Memphis-based The Pink Bakery just got the gift of a lifetime—and it came on behalf of Queen B just in time for the holidays. Beyoncé’s charity initiative, BeyGOOD, and the NAACP just awarded the vegan bakery a $10,000 small-business grant.
The Black-Owned Small Business Impact Fund selected the vegan bakery as one of the winners in its second round of funding.
Beyoncé launched BeyGOOD back in 2013 during her Mrs. Carter World Tour. The initiative partnered with local charities in cities the singer was performing in to raise funds and awareness for their respective causes.
Nubian Simmons founded The Pink Bakery in 2017. Allergic to wheat and dairy, she began cutting animal products out of her diet about three years ago. “Every time I ate [animal products], I experienced terrible physical pain. I didn’t feel that way when I only ate plants,” she told LIVEKINDLY.
So she made the vegan bakery’s products free of the top eight allergens: eggs, fin-fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.
Simmons says she made the vegan treats because she didn’t want anyone to “feel excluded from life’s celebratory moments because of a food allergy.”
“Watching others enjoying something as simple as a piece of cake, knowing I couldn’t eat it without having a severe allergic reaction, was unbearable,” she continued. “It took five years, but I learned how to make desserts that taste good and would not hurt me.”
The Pink Bakery
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, The Pink Bakery sold vegan baked goods and mixes. But after COVID-19 hit, she said everything came to a screeching halt.
“There were a few times where I wondered if we would survive. Revenue is the lifeblood for a small business. Without it, sustainability comes into question,” she explained.
The small-business grant’s goal was to help struggling Black-owned businesses like Simmons’.
“When COVID hit, the city of Memphis shut down. And we had to figure out a way to still provide our specialty community with tasty desserts and stay in business,” she explained. Baked goods accounted for 75 percent of The Pink Bakery’s business. But Simmons decided to pivot away from the vegan treats to only sell her mixes.
“We weren’t willing to risk our customers’ health or ours by personally delivering our baked goods anymore,” she continued. “The mixes actually turned out to be the perfect solution. We didn’t have to worry about spoilage or damage to the baked goods with the mixes. We were also able to ship them nationwide and provide contactless delivery.”
Simmons says she will use the funds to pay down business debt, improve packaging, and buy more ingredients. “[The grant is] the confirmation I needed to keep fighting for The Pink Bakery,” she said.