We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamela Staten and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jamela, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance has played such a major role in my life. I have a full time job during the day and at times I would come home and take on bakery orders. There have been times that I have gotten home from work at 10pm, went to sleep, up by 3 am completing bakery orders, and then being back at my full time job by 8am , after doing deliveries all morning. I will only take orders that I know I can handle, I will not overload myself and take away from my artistry because of money. If I can only make one cake that week then so be it. I have learned and have mastered balancing my professional and personal life. There are times where I will shut down all operations and go on vacation for 2 weeks. Decompression is needed a lot in this business. I would get so overwhelmed with orders that I would call out of work to complete them. I started taking a better look at my calendar and peak times in my organization. I know certain times of the year are more quiet than others, so I better prepare for those months by stocking up on supplies and getting orders in early.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am in the technology field. I went to school for Computer engineering and received a Dual Bachelors from Rutgers University and NJIT . I also have my MBA in Corporate Finance from Drexel University. I have been working for the same company for 13 years. I have held various positions at my job but I have been in my current role for 9 years. Working here was not the goal when I was young but I have made the best of my decisions. There are some days that are way harder than others but I have learned so much about customer service. Empathy is very important in my professional career and for Jajas. Since I am in the hospitality field, being asked to cater or bake for someone or a crowd, you have to be able to adapt and be flexible to the clients needs. People come to me to do things that a traditional bakery may not want to do , most come to me because I specialize in vegan and sugar free desserts. That is what sets me apart from others. Being able to see a clients reactions when they learn that the dessert is Vegan or Sugar free, or that they have not been able to eat something due to a dietary restriction, and someone I was able to make it possible.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well my best Friend Cathy loves Waffle house! However I would step it up a notch. We would have breakfast at the Broken Egg Cafe., there are so many places I love Sun in my Belly in Kirkwood, Homegrown Comfy chicken biscuit ( my goodness AMAZING) Atlanta Botanical gardens to see the Alice in Wonderland Sublime Doughnuts – get two dozen mixed, and yes we would eat them all! El Super Pan – Ponce City Market, while we walk the Belt Line and have one of their amazing Cuban sandwiches. Ferris wheel ride at Centennial Park of course. Get a box of free chocolates! Georgia State Aquarium, that is near and dear to my best friend and I ! Take a tour of the World of Coca Cola, Dinner at Pappadeaux and Drinks at the Battery! I have not been everywhere yet but December will make two years that I have been here , so I am still exploring. My best friend would discover things and places that I am not aware of yet !

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are a few people I would like to dedicate this to First and Foremost my Fruit Stand loves, who have been Jajas Guinea pigs since 2007! Really one of the reasons I am so successful today to the masses. Mommy Vern: I would sit on the kitchen floor and watch you cook all day. Always said I was going to cook like mommy and Grandma Mae. That is why it’s hard to give recipes because I just stop when my ancestors say “thats enough” LOL My Longest and best friend in the whole wide world Catherine, going on 20 years, Been in this a long time, From High school to the Aquarium, to opening our businesses together, You have always believed in me, even when i did not believe in Jajas. I love you to the moon and beyond. My cousin Crystal and the Lopez family, literally my second family. Always been there for me , always encouraged me to continue with my passion no matter where I was going. My siblings are my constant encouragement for their baby sister. I love you all ! Bruce Staten : My daddy, “ the dad” , there will be no one to ever replace you. You always encouraged me to cook and try new recipes. You went as far as buying the stove that I liked from the food network because you said if it helped me make that stuffed shrimp, then it was my choice! Although you are no longer here, your presence and light is forever with me . I will love you forever.

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Twitter: Twitter.com/jajasbakes
Facebook: Facebook.com/jajaskitchen

Image Credits
Colbi Askew

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