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Meet Latoya Banks from Aaden and Addi Sweet Treats

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Hi Latoya! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Well, we can't speak about Aaden & Addi Sweet Treats with out first stating my 23 plus years working in social service. Now, why we started... Aaden & Addi Sweet Treats is derived from our youth mentoring program Reach Bacc. Last year, May 2021, my position was not renewed at the school I worked as a Social Emotional Support Therapist our mentor program was based at the school. Though no longer working at the school, the Principle agreed to allow our program to expand to the schools after-school program. I presented this proposal contingent on a grant we would receive. With great disappointment the grant was not awarded and our plans to move forward with our expanding rapidly fade as with funds to support our current mentor program. A few months later (August), I got a call from a friend stating they'd been traveling and have tried "Banana Pudding" at many locations and by far, it does not top the one I make! It was my confirmation to move forward with making the banana pudding since I was pondering what to do and submitted my petition to a new direction and God confirmed the next step.

We started making 3 options Banana, Nutty Butter, and Oreo Cookies & Cream. Not having any experience with sales I started selling to family and friends, then traveling to local barber shops, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Car dealers, and Best Buy to sell to their workers.

By November, we added 4 additional flavors by customer suggestions and decided we would incorporate as A & A Sweets Treats. During the process of the logo, the name was changed to Aaden & Addi Sweet Treats (named after our 2 kids). Determined to see the fulfillment of Aaden & Addi Sweet Treats I saw it as an avenue to create financial freedom to support and provide quality program and services to our youth and families. By the end of February we had 12 Treats and moved forward from street sales to selling inside of Crunch Fitness and local Farmer Markets. Having 12 pudding varieties I thought we we set until we continued to get request for different varieties.

In April, I was given a vision beyond youth mentoring which included after school programing, private school, supportive foster care, family transition shelter and mental health. This excited me as I knew for sure this pudding would become something greater than anything I could have imagined. With the Vision at my forefront it shifted my "faith" as I know when God makes a promise it will be just as He has spoken. No need to focus on what you see, it will not determine what has been spoken, just "GO!"

Once I finally realized God was using folks to suggest new flavors I welcomed the challenge and literally in a month span we added 25 varieties, giving us a total of 40 different pudding options! November 2022 will make an official year of our incorporating.

Thank you for sharing that with us. Crunch is where we met you and we knew from that day you were destined for success. Tell us, what is the greatest skill you have learned that has propelled your business forward?

The greats skill I have learned during this process is "resilience". If you are going to see the fulfillment of a promise you have got to push past what you see, and focus on the outcome. It helps on the days you want to quit, when you just don't see the how, opposition of no sales, and the lack of knowledge and skills that many say are needed to build a successful brand. I have learned when you focus on what you do best, the missing parts will be added as you progress.

Wow, that is fantastic advice and one we follow wholeheartedly. What is your personal favorite pudding flavor?

My 2 personal favorite puddings are Oreo Cookies & Cream and Lemondrop. Imagine if we had to create puddings based on my likings!! We would have 2 and not 40! This is funny but also helped me to see things from a different prospective. For example, if you like 2, some may like 1 or none, it doesn't mean you don't make it!

Those sound delicious! Latoya, what has been the coolest moment you've experienced thus far in your business?

The coolest moment for me is when customers come by who don't like "pudding", they try it, buy it, and return again as a repeat customer. The most baffling yet fun moment is selling our dessert pudding products in the gym where folks are working out to get healthy, but still stop off to try or purchase our desserts.

Guilty! Ha! What's next for Aaden & Addi Sweet Treats?

Our goal with Aaden & Addi Sweet Treats is to have our products in hotels, gyms, grocery stores, as well as Franchise brand. We expect its success becacuse what the product represents. Our philosophy, WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND THE WHY BEHIND THE DO, THE DO BECOMES YOUR WHY! I'm confident that the resources and open doors are there as i never imagined selling "puddings" or any other sells for that matter! Im a social service servant at heart! My greatest hope is the return of our youth and family services creating opportunities for other youth alike. Aaden & Addi Sweet Treats will be a staple in the community. The integrity of our products and outstanding customer service are 2 of our key components to the longevity of our growth. The 1st is our "FAITH" in God knowing has chosen us in His plan predestined before the foundations of the earth!

We have no doubt this will come to fruition! Thank you again for your time and opening up to us. We greatly appreciate it!

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