A Mercer University alumna and her sister combine sustainability and sweets at their made-to-order vegan bakery, VTasteCakes.
Aneesha Reddicks, who graduated from the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing in 2016 and currently is pursuing a Master of Science in Business Analytics, runs the bakery’s business operations.
Her sister, owner and founder Jasmyn Reddicks, runs the kitchen. Jasmyn graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in food industry and marketing administration, in 2018.
VTasteCakes’ mission is to create high-quality, flavorful vegan cakes and cupcakes infused with vegetables. Jasmyn often adds squash, pumpkin and beets to the cakes, which adds flavor and makes them fluffier.
“I kind of got into the idea because my mom used to hide vegetables in our food when we were younger, and I used to be like, ‘Wow! I can’t taste this at all,’” said Jasmyn, who transforms her grandmother’s recipes into vegan desserts. “I also found that this lowered the calorie count as well. We don’t have to add as much sugar or as much flour.”
The bakery also offers gluten-free options.
Jasmyn started VTasteCakes her junior year in college as part of the FABricate entrepreneurship competition. She and two teammates won first place and $5,000 in the contest.
While her teammates moved on, Jasmyn invested her portion of the winnings in VTasteCakes and moved to Atlanta after graduation. Soon, Aneesha started helping with the business’ website and marketing.
But the bakery didn’t take off until 2020, when Jasmyn lost her full-time job at a startup company due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It kind of jump started the business,” said Aneesha, who also works full time at The Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants. “When COVID hit, and she lost her job, it was like, OK, we’ve got to get this together. We’ve got to make this a solid business that can support itself and create revenue.”
Orders started pouring in as people looked for new ways to connect with friends and loved ones while they were apart, Jasmyn said. The sisters hired more employees and had to move to a bigger commercial kitchen.
“People missed going out, so they wanted to send gifts to each other,” Jasmyn said.
The sisters put a lot of work into making sure VTasteCakes was accessible to their customers, Aneesha said. They created a landing page on their website, fine tuned the ordering process, ran Google Ads and pushed content out on social media.
Mercer’s marketing program showed Aneesha how to create a marketing plan from the ground up. The analytics program has been instructive as well.
“It’s been really helpful to learn how to use Google Ads and how to read data that we have,” she said. “I can understand now the analytics behind our website and social platforms, which I think has given us an edge in comparison to some of the other vegan bakeries in the area who are more so just focused on how many products they can push out.”
VTasteCakes doesn’t currently have a storefront, but orders can be placed online at vtastecakes.com for curbside pickup at their kitchen in Tucker or delivery within metro Atlanta.
Mercer Made is a series in which we feature notable people, businesses, products and inventions connected to Mercer University.