Pretty Girl Cupcakery owner hopes for sweet success at National Harbor -- Gazette.Net


For Mitchellville entrepreneur LaKisa Taylor, serving gourmet cupcakes from her Hyattsville boutique is just one way to celebrate her customers.

“That’s for me what the cupcakes are about,” Taylor said. “It’s about celebrating these special times, these special moments, being a part of people’s lives.”

Taylor soon will share her cupcake culture with a new crowd when she opens her second Pretty Girl Cupcakery location at Tanger Outlets at National Harbor next week. With this opening, Taylor, 37, will be the first African American businesswoman and local business owner to have an in-line store at the National Harbor outlets, according to Adam Tracey, the assistant general manager of the Tanger Outlets at National Harbor.

Taylor said the Pretty Girl Cupcakery is not a traditional bakery, but rather a retail boutique. She calls herself a “cupcake broker” because she developed a business relationship with a team of professional pastry chefs who bake the cupcakes off-site.

As an in-line store, the National Harbor shop will sit in the same row as other small retailers, but Taylor said the store is three times the size of the Hyattsville shop.

At the new location, customers will get the chance to take cupcake decorating classes and meet the pastry chefs. During the shop’s celebration day Aug. 15, Taylor and her Pretty Girl Ambassadors will give away free cupcakes.

Taylor said she was inspired to start the shop by her grandmother, a decorator who took the time to celebrate any holiday.

“She literally made little moments like that special and you always remember them,” Taylor said. “It just continues to make sweet memories for you from your childhood when you have that visual to tap into.”

Taylor, who also is a real estate agent, started to bake vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting to give to her clients, and the popularity of the treat gave her the push to launch her business.

Shaundri Saint-Louis, 37, of Laurel, who has been friends with Taylor since middle school and promotes her cupcakes as a Pretty Girl Ambassador, said opening the National Harbor shop is an amazing accomplishment for Taylor.

“I think it’s an exciting opportunity for LaKisa to expand her business,” Saint-Louis said. “For her to be a part of this is just monumental.”

Lisa Smith, the executive director of the Bowie Business Innovation Center, said Taylor is a role model for businesswomen throughout Prince George’s County, where the number of female business owners surpasses the state average by four percent.

“Women start businesses at a greater rate than men do but they sometimes have trouble growing them,” Smith said. “LaKisa has managed in an extraordinary way to beat the odds and create what I hope will be a very viable and prosperous business at Tanger Outlets.”

Taylor, who grew up in Prince George’s, said establishing her business in the county helps keep customers who might otherwise travel to other areas to satisfy their cupcake craving.

“Prince George’s is home for me, so it’s just really great to be able to have a business in which I can create opportunities and employ people and have people understand we’re a great place to live and be,” Taylor said. “Pretty Girl Cupcakery will still be a bright spot in the county.”