Nine-year-old Staten Islander Maddie French recently launched Maddie’s Sweet Treats Shop. She bakes and sells her own homemade baked goods, with proceeds going to a new charity each month. So far, the young entrepreneur has donated to charities including the JCC’s Sunrise Day Camp, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, and the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.
“I love baking, and I wanted to think of a way to raise money for others,” Maddie says. “I want to make a difference in other people’s lives.”
Maddie is no novice when it comes to baking. She’s been making her specialty items—including chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, blueberry scones, and raspberry mint iced tea—since a young age (even younger than 9!) Her mom Ilana helps, but it’s really Maddie doing most of the work. Her dad and younger brother are part of the business, too, helping with quality control as official taste testers.
How You Can Support Maddie’s Sweet Treats Shop
Ilana and Maddie run a Facebook Group called Maddie’s Sweet Treats Shop. Customers can see the charity of the month, browse the menu, and place their orders. Then, the busy baker gets to work in the kitchen to ensure all orders are done in time for pickup.
New menu items are added each month, perfect for those of us with a sweet tooth. In September, Maddie’s featured sweet was a coconut macaroon adorned with a chocolate and caramel drizzle. Everything is organic and made from scratch, according to Maddie.
Customers can also attend monthly pop-up events in different locations that Maddie and her mom promote in advance on Facebook and by word-of-mouth.
The Business Behind the Baking
Maddie had the idea for a bake shop last year, but like any successful business owner, she took her time developing a business and marketing plan that would help turn her dream into a reality.
“I said to my mom, ‘I’m starting up a business’,” Maddie explains. “So, I went right to the computer in the basement, and I started working on the marketing—the name, the colors, the menu—and I made a poster with Maddie’s Sweet Treats on it.”
Her family was supportive along the way. “This continued for about a year, her just planning and planning,” Ilana says. “I told her a long time ago to never let anyone stop you from living your dream.”
Maddie launched her business in July of this year with a grand opening pop-up event outside her house to benefit Sunrise Day Camp. In September and October, she raised money for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. To date, she’s raised approximately $1,000 for both charities.
In addition to helping her community, Maddie is also learning the business of…business. She’s learning time management, marketing, and how to create a business from scratch, according to Ilana.
“She enjoys baking, and baking is fun for her. But I want to make sure she’s also gaining the experience of running a business,” Ilana explains.
While there are no pop-ups scheduled at the moment, you can check her Facebook Group for updates and order treats online.
Ilana says she and her husband are very proud of their daughter and what she’s doing to help others. “I’m in awe of who my daughter is, every single day,” she says. “It’s just unbelievable how proud I am of her.”
The Staten Island JCC will honor Maddie with the Next Generation Award at the 13th annual Nancy Avis L’Dor V’Dor Awards during a virtual ceremony on April 3 at 10am. Get more information and register for the event online.