Homewood Flossmoor High School graduate Jordyn Gaines baked her first cake her junior year in foods class.
One year later, Gaines’ talents were being celebrated on the ABC-TV weekday talk show “Windy City Live,” marking her success as a young entrepreneur.
“We had a two-week cake decorating lesson and that’s where I learned that I love to bake,” Gaines said.
Since then, Gaines has made other television appearances and baked cakes for Dwayne Wade, Common, Steve Harvey, T.I. and Joakim Noah.
Gaines has seven or more cakes to design, bake and decorate on any given weekend. Decorating is her favorite part of baking as it “truly is an art form”.
In 2014, just three years after her H-F graduation, Gaines opened JordyCakes Bakery Boutique on 4015 W. 175th St., in Country Club Hills.
Gaines says she never intended to sell her cakes.
“I would bake cakes for my brothers and we would post picture on Facebook,” Gaines said. “People started contacting me and saying things like, ‘Do you sell this? My son’s birthday is coming up soon.’ This kept happening and I knew I had to open my own bakery.”
After deciding to open a bakery, Gaines says she gained a lot of help from donors on kickstarter.com.
“I already had $3,000 saved up, but that was only enough for the downpayment on the store itself. We still had to remodel and buy ovens and supplies,” Gaines said, but donors on her kickstarter.com campaign came through big time. In 20 days, she met her $10,000 goal and surpassed it by another $6,000.
Despite JordyCakes’ success financially, Gaines says her biggest challenge came from her age.
“When I first started, everyone tried to take advantage of me because of how young I was. My cakes are at the same level, if not better than other local bakers,” she says proudly, but “I still have seven employees to pay and (need to) maintain my store.”
JordyCakes’ most famous product are “JordyJars.” With more than 50 flavors, including red velvet, turtle, vanilla bean and caramel apple, JordyJars are best described as a slice of cake in a jar.
“I was in Atlanta and went to a bakery where they stuffed an unwrapped cupcake into a jar. I liked the idea, but wanted to reinvent it,” Gaines said.
JordyJars can be purchased in-store, at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Harold’s Chicken Shack at 8738 S. Kedzie in Evergreen Park and Miller Pizza Company, 17 W. 35th in Chicago.
Gaines hopes to one day open a bakery in Los Angeles and be able to run multiple bakeries without her direct supervision.
“I don’t want to get too big too fast,” Gaines said. “I’m afraid the quality of the cakes won’t be up to my standard. The cakes are most important.”