ROANOKE, Va. – Owning a business is hard, and so is being a parent. Doing both? Unthinkable for most — except for Shaneice Jones, owner of Sweets by Shaneice and mom of three.
Shaneice owns Sweets by Shaneice, a unique dessert shop situated in Downtown Roanoke. 10 News originally interviewed her about her business earlier this year on Tasty Tuesday, but we wanted to dig deeper into the driving factors of her success.
At Sweets by Shaneice, Shaneice and her employees specialize in making custom cakes and custom cookies, along with plenty of other bakery goodies, including specialty milkshakes, cupcakes, cake, cookies, coffee, and more, as you can see below.
Before Shaneice started diving into the bakery business, she worked in a call center. But she told 10 News that after her godson’s baby shower a few years ago, a woman asked her how much she charged for her services. Once she started, she kept going and going ... and the rest is history.
“I started off making cakes from home in 2019, and just basically outgrew my home from there. I started making more money than my job, so I quit my job. And just never went back,” Shaneice said. “Opening up the bakery, I have gotten more business, but even more business with the milkshakes that I’ve started to do and all of the other things I’ve created.”
While Shaneice’s bakery shop is a popular spot for the Roanoke community, figuring out how exactly to get started and keep going wasn’t easy.
Shaneice started creating her desserts without any college degree, which would already be enough for some people to call it quits, but she told 10 News that she credits what she calls “Youtube University” for her success.
Running a business as a parent
Being self-driven and learning new skills is one thing when you’re on your own, but raising a loving family simultaneously poses a challenge.
“Running a business with kids ... it started off really rough. I have a one-and-a-half-year-old, a seven-year-old, and a nine-year-old. When I first opened, before I had anybody that started working for me, I would have to close down, go get my son from daycare, bring him back, or take him to the other sitter, and back and forth. Luckily I don’t have to do that anymore, but it’s always something,” Shaneice said. “Doctors appointments or meetings or something with the schools, after-school activities. I have to like, clone myself to be in three different places, oh and sports. Oh my gosh.”
Despite the challenges, though, Shaneice never gave up. She didn’t back down from the challenge – she embraced it.
Being a business owner, Shaneice talked to us about how the business is beneficial to her family’s schedule.
“If I need to close, I can close. If I need to be with my kids, I can do that,” Shaneice said.
Something some people might not take into consideration is that schedule change that could make or break your business.
Regardless, Shaneice kept going on her own until she could hire help, and from there, she has focused on improving.
It’s all about the ‘never stop learning’ mindset
Being a mom and a business owner can make maintaining a solid work-life balance a bit difficult, but Shaneice steps back and takes a unique approach.
“I don’t think there is any balance,” Shaneice said in jest. “It’s hard not to be there assuming people come in and ask for me or they want to talk about a cake. Sundays are my ‘OK don’t go into the bakery, this is at-home style and then Mondays, I’m back at it, baking.”
And as the saying goes, children always reflect what they see – that’s true for Shaneice’s children.
“My kids talk a lot about me in a good way,” Shaneice said. “I don’t know how many kids have brought their parents to the bakery and they were like ‘Yeah, she told me to come here, that you’re her mom and you make milkshakes.’”
Now, as her children grow older, they probably won’t remember their mom as someone who just worked all the time – they’ll think of her as someone who was goal-driven, someone who is persistent and strong, and someone that loves to help other people.
“My kids keep me going,” Shaneice said. “Besides my kids, it’s just you know, making a better life for them. I get the excitement of helping somebody else and helping them make their big day special with the cakes and stuff that I make.”
And while most of her days are being led in the right direction thanks to her positive mindset, there are still some days that she needs help.
Luckily, Shaneice’s dad has been one of her mentors through the process of getting her business started, but overall, he’s been a person that motivates her to keep going too.
“It’s not easy starting a business, but it’s definitely worth it. There are so many days that I feel like quitting, but I just have to remember just keep going, just take it one day at a time. That’s one thing my dad told me: just take it day by day and just keep going. He’s a business owner himself,” Shaneice said. “I call my dad a lot and I’m like, ‘How do you do it? How do you do it?’ I’m like stressed pulling my hair out so it helps.”
While Shaneice has direct connections tied to the business industry, networking is one of the best things you can do to set a solid foundation for moving forward.
Keep moving forward
And now that she’s built a solid foundation, she has some other goals in mind for the future.
“I want to get a truck‚ like a bakery truck, so I can be more mobile and get to different places,” Shaneice said. “Right now I have a pop-up setup, but it’s hard packing my car every weekend and going to set up somewhere and then selling, but that’s the next micro step. The next major step would be opening up another location in the county somewhere.”
If you want to support Shaneice or contact her for custom cakes, desserts, and more, you can follow the Sweets by Shaneice Facebook page, contact her via phone at (540) 566-3007, or email at email@example.com.