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Meet Tess Levin of Fluff Cups Specialty Desserts

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tess Levin.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Every week in my childhood home, my mom would make her famous banana bread for my brother and I. She would put one piece in my lunch every day for school, and then I’d have another piece for a nightly snack. This lasted until my senior year of high school, I know, I was one lucky girl.

My mother’s love for baking transferred effortlessly to me at a young age. I would sneak-peeks in the kitchen when I was too young to help, and I would be the first person putting on an apron to participate once I could understand what baking was. My mother’s banana bread was my first love, but then came cupcakes.

Throughout high school, I would bake cupcakes for my local coffee shops and friends and family when I wasn’t at school or playing sports. Baking has always been a creative outlet for me, and it was extremely special to provide baked goods for my community as a teenager. Although my dream was to open a Cupcakery, after high school, I went to USC and double majored in Marketing and Psychology.

All the while baking for my new network and friends in LA. It was always a dream to open a Cupcakery and bake as my career. However, realizing I needed more financial stability, I majored in Marketing and Psychology and USC instead of pursuing culinary arts. It wasn’t until May of this year that I decided to take my hobby to a new level and create a business that served the Greater Los Angeles area, Fluff Cups.

In addition to my current job as an account executive at an advertising agency, I bake each night for client orders, often staying up well into the wee hours of the morning — my passion for baking and making people happy through dessert fuels my late nights and long days. I hope to continue to build my specialty desserts company and continue providing heartfelt desserts for as many people as possible.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have for sure been bumps in the road along the way, and I am certainly nowhere near where I want to be with Fluff Cups. However, without the trials and tribulations, I go through each day with my company, it wouldn’t be where it is today.

There are the traditional obstacles that any small, young business goes through such as brand awareness, cost, and ultimately making enough money to be self-sustaining. Fluff Cups struggles with some of these, but they never get in the way of moving forward and working towards my goals.

In addition to the traditional challenges all businesses face, I believe the biggest obstacle comes from within. I, like many entrepreneurs, am my own toughest critic. I will always believe I can do better than I’m currently doing and I should be farther along than I already am.

This can be one of the biggest hindrances of all, and it’s something, I, as the owner of a small business, have to overcome, and remember every step, no matter how small, is a step forward.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Fluff Cups Specialty Desserts – what should we know?
Established in May 2018, Fluff Cups is a gourmet dessert company specializing in elegant desserts for every occasion. Fluff Cups’ menu includes buttercream cakes, cupcakes, macarons, cookies, donuts, cream puffs, and éclairs. Fluff Cups got its name from a family nickname my father gave me.

When I was a wee little baby, I had the hugest poof of hair that stuck out straight from my head like Albert Einstein. My dad began calling me Fluff, and I responded to Fluff even before responding to my own name, Tess! I am truly in awe and proud of the positive responses I get from clients and the community around me. It is an extreme validation to receive such positive feedback on my desserts for others.

Fluff Cups is unique because I take classic French pastries and put an American twist on them. For example, macarons are inherently French, but a Peanut Butter and Jelly macaron merges the French culture and American culture together in one dessert.

I try to bring new, unique desserts to my consumers and always look to incorporate new cultures into my bakes. We are all from different places, and bringing a piece of home to someone through food is a great feeling. Aesthetically, pairing my cakes and cupcakes with real flowers and macarons have set me apart from other bakers in my area.

My succulent cupcakes and American inspired macarons have gained a lot of traction on social media and with my customers. My goal is to continue to innovate within the specialty dessert space. I aim to pair creativity with taste, to create the perfect treat for all events.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Persistence, persistence, persistence! It has been tremendously important to get up when I get knocked down! Not every answer you get is a yes, you are rejected more times than you are accepted, but to be successful, you just have to persist through those hard times.

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