When I think of strength, courage, and triumph – one of the first people that come to mind is Shawn Brown. As the founder of everyone’s dessert go-to Cheesecaked, this Los Angeles native used her life experiences as a driving force for the success of her gourmet dessert company. I recently had the chance to sit down with Brown to discuss the inspiration behind Cheesecaked, their two new locations, and much more.
What inspired the creation of Cheesecaked?
As a child, I always baked. It was always something fun for me to do. I thought it would be great to be creative and add different things to my baking. My grandma always invited me into the kitchen to have free range. With the holidays, I was always the dessert keeper. I’ve always tried to do different things and have fun with it. After my car accident, where I lost my son and I was pronounced dead twice, I didn’t realize it at the time but the baking part of it was my healing process. It helped me get through the dark days. I eventually realized that bringing joy to other people was my therapy. It helped me get over the loss of my son. Years went by and the big cupcake boom happened. I figured I could do something with cheesecake, how they do similar to cupcakes. You don’t often see a small personal size, low calorie, inexpensive cheesecake. I decided to create it and that’s how it started.
Having gone through so much in your life, what would you say has been the motivating factor for you to keep grinding in your career?
Well, I am the mom of three beautiful children – two girls and a boy. Of course, that’s my drive. I want to be a great role model for them and show them that although we go through tragedies and adversity, we can still try to dig deep and push forward. I’ve realized a lot of times, what we go through is not for ourselves, it’s for the people around us that are watching us. I didn’t know at the time that I was encouraging others to push through. Also, I know that God saved me for a reason. I don’t want to disappoint him. Him saving me was not a waste. I want to make the best out of my life and try to share as much as I can with other people to bring joy.
Tell us about the TWO new Cheesecaked locations–in Underground Atlanta and Norcross.
Norcross is currently under construction. It will be out in the suburb area and have an event area for parties and all things celebratory. We are a celebratory space. People come to celebrate good report cards, and I’m here for all of that. The Underground location was not planned. It’s a historic mall in Downtown Atlanta and its under new ownership. They reached out, saying that they were looking for new, fresh brands to put into the space to bring people out. The owner’s wife had experienced breast cancer in her family and noted that she admired my strength. It started off with them offering me a cart to get my feet wet. As we talked more and they saw our social media, they gave us the perfect space. I’m excited to be a part of it because I know Underground is going to be amazing. There are so many great things happening there.
What can we look forward to seeing from you and Cheesecaked in 2022?
Ohh! Right now, I am working on the holidays. I’m thinking of new, fun holiday orders. We have been gone for two holiday seasons as I fought breast cancer. I wanted to make sure that when we came back, we came back with everyone’s favorites. I’m excited about 2022. Norcross should be done, and we are working on an ice cream. We’re working on having cheesecake ice cream and I’m really excited about that.
For more on Cheesecaked, click here.
Featured Image by Hayley Rubinstein of hungrybocagals