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

Hi Shanequa, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When i decided to start my own business my first thought was , am i crazy ? My second thought was , anything is possible with hard work and determination. My final thought was to use the skill and knowledge I’ve gained through Junior Achievement back and high school to fulfill this dream.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been working on my brand as well as my business. Let’s say a business is much easier to manage than a brand. In today’s society getting people engaged is a skill. Professionally, getting where i am today wasn’t easy. I’ve spent nights on vacation up planning my next item release, days practicing recipes, and the main thing is i never stopped showing love even when it wasn’t returned. I’m an introvert by nature. I rather just produce a product and let someone else do all the marketing and sales. In the real world that’s far fetched when you’re just starting out. I hand-bake desserts from scratch. I bake with love and passion, but sales and getting people engaged aren’t my strong suit. I’ve had to teach myself how to step out of my comfort zone when need be to help keep my business afloat. The main thing i would love for people to know about my brand is that i didn’t build it overnight and i strive to bring people together, not just in business but in life, through desserts.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When my family comes to visit, my first thought is to go downtown atlanta. You can please any personality in downtown. I’d recommend to them the sky view first. Then , I’d offer Big Dave’s cheesesteaks for lunch. The trap music museum would probably be next on the list . For dinner I’d suggest Old lady gang or 6 feet under. Atlanta is known for its night life so it’ll only be right to end a Friday or Saturday at suite lounge. During the week I’d offer world of Coca Cola and the aquarium. If the weather permits a walk through centennial park on a Thursday afternoon will bring anyone joy. Other great restaurants and hot spots are top golf , Escobar , 255 , and main event.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shoutout every single person who has ever purchased anything from me. Without customers there would be no business. I’d alone love to give thanks to my mother for being my biggest supporter through everything. Some great books that have kept me motivated are: intuition by soho and think and grow rich by Napoleon hill.

Instagram: Instagram.com/shantheceo
Twitter: Twitter.com/shantheceo
Facebook: Facebook.com/dessertsbyshan