Last year, at the Disney Dreamers Academy, I had the honor of meeting Thomasena Thomas. What stood out to me were her kind heart, positive spirit, and passion for making a difference. Since meeting her, Thomas has grown her successful business FairyCakessc to schools throughout her district. Thomas took time out of her busy schedule to talk to me about her journey as a high school business owner, growing her company, and her aspirations for it all!
You’re a high school student, and you’ve already started building a successful business. How did you get started with FairyCakessc?
Thomasena Thomas: FairyCakessc is a gourmet cupcake and confectionary company located in Florence, South Carolina. My sister Thessalonia Thomas and I started selling cupcakes back in 2013. At first, we did it for fun.
In December of 2014, I was selected as a recipient of The Disney Dreamers Academy. At the Academy, they select 100 students out of 10,000! I learned so much, and what I learned propelled me to innovate my company.
Where did the idea come from?
TT: My mother and I came up with the name “FairyCakes” when we were thinking about names for the company. I love history, so we did a little research on the first cupcake. We stumbled upon the name “fairy cakes,” which is a term to describe a light, airy, and small cake. We put the two words together and referenced it back to our state, South Carolina (SC).
FairyCakessc is inspired by the concept of crafting desserts that are light and delicious, while also having a nostalgic feel. We hope to bring back the delicious memories you once had as a child, one heavenly dessert at a time.
How has the company grown since you first started?
TT: FairyCakessc has grown a lot, but I am most proud of FairyCakeFridays, our biggest success to date. On FairyCakeFridays, my FairyReps (sales representatives) and I sell to teachers, students, faculty, and staff of the schools in the surrounding areas. Every Tuesday, we let everyone know what flavors we are doing for the week. We post the order sheets on social media and give them to our FairReps to get preorders. The cut off day is Thursday night at 4:00pm.
Then, on Fridays, we distribute pre-ordered FairyCakes, and the extras are sold separately by our representatives. Everyone anticipates FairyCakesFridays!
The pursuit of FairyCakessc is to inspire students to find their purpose and passion in life and to pursue it at any age. We are teaching the students we hire to utilize their gifts and talents. We are teaching our FairyReps business skills such as how to present themselves, stay on their toes when selling, and how to maintain the right demeanor.
Another exciting project we host is FairyShops. FairyShops are summer classes we offer for students. We help the students who attend find their passion in life and figure out how to pursue it. Each shop teaches baking, cooking, basic life skills, and how to run a business.
The high school-age students that attend the shops get the opportunity to be hired in the company for FairyCakeFridays! That branch of the company is student-run and continuously growing to different schools in the district. We are already in four schools in our area.
How do you balance school and extracurriculars with your business?
TT: For the past couple of years, I have been an honors student and I have learned to discipline myself in all that I do. Time management is a huge part of my life. There are so many deadlines that I have to maintain by being a student and having a business. At the end of the day, you always have to set aside time for family, friends, and other aspects of life.
What advice do you have for a young person who wants to build their own business?
TT: My advice is for young people to find their God-given purpose and passion in life. Find out what you are talented at, and think of ways that your gift can help others. When you do something you love to help others, it can change not only your life, but also change someone else’s. Don’t be afraid. You may be the only one that will believe in your idea, but over time, everything will work out!
What are your plans after graduating? Where do you see yourself and FairyCakessc in 10 years?
TT: After graduation, I plan to attend Francis Marion University. I will major in General Business and Hospitality. I plan to expand FairyCakeFridays to other schools and expand out to different cities in the south. Ten years from now, FairyCakessc will be all over the nation. We will be the leading provider in desserts. We will also be within different schools all over the nation to provide FairyCakeFridays! We will help so many students find their passion in life and start utilizing their skills through our company.
How can young girls get involved in your movement?
TT: Young girls can get involved by writing to us and sending us pictures of themselves with cupcakes! We will feature them on our website as a FairyStudentSpotlight! When writing to us, tell us what you are passionate about and how you plan on pursuing it. We will try our very best to send you something back to help encourage you!
Also, students can get the word out about FairyCakeFridays and encourage their school to host FairyCakeFridays!