Recipe for success

Suitland senior turns sweet tooth into successful business

Thursday, May 25, 2006

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Barbara L. Salisbury⁄The Gazette
‘‘I already knew how to bake, so all I needed was a business plan,” said Andrea Dashiell, 18, who started the business Honeecakes Bakery in November 2004 after taking an entrepreneurship class at school.

Andrea Dashiell has been featured in magazines and newspapers but she has not let it go to her head.

‘‘I think of it as a big thing, but I am a humble person,” she said.

Since being featured in Black Enterprise magazine for her business, Honeecakes Bakery, the senior at Suitland High School has been asked for her autograph and her business is more popular.

Dashiell started Honeecakes Bakery in November 2004 when she was taking an entrepreneurship class at Suitland High School. The classes were a part of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

Dashiell bakes cakes, pies and cookies. In addition to sweet potatoes pies and apple pies, she makes sock-it-to-me cake, which she calls a ‘‘big hit.” She also makes creative cakes like sweet potato pound cake and pistachio cake. She said the sweet potato pound cake is her favorite cake to bake although it takes a little while to make.

‘‘It’s worth it because I like it myself, sometimes I’ll make it just for myself,” she said.

Her customers have embraced her pistachio cake and call it ‘‘the green cake” because she uses green food coloring in it. She recently baked a birthday cake for a one-year old. She said she learned how to bake by watching her mom.

Dashiell’s successful bakery made her a finalist in the Black Enterprise TeenPreneur of the Year award. She was one of three finalists, country wide and last week she went to Dallas for the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Conference.

Dashiell did not win the TeenPreneur of the Year award but she cherished the experience.

‘‘I made it all the way to Dallas, and I’m in Black Enterprise,” Dashiell said.

Rick Toren was the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship instructor for her class at Suitland. Toren is the president of CodeRyte, a six-year old Bethesda-based healthcare software business. He said he put up $10,000 and got his pick of four schools. He picked Suitland. He said when he heard Andrea talk, he knew there was something there.

‘‘She’s just a terrific kid,” said Toren. ‘‘She’s got drive, creativity and execution skills.”

He said he loved the kids at Suitland because they were his first NFTE class. Toren has continued in the program but is not with the class at Suitland anymore.

For the class, Dashiell had to come up with a 27-page business plan. She said certain parts of coming up with the plan were difficult. She said the financial part was more difficult than the creative part.

‘‘You never know how far you can go if you don’t try,” she said.

Shelia Dashiell, Andrea’s mother, said she and her husband, Benjamin Dashiell, are very proud of their daughter. She said she knows that her daughter is very talented.

‘‘Once she sets her mind to something, she’s very determined,” she said. ‘‘We see her doing great things.”

In the fall, Dashiell will go to the University of Delaware. She will study communications with an emphasis in public relations. She said she would like to focus on entertainment public relations.

Her final assignment as a student of Suitland High School was to make Principal Mark Fossett a sweet potato pound cake.

E-mail Tia Carol Jones at