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Sisters apply lessons learned at RCC to bakery business

Blend a batch of skills learned at Rogue Community College and a lifelong love of cooking, add a dash of creativity and a zest of entrepreneurial spirit — and it all adds up to “Just Desserts.”

Sisters Erin Don, 28, and Michelle Don, 25, aren’t waiting for an economic recovery; they launched their bakery business a year ago and are building their future today, one cupcake at a time.

"We both have worked at corporations and realized we could only get to a certain level,” Michelle said. “We enjoy the entrepreneurial spirit and freedom of working on our own,” she added. “We can explore what we want to do to express ourselves.”

“The kitchen has always been our meeting place,” Erin explained. “Our mother, Claudia Don, instilled a love for cooking and the confidence and skills we’d need.” The math, art, writing and business skills the two women gained at RCC also are essential in their daily work.

“We use math for conversions for recipes and cost and price analysis, while writing comes in handy for brochures, our website, and business letters,” Erin said.

“RCC art classes taught me how colors appeal to the eye,” Michelle added. “And the wonderful instructors gave me the confidence and encouragement to try new things.”

Both sisters are graduates of South Medford High School. Erin earned an Associate of Arts degree at RCC, and Michelle is working toward an AA degree with a business focus. Both also have day jobs: Erin works in the emergency room at Providence Medical Center, and Michelle works at a daycare center.

Their goal is to open a shop in downtown Medford, perhaps near RCC’s Riverside Campus, and they’re looking at joining a farmers’ market. For now, however, their focus is on recipe development and custom orders. In addition to cupcakes in panoply of flavors, they make cookies, candies, cakes and pies.

They’re building a clientele by word of mouth, brochures, and the Internet, and they’re helping community non-profits. The two Just Desserts proprietors donated 500 cupcakes for a Living Opportunities fundraiser and brought baked goodies to the oncology department at Providence Medford Medical Center during Breast Cancer Awareness Week.

“Response has been very encouraging and positive,” Erin said. “This is our passion and joy, and it’s nice seeing people at happy times. Every day at work is a fun day — even when things go wrong,” she said, laughing.

For more information about Just Desserts visit www.justdessertsmedford.com.

Have a story idea for the website? Please E-mail Rand Hill

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