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Small Business:
Codetta Bake Shop
Sumayyah Bilal
Interview Date:
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“Islam is such a huge part of my life. It’s the core part of my identity. I’d say that I am a Muslim first, then I’m a musician, then I’m a baker. Those are all really closely tied together, but the number one thing that ties my faith into what I do in business is the conscious effort to be authentic and genuine; striving to do the best and be the best human that I can be. 

I've been baking and playing music since I was eight years old. Whenever there was a bake sale for the band, I’d be the one bringing brownies, cupcakes, cookies, or cake slices. In the summers, I’d walk down to my mom's job and sell cake slices. I think I was 14 or 15 when I made my first cheesecake and I fell in love."

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"I used to keep the tools to make cheesecakes in my car at all times. Since I don’t drink, when I’d go to parties at someone's home after a marching band function I’d ask them if I could use their kitchen to bake a cheesecake. I continued to do that throughout college. It was something I enjoyed doing that also brought joy to others."

"After college, I taught middle school band for almost eight years. During the pandemic, as a band director, since everything was virtual, I could no longer do the parts of my job that I loved. I spent a week in tears because I no longer felt the same connection to my students and my work. 

As a result of teaching from home, I started baking a lot. Baking was a big part of my therapy throughout COVID. I baked way more than my family alone could eat so we started selling my products online, more with each passing week.

Chris, my life and business partner, was also working from home so we put a lot of attention on Codetta to see what might happen. With no overhead, it was a perfect opportunity for us to test the business. We stayed focused on how to take advantage of the fact that people were home and on social media. We saw our Instagram following jump from 300 to 3,000 followers within a few months. It was surreal to see how excited people became about our products."

Chris & Sumayyah

"At that time, I was really struggling with virtual teaching. I started to realize that I couldn’t be the type of teacher that I needed to be for my students. Chris also had some personal health issues. He was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo emergency surgery. Thankfully, he’s cancer-free now. 

That entire experience made us think more about the type of future we want for our business and our families, and was a catalyst for us to make Codetta Bake Shop our full time endeavor. It was very hard to leave my teaching job, but I felt God calling me in a new direction.

Chris and I have since talked to his children a lot about the lack of generational wealth in black and brown communities. I think Codetta is an opportunity for me to do something more for my family, my future kids and grandkids."

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Codetta Bake Shop
At Codetta Bake Shop, we aim to be Baltimore’s premier dessert provider for generations to come. We have combined 15 years of baking experience with truly quality ingredients, perfect execution, and endless creativity. This has left us with a line of products that is unmatched and ever-changing.
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