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Hidden Gems: Meet Yakima Jana’e Marshall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yakima Jana’e Marshall.

Hi Yakima, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Hello, my name is Yakima Marshall. I am the owner of Sweet Revenge Dessert Factory (SRDF) and the founder of the nonprofit organization, Crown 2 The Soul (C2TS).

Sweet Revenge Dessert Factory’s story started as a little girl in the kitchen with my Great Aunt Esther and my Great Aunt Clotea. They would allow me to join them in the kitchen, and learn not just about baking but cooking together. At some point in my youth baking became my main focus, it was all I wanted to do and all I started to inquire about. I was intrigued by how all these different ingredients could make up one delicious cake.

I started baking for family gatherings and close friends as I grew older. I decided to start selling homemade cakes by the pan in 2015 without even having a business name or plan. This is where my entrepreneurial journey began.

Before baking, education was my path. I attended undergraduate school for education and recently obtained a master’s degree in education, in Spring 2022. Before full-time baking became a part of my path, I was a PreK assistant and lead teacher. I remember back in 2020 before Covid hit, God spoke to me about stepping down from my teaching position to be at home full time.

I had no idea why, but I trusted His plan for my life. Trusting God, I left my job and never looked back. God would begin speaking to me about my talents and gifts in the baking arena. I knew then it was time to put it to good use, after all, it had become the main source of my income.

I shifted from pan cakes to tiered cakes, dipped strawberries, cookies, and other great treats. Without any formal education in culinary arts, I leaned on God to order my steps, the teachings of my great aunts, and the wonderful world of what I like to call YouTube University. SRDF’s cakes and treats are my pride and joy. I go down memory lane of being that little girl with each order that I bake.

I am humbled and grateful that people trust me to bring sweetness into their lives and family functions. Desserts have always been one of the most important dishes on the table and I enjoy every opportunity for SRDF to be a part of those moments and memories.

Back in 2020, God did not just lead me to SRDF, but together we also birthed Crown 2 The Soul. C2TS is also my pride and joy! There are many reasons why Crown 2 The Soul is a jewel to me. The principal reason: Growing up in a single-parent home, I was a front-row witness to the struggle my mother knew all too well. This unfortunate fact, yet, very familiar to many, is why I do what I do.

Growing up, unbeknownst to some, we were homeless several times and life was not easy. My mother, Felecia Woolridge, did a great job raising my two brothers and me alone in our home. However, there were organizations like the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association, also known as (MIFA), that my mother used as a stepping stone to get to where she is today.

I learned from my mother the importance of loving all of God’s people and not just the ones that I like. My mother taught me what it meant to be selfless and considerate of others. My mother has taught me to be who God has called me to be and how to walk boldly in my calling. For all of that and so much more I am grateful to my mother.

Crown 2 the Soul is how I honor her for her hard work and dedication to her children during life’s hardships. This is why C2TS’s mission is to encourage others to be who God has called them to be while helping them master life. We help people through love, service, relationship, sacrifice, healthy lifestyles, and amazing experiences.

I know that God has called me to minister to little girls and women, yet and still Crown 2 the Soul is for all people from all cultures, all religious backgrounds, and walks of life. C2TS is for the COMMUNITY! We are here to serve and give back however we can. We are ready, willing, and able to get down and dirty to help people.

We have served the homeless community in Downtown Memphis on numerous occasions. For these wonderful events of giving back, I am able to serve with both of my hats, SRDF and C2TS. I, along with the help of countless others through donations and volunteering, am able to feed the people soulful food with desserts donated from SRDF, all while showing them love.

C2TS has given supplies to Kipp Elementary and Middle School in the North Memphis community. Our group with the wonderful women of C2TS has had prayer calls, book clubs, bible studies, and self-care meetups. TOGETHER, we journal, we share, we embrace, and we are transparent.

C2TS has been what God was and still is for my family, a safe place. I look forward to more opportunities to love people and meet them where they are!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The hardest obstacle for both SRDF and C2TS had to be the wake of Covid 19. It was a scary time for families and businesses. For SRDF there was a time period when I stopped baking due to the fear of the unknown concerning Covid 19.

Not knowing how you could possibly contract or carry the virus back home or even pass it along to my customers was one of my main concerns. The pandemic slowed down incoming orders on my customer’s end as well, but I understood the why.

For C2TS, the majority of what we do is up close and personal with social interaction. The pandemic changed our way of delivering and responding to the needs of the community.

In spite of this, I am so thankful for my amazing team. We came together and brainstormed the next moves and how to continue doing the work in the midst of our new way of living. That is how the powerful and life-changing prayer line came to be. We moved some social events to Zoom calls and we chatted a lot on the GroupMe app.

There was so much uncertainty and new information to take in every single day, but my business and organization are both still here to serve the people in 2022.

I am grateful for the challenges because they made me stronger. The challenges of this unfortunate pandemic allowed me to move outside the box in my thinking and serving people.

We’ve been impressed with Sweet Revenge Dessert Factory/Crown 2 the Soul, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Sweet Revenge Dessert Factory is a home-based bakery. At SRDF we don’t just offer desserts separately, but we offer party packages and more. SRDF doesn’t stop at baking!

We can do your entire dessert table and/or venue. We also do pop-up shops from time to time, so keep an eye open for us at a pop-up event near you. SRDF is always ready to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings in more ways than one! There is something on our more than an affordable menu for the entire family to enjoy. Every dessert is homemade and freshly baked.

Crown 2 the Soul is always looking for new ways to serve people. We are open to receiving donations on behalf of those who are less fortunate i.e., the homeless, students, Pre-K – 12th grade (uniforms and supplies), Winter coat drive, shelter information and openings, shower services, barber and beautician services, hygiene products for all, those seeking volunteer hours, etc.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
The biggest lesson learned for me is simple – people NEED people. With the many hats that I wear I have learned to lean on the help of others. I know I wouldn’t be this far, this soon without God and my amazing village of family and friends.

As a wife and a mother of three, I need help and I have learned that needing help is ok. I am grateful for my friends who lend a hand to help me decorate dessert tables, baby showers, and parties. My team is there to always listen to me as I run my ideas by them whether it be a baking idea for SRDF or a social gathering idea for C2TS.

My team helps me package my products for big orders or pop-up shops. They have worked countless hours alongside me so that my business and organization succeed. For that, I am forever grateful!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
A.J Flores Photography (ajfloresphotography.com, ajflores1085@gmail.com, 901-679-4073)

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