There’s no doubt we take great pride in our partnership with Glen’s Garden Market and all the yummy goodies and local fare that come with it. We’ve set ourselves on a mission to meet with as many local contributors to our 24-Hour Chef’s Pantry as we can. This month we sat down with Haley Raphael, Cofounder of Pops by Haley, to uncap the insider tips behind her booming cake push pop business.
Haley, graduate of University of Maryland College Park with a double major in Marketing and Supply Chain Management, entered the food scene as an intern at SweetGreen Corporate Office. It was there, surrounded by nearby produce and locally sourced meats, that her passion for baking sparked until she couldn’t hold off her ambitions for crafting portable desserts any longer. She began small, fulfilling orders out of her apartment and spending her nights and weekends chin deep in mixing bowls and cake batter. Catering orders began to pick up rapidly, and she realized starting her own business meant resigning from her 9-5 job, and transforming her home kitchen into the epicenter for Desserts by Haley, LLC
Pops by Haley launched in 2014. It began as a team of two: Haley and her boyfriend. Together they got to work; she turned out the cake pops and her boyfriend handled social media and the company’s public relations. Through her boyfriend’s hard work, on Instagram alone Pops by Haley (@popsbyhaley) reached a following of nearly 4,500 followers in a little more than a year. Impressive, indeed! “First, I put him in charge of sprinkles and frosting decoration, and that didn’t go so well.” Even though Haley didn’t obtain a culinary degree, she realized she picked up enough tips from countless baking sessions with her Grandmother.
When her catering orders outgrew the capacity of her apartment’s kitchen, she moved her team to rented space in Union Kitchen and other food incubators within DC. In her words, she claims “renting space from a community kitchen helped drive and implement new marketing tactics into Desserts by Haley. “ In June 2015 she began distributing her mobile desserts to local grocers and businesses. To name a few, you can find her cake push pops in Union Market, Glen’s Garden Market, Blind Dog Bakery, Union Kitchen Grocery, The Embassy Row Hotel, and Society Fair. She began her business with the bare minimum, but now Desserts by Haley has received orders from with Uber Eats, Advisor Board Company, BMW, Washingtonian Bentley Motors, Intermix, Gilt, and Madewell
To this day Pops by Haley is a mighty team of seven, turning out seven premium flavors. We asked Haley which as her favorite and she replied “Hands down the ‘vanilla birthday’ and it’s also loved by our clients too. Everyone wants to have a whimsical moment in their life. ”
(Photo: Pops by Haley Instagram @popsbyhaley)
We appreciated her candor as she ended our one-on-one with a piece of advice for any startup company, “No one really knows how to start a business, but you just begin, continue to build and move forwards.”