OXON MILL, MD - Nikki Howard and Jaqi Wright are two very busy sisters in Maryland who aren’t letting the government shutdown get them down.
“When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. The government gave us a furlough, so we’re making cheesecakes!”
That catchy slogan is front and center on the website for their new, tasty business: The Furlough Cheesecake. The sisters have spent the last week launching their new venture after being furloughed from their federal jobs. Howard works for the FDA. Wright works with the DOJ. Both sisters won’t be getting their regular paychecks this Friday.
They’re two of the roughly 800,000 other federal employees affected by the shutdown. Each are the breadwinners for their families and with bills sitting on the counter needing to be paid, they knew they had to do something.
“We just decided that we’re not going to sit back and dwell on the negativity that comes with the furlough ,” Howard tells News 96.5 WDBO. “We’re going to turn it around and do something positive and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”
Wright says it was their mother who suggested going into the cheesecake business after trying their delectable dessert on New Year’s Day.
“Then I saw the light bulb go off in my sister’s head and we both went ‘why don’t we sell them?’”
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After scraping together money for the ingredients to make their first cheesecakes, the determined sisters created their website and started getting the word out on social media. In their first 24 hours of business, they sold about 10 cakes. Orders have been pouring in and they’re now getting requests from all over the country!
“We prepared for rain but we’re getting a monsoon!” Howard explains. “It’s a great problem to have especially when you can’t go to your full-time job. We’re busy. Thank God!”
Their cheesecakes come in original or sweet potato flavor with plans to expand the menu as the business grows. While they hope the shutdown ends soon so they can get back to their regular jobs, Wright says they have no plans to leave their side hustle behind.
“We want to give people a slice of smile but we also want them to be encouraged and motivated. I don’t have to sit at home watching the news and waiting for decisions to be made to affect my livelihood. I can get creative. We want to help people see what’s in them and not be afraid to jump off. At this point, what do you have to lose?”
You can place your order at TheFurloughCheesecake.com.