith, and creator of her black owned business, Made With Love, makes her treats, “With love, gloves, and everything up above,” as said in her business’s Instagram bio.
Smith has been baking all her life but recalls as she got older, “I started to get more serious and share my baking with friends and family.” She began her business summer of 2020, a few months after the pandemic hit.
From baking at home and sharing her treats with family and friends, she moved on to selling at her high school; eventually landing pop up shops in the city and getting interviewed by small companies.
“I used to sell cake slices for $3 and then the pandemic hit, and I really wanted to get back out there and still sell to my friends. I said ‘Mom, I still really do want to be back and make this more serious.’ I want to be the face of a brand, my brand,” Smith says.
UBCTV, a broadcast multimedia company, interviewed her back in June for the 22nd Annual Health and Wellness Expo and when asked what made her want to start a business, she said, “I’ve always had a little entrepreneur thing in me, and I love to bake. I’ve kind of been baking all my life, starting from out of the box, you know Betty Crocker, and things like that.”
Over a year later, Smith has similar thoughts, “My mom taught me how to bake. I was making cakes, funfetti and chocolate, from a young age because it was something fun to do, it was a way to pass time.”
“It [baking] kept me focused and on a one-track mind.” Smith adds, “Without her [Smith’s mom], Made With Love would not have been possible. She [Smith’s mom] would take the time out of her day, her weekends, and drive me to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island to deliver cookies and brownies to people.”
Smith has a tight knit support group. She works closely with her mother, her best friend Bobbye Jean Hall, her little “sister,” Mariam Dembele, and her manager and other best friend, Xavier Carey.
Hall says, “My favorite part of being a part of the Made with Love Team is having seen the growth. My friend used to sell little slices of cake, wrap them in plastic wrap and now she has labels, she has menus, it’s just so beautiful to see the expansion.”
Dembele agrees that the process and growth is what she loves most about being a part of the business. “I love watching the whole process; her focused face, her kneading the dough, it’s so entertaining to watch.”
Carey’s favorite part is managing and being there each step of the way. “I’m Misa’s manager, I’m there for everything.”
Quarantine is what pushed Smith’s baking into a business. She recalls spending all the extra time crafting her skill and improving the presentation of her treats. Since starting college and taking five-hour classes most days of the week as being a part of the acting conservatory, time has been slightly more difficult for her to manage.
She advertises her business on her Instagram account, yet she doesn’t sell on campus and hasn’t sold in person since her last pop-up shop; however, she hopes to do so in the future.
Figuring out ways for college students to pay for her treats and knowing exactly what to sell and how she’s going to store all the milk, eggs, flower, and baking supplies in a 1.7 cubic foot mini fridge, is something that makes her hesitant about selling right away. However, she’s been planning it all out since move in day.
“There’s a community kitchen, I could definitely use that,” she says, “I just need to figure out how to condense the materials I use and make it work in a dorm room.”
Still, despite not having sold anything, people on campus have gotten a taste of some of her customer favorites. A few weeks ago, she introduced her chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies to a few of the students here, but for now, business is reserved for the weekends.
Smith’s love for baking remains strong and she puts that into each treat she makes because, “When you make things with love, it turns out 10 times better,” Smith says.