The LorAnn team received the opportunity to sit down with Netflix contestant and baker, Justin Ellen to chat all things cake, his successful career as a Black-business owner and content creator, and his time on the show. Check out the interview and our recent collaborations with Justin below!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Justin Ellen, I’m a 20-year-old Black entrepreneur. I’ve always loved to bake ever since I was little with my mom and my grandma. We would make everything from cookies to pies and one day I saw cakes on Youtube and that started my passion for cakes.
Why did you decide to start your own business? Tell us more about Everything Just Baked and
being a Black business owner?
I didn’t expect to start a business selling cakes. I would make cakes for fun for family and friends and they eventually forced me to post on Instagram. Before I knew it people would inquire about ordering a cake for me! In the beginning, it was slow of course but after being consistent I had a business. My biggest goal for Everything Just Baked is to be a well-known Black-owned baking business. There are little to no major Black-owned baking brands and I hope to change that and inspire others.
How has the recent focus on supporting Black-owned businesses/bakeries impacted your own business, and if you have received support, how does it feel to receive that support?
The recent focus on supporting Black-owned businesses has positively impacted my business. Being a first choice for people is so special to me and the fact that they want to see me win is an indescribable feeling.
Can you share with us any Black entrepreneurs who have inspired you and why?
Some Black entrepreneurs who have inspired me include Yolanda Gampp, from How To Cake It, and Jackie Aina. Yolanda Gampp was one of the first baking YouTubers I have ever watched and she showed me the world of cake decorating that I never knew existed. She inspires me still to this day with her amazing designs. Another entrepreneur is Jackie Aina who owns a candle business called Forvr Mood. I absolutely love how she markets her brand and the style of her content!
How have you utilized social media to grow your brand and business? Which platforms have been the most beneficial?
Social Media really skyrocketed my brand and business. You never know who is watching which is why it’s so important that your posting! Instagram is how Netflix discovered me and that is how I became a contestant on ‘Is It Cake?!.’ They reached out to me on IG and I auditioned and fortunately got chosen. For me, Instagram has been the most beneficial social platform however I highly recommend posting on each and every platform. Sometimes one piece of content will go viral on one but not the other, it’s a little random.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their own baking business or maybe even wanting to start their own baking channel on social media?
I would suggest posting everything you do! People want to know the person behind the business as people buy from people. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and don’t be afraid of the camera. We want to see behind the scenes. And don’t worry about seeming [cringy] or the haters, it won’t seem so bad when the income starts coming in.
Share with us your experience on Netflix’s ‘Is It Cake?!’ Did you learn any skills on the show you are now using today with your business?
I absolutely loved the experience. It was super stressful being so young and my first time being on a show but it was an unforgettable experience. I have learned so much from the show and I’m still in contact with all the contestants. We still help each other to this day. The biggest skill I learned from Netflix was being more comfortable in front of the camera.
Share with us some of your favorite brand collaborations you have done so far since launching on social media.
Some of my favorite brand collaborations I have done so far include Lush Cosmetics, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and LorAnn Oils of course!
In the past, you have expressed your love for LorAnn products in your creations. Can you share with us some of your favorite recipes that used LorAnn products?
I love to add LorAnn Super-Strength oils to enhance flavors! For example, when I’m making any fruit-flavored buttercream such as strawberry buttercream, I love to add the fruit puree and also the matching LorAnn Oil to bring the flavor to another level.
How can people connect with you?
People can connect with me on all social media platforms @everythingjustbaked. I love to interact and connect with my followers!