Curiosity, a sweet-tooth and a whole lot of ambition are what lead Kenesha Lewis, owner of Iced-Iced Baby, to become an entrepreneur.
The creative candy maker is turning a lot of heads with her unique creations: “I know when someone gets my product I’m bringing joy to an occasion,” says Kenesha. “The best part is just knowing that the thing you created makes someone happy.”
Originally a baker, Kenesha reinvented herself as a custom lollipop creator after finding inspiration from an Instagram post. “There were these awesome, cute lollipops by this maker in Australia,” she explains. “I spent over a year trying to figure out how she got the paper in the candy. I found out it was the most simple thing!”
Her products range from glitter lollipops to edible images, and even a candy cassette tape. “I love creating something different and new, and I get to play with silicone…I make the moulds myself.”
Since the beginning of her business journey, Kenesha has had a vision, but she discovered when looking for help to get started, not everyone could see her potential. “No one listened. It was just: no, no, no,” she says. “I felt shot down.”
She had connected with ACCESS years ago at an event and kept the website bookmarked on her laptop but hadn’t followed up. But when she found ACCESS again at a business incubator, it seemed like a sign, so she decided to reach out for help.
“It felt like someone believed in me.”
“When I did the interview, everyone was so amazing. I was able to figure [out a plan] with the limited budget I had, but the loan from ACCESS helped me get all my essentials.” Most importantly, Kenesha found people who believed in her and her vision. “No one told me no,” says Kenesha. “No one said it’s not possible.” Instead, she heard: “how can you make it happen what can we do and how can we help you?’”
ACCESS’s loan process prompted her to think through her costs, what her business required and how she would obtain it. “I liked the fact that it kept me responsible,” says Kenesha. “They made sure that I did everything that I needed to. It felt like someone believed in me.”
Kenesha still felt that way during a challenging period. “One time there was a really bad month…the amount to pay back wasn’t high but I just couldn’t do it.” She contacted the office to ask for help and was granted an extension on her payment. “I didn’t feel judged,” says Kenesha.
Today, Kenesha is busy getting prepared for the holiday rush and has just launched her new e-commerce website: www.icedicedbaby.com. Her long term goals include continuing to build the brand and eventually hiring two staff members to help grow the business. She has also started working with a mentor who has helped her learn that with a positive attitude she can surpass any obstacle: “If the mountain’s too high you get the right equipment to get up that mountain,” says Kenesha. “Or you go around the mountain…or if push comes to shove you dig a hole through that mountain!”
Kenesha likens ACCESS to a community that helped move her business forward without judgement: “They help you figure out how the loan would work and how they can help you move forward…they’re going to be there by your side through the whole process.”
And she adds with a laugh: “I think that this is the first time in my life that getting a loan was the easiest thing I’ve ever been through!”
Thanks to our generous supporters we’ve been able to provide the necessary funds and a helping hand to entrepreneurs like Kenesha.
As the holiday season approaches, we hope you will help make even more dreams come true by donating to ACCESS today.