• Hoboken Girl of the Week: Melissa Ben-Ishay {of Baked By Melissa}

    Written by:

    Celebrating one of our fave Hoboken Girl of the Week features — Melissa Ben-Ishay of Baked by Melissa {also a proud Hoboken resident!}.

    She’s celebrating her 10-Year Anniversary of inception for Baked by Melissa on 9/26/18. To commemorate the special day, we’re sharing our post

    {…in the hopes that *maybe* she’ll consider opening in Hoboken}:


    If you’ve ever been fired from a job and took the opportunity to follow a true passion of yours — say, oh baking perhaps — then you have a lot in common with our featured Hoboken Girl of the Week: Meslissa Ben-Ishay of Baked by Melissa. Yes, she’s that Melissa and she lives right here in the Mile Square. We’re all familiar with her delicious bite-sized cupcakes, but we wanted to learn more about who she is, what inspires her, and what makes her a true Hoboken girl at heart. Read on for all the sweet details about how she is living {and baking} outside the box.

    So, tell us who you are and what you do.

    I am a mom, a baker, and the founder of Baked by Melissa, the New York City-based brand famous for its signature, bite-size cupcakes and treats. Passionate about baking since childhood and with the idea that people should be able to taste more flavors without a post-dessert guilt trip, I decided to do what I love and launched Baked by Melissa in 2008 after being fired from my job in advertising. Today, we operate 13 stores and ship our products nationwide. I am the company’s President and Chief Product Officer.

    On where she draws inspiration.

    I’m inspired by so much — the food I eat, the things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and most importantly, my family. I’m inspired by happy times and love, and my goal is to bring those vibes into people’s lives through my baking and free spirited outlook on life.

    About her goals + passions.

    My goal for this year is to give you a new taste of Baked by Melissa. Not just our bite-size treats, but who we are, what we stand for, and why we are here. I wrote a cookbook, Cakes by Melissa, which is available for pre-order now at cakesbymelissa.com. It’s beautiful, delicious, and informative. In it, I share my story, the story of Baked by Melissa, and of course a ton of recipes that will empower you bake outside the lines {like I do}. I have always dreamed of having my own cookbook because I want nothing more than to bring happiness into people’s lives through my desserts. I hope it will inspire you to create special cakes for the people you love, based on what they love to eat!

    On what a “typical” day means.

    Ah, a typical day… a typical day for me starts at 4:45AM when my alarm goes off. My daughter wakes up soon after, I give her breakfast, we watch a little Sesame Street, and then I head to the gym to box. I love boxing. I take the quickest shower of all time, hang out with Scottie a little more, and then drop her off at school. I’m in the office by 7:45 the latest. I love the quiet time before my amazing teammates arrive. I’ll usually touch base with our CEO Seth around 8AM, we go for our morning coffee at Birch cafe and catch up. Then, the day is filled with meetings, brainstorms, new flavor and product discussions, and tastings. I spend as much time as I can in the test kitchen we have in the Baked by Melissa HQ. I’m constantly feeding people. I love to feed people my creations – the way to my heart is through other people’s tummies. I leave work and rush home to catch my daughter before bedtime. My amazingly supportive and hardworking husband usually picks her up from school and does the evening routine. Scottie goes to sleep early and once she does, my husband and I hang out and catch up. Bedtime is early so we can start fresh and do it all over again the next day.

    And I love that I can give people the opportunity to love what they do everyday, work hard towards real goals, go home exhausted, and feel fulfilled. To me, all those things make for a happy and successful life.

    About the highlights and rewards of her job:

    Oh man, that’s a hard one — highlight of my life? Giving birth to my daughter. Holy crap, I always knew women could do anything but really, we can do even more because we can have babies and it is life’s greatest miracle. But the highlight of my career? There’s just so much. I feel so proud of Baked by Melissa and my hard working team. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. And I love that I can give people the opportunity to love what they do everyday, work hard towards real goals, go home exhausted, and feel fulfilled. To me, all those things make for a happy and successful life. If I could give advice to someone trying to pursue this kind of career, or any career, I’d say — find something you are passionate about so you can work hard, smart, and with great persistence. YOU can do it! You must embody the person you want to be in everything you do.  

    On what she loves about Hoboken.

    I love so many things about Hoboken. It’s peaceful and quiet, you can walk everywhere, and it’s close to the city. There’s passion and love for Hoboken in Hoboken. My favorite thing is any restaurant with outdoor seating and all of the parks — there’s nothing better than a 9AM park play date on a Sunday morning when most of Hoboken is still asleep. I also love that so many restaurants are kid friendly, so when we go out to dinner and Scottie throws all her puffs on the floor it’s completely normal and chances are, it’s happening at the table next to us. That’s because it’s 5:30PM, which is a normal time to eat dinner when you have a 1.5 year-old. Oh, and HudsonTable — it’s a great activity for couples or girls’ night out. I think I love Hoboken just the way it is. I love that there are so many young families in Hoboken and everyone is friendly. We have made great friends here. Also, the views are insane.

    How she spends her downtime.

    Days off usually include long walks around Hoboken with my daughter and husband. We go to the park at least once a day. Brunch with friends is also a regular activity. My weekends are for my family, and as long as I’m with them I’m happy. But my favorite thing to do in Hudson County is walk along the water and explore. There are still so many places to discover. Oh, and my favorite place to workout is CKO, which is close to our apartment.

    About her favorite places to eat, shop, and play in Hoboken + Jersey City.

    Ah, so many. I love Antique Bar and Bakery {which has the best black and white cookie I’ve ever had}, all of Chef Pino’s restaurants, and Panello is our local favorite. I’ve been dying to try Tutta Pesca. I love Margherita’s. We go to Talde in Jersey City when we can. We moved to Hoboken in December 2015, right before our daughter was born and I still have so much more exploring to do in Jersey City. If there is good food, I’m always down. Though as far as shopping is concerned, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t have one. I want to have one though, I need to find a good place to shop in Hoboken, although I don’t like to shop, is that weird? Any recommendations?

    PS: Head to our Instagram @hobokengirlblog this afternoon as Melissa will be taking over our Instastories {cakes may or may not be involved…}.

    Want to be featured or nominate someone for as an upcoming Hoboken Girl of the Week? Email hello@hobokengirl.com about your story!


    Written by:

    Michele mostly writes about her two favorite things - people and food. Though she’s been a Jersey girl since her mother danced on a chair at a Bruce Springsteen concert while 8-months pregnant, Michele’s life is anything but basic. During the day, she's a payroll specialist for small + local businesses, but on the nights and weekends, she's trying new places to write about and stopping for snacks along the way {so it's a good thing she's a marathoner and soccer player}. Aside from adding to her already extensive collection of throw pillows, Michele enjoys a good beer, nachos, and chillin’ with her kitties, Bo and Samson.


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