Like a lot of kids, Lauren Elsasser spent a lot of time at her babysitter's house. Unlike a lot of babysitters, her sitter was a buggy-driving Mennonite woman who often baked goodies from scratch.
Elsasser enjoyed her sitter's creations so much that she baked at home whenever she had a chance. Eventually her hobby grew into a blog
, with followers who encouraged her to sell her baked goods. "I never thought about the concept of selling my baked goods," says Elsasser, now a junior at Susquehanna University
. "It was always just creating something."
Now she specializes in cupcakes and whoopie pies, those Pennsylvania German treats consisting of two round pieces of cake encasing a thick layer of frosting. Elsasser's business, Miss Cupcake, provides specialty flavors like carrot cake and maple bacon. A sub-specialty is whoopie pie bars for parties, where guests can make their own whoopie pies from a buffet of cake and icing flavors.
Elsasser teamed up with a Susquehanna senior, Josh Rogers, during a class in which one of the assignments was to write a business plan. The business they created, Let's Make Whoopie
, combines Elsasser's baking creativity with Rogers' idea for a clothing line. It includes shirts and aprons with the Let's Make Whoopie logo.
Rogers and Elsasser entered their business into a venture contest sponsored by the Greater Susquehanna Keystone Innovation Zone
and won first prize, netting $5,000. The team plans to launch a new website and hopes to open a storefront location.
Source: Lauren Elsasser, Let's Make Whoopie
Writer: Rebecca VanderMeulen