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Life & Work with Shaquasa Nicholls-Brown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaquasa Nicholls-Brown.

Hi Shaquasa, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I have been cooking and baking for as long as I can remember. My love for baking runs deep and comes as no surprise to me as I am from a long line of bakers. I was always the friend in school with “something sweet she had baked the night before,” and of course, I was always contributing to the school bake sales.

In 2013, I did the dessert for an event and launched my company “Deleese Confectionery” in NY. My small business quickly grew in popularity to my surprise and excitement. In 2015, I went to The International Culinary Center (formerly the French Culinary Institute) and changed my business name to “D’Leis”.

Going to school was a major turning point in that I learned so many new skills and techniques. In 2019, I changed my business name to its current one, “Shaquasa LLC”.

Since relocating to Jacksonville in 2020, I have been steadily building my business from the ground up. Since I am approaching my 10th year in baking and rebuilding my brand in a new city I am branching out into other areas of the dessert world such as chocolate.

I have launched my chocolate business Bon Brown Luxe and will not be selling immediately, but I WILL be showcasing my chocolate flavor list and skills to build anticipation. Expect me to start shipping chocolate by 2024. I will also start to give classes both to children and adults.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a smooth road. Of course, there have been bumps, but my gift has always guided me. As I grow and gain more knowledge my business is constantly evolving.

I never wanted to be a traditional baker, so the most difficult part of my journey has been creating and paving my own path. My ideas are constantly changing and I always have so many that I want to tie into my business. Learned that it is OK to put ideas on the back burner and come back to them at another (and maybe better) time.

I was scared to move to Jacksonville and start my business over. I was scared to leave my customers and worried about the waves I would make in the sea of pastry chefs already here. But it has been a smooth transition and I am steadily getting more clientele.

Although I have had my fair share of struggles I genuinely love what I do and it never feels like work.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My name is Shaquasa Nicholls-Brown, owner of Shaquasa LLC. My formerly NY-based business is a custom couture dessert shop. We are here to help with all of your dessert needs for every reason and season. With my business, I hope to continue to bridge the gap between food, fashion, and art.

I am currently learning to “paint in buttercream” and hope to bring it to my dessert tables to further my mission. I was always into fashion and still am so I have found a way to match my outfits with my dessert tables. I have always had a love for food styling and always wanted to be a model so I started shooting myself with my food (#shotbyshaq) on Instagram.

My company offers a wide range of cake products, french pastries, and now even chocolate and confections as a means of giving the customer the full dessert experience. Everyone has a flavor and it is my mission to find out what it is. I’ve made over 10,000 cupcakes and I have NEVER had a bad review. I have over 100 cupcake flavors and continue to make more daily.

My business is still sought after even though it has been 2 years since I moved out of NY. I even have customers who won’t even bother looking for a new cake decorator and elect to get a store-bought cake since I am no longer around. THAT’S LOVE!

I have been in the dessert business for 9 years, and as I approach my 10th I will be diving into the teaching world. I have a couple of baking classes that will be available in Jacksonville soon. A new age of custom dessert is rolling in and I am on the front lines!

www.shaquasa.com.
www.instagram.com/_shaquasa.
www.instagram.com/saeminame.
www.instagram.com/bonbrown_luxe.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
The Covid 19 crisis has shown me how to be flexible with my business.

When the shutdown initially happened I had just moved down here and most of my business ended up being from shipping cake jars up North. I had no clientele down here yet and no way to really market since I could not leave the house.

It was very different preparing my stuff for shipment vs. an actual live party. Since then, I have stopped shipping, but there is always that reminder that anything is possible and can lead to a possible dollar in business.

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