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Supporting Small Businesses: Two Chicks in the Mix

Back in 2013, Malaka Wilson-Greene approached her bestie since high school, Erica, with a crazy idea: let's start a business! Their love for pastries and food led them into the kitchen and from then on they were Two Chicks in the Mix. With roots in South LA, they intend to bring a new approach to bakeries in their community. A black female-owned business, who source local, organic ingredients, make everything from scratch and are devoted to delivering customer service that is human, friendly and attentive. Deeply connected to Oakland and the local LGBTQ+ community, Two Chicks in the Mix specializes in wedding cakes and other baked goods for any occasion. 

Malaka Wilson-Greene and Erica Freeman 

Both first time business owners, Malaka is the first entrepreneur in her family and works full time for the company, while Erica also manages a full-time job. Balance and self-care are challenging, yet the reward is building something from scratch, learning a lot, and being self-sufficient.  

Responding to the Pandemic 

The COVID pandemic greatly impacted their business: with wedding cakes comprising almost 90 percent of their previous income, and wedding cake inquiries dropping from one a day, to less than one every week, their revenue has taken a significant toll. What’s more, Two Chicks in the Mix’ project that their income will be affected for at least the next two years.  

In response, they are adapting in a number of ways: offering free deliveries within 5 miles of their kitchen, baking non-wedding specific cakes, providing a large order for Oakland teachers, and partnering with a black owned florist for a mother’s day promotion. 

To build and sustain their business, Malaka and Erica have tapped into a wealth of local resources to support their small business with financial support, building a sustainable business plan, creating financial projections, and building a network of like-minded black-owned businesses. In addition to the Verizon Small Business Relief Grant, Two Chicks in the Mix worked with Uptima, Centro Community Partners, and the Runway Project. Navigating the web of pandemic-related grants and resources, however, has been daunting and they were ineligible for most funds due to their small size.  Luckily, the Verizon Small Business Relief funds were perfect for their business and will help them to save to weather the storm, pay kitchen rent, pay themselves, buy inventory and provide some flexibility for a long-term business pivot. 

According to Malaka: "During this time you are so focused on your immediate needs, but part of the business is growth, projections, strategy, and planning. This money will help support both our immediate and long term needs. {It will} help create a cushion to put our health first and sustain peace of mind." 

Stay in touch:   //  IG @ twochicksinthemix  // 

*The round 4 application period is now open. All applications must be submitted by Wednesday, June 17th at 11:59 PM ET Apply Here*