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Ever since she was a little girl, Melissa has loved two things: arts and crafts and baking. So when she was fired from her job in advertising in 2008, Melissa decided that she was going to do what she loved. Drawing on inspiration from the carefree rock ‘n roll culture of the 60s and 70s, and the idea that people should be able to taste more flavors without a post-dessert guilt trip, she engaged the help of some key people in her life and in 2009 opened the first Baked by Melissa shop in New York City’s SoHo district. Five years later, Baked by Melissa operates 12 store locations, including a shop at JFK’s JetBlue Terminal 5, and ships nationwide. Melissa develops all of Baked by Melissa’s product offerings, including Seasonal Collections, a Mini of the Month, and holiday cupcakes. Follow Baked by Melissa on Facebook, Twitter and  Instagram

And more with Melissa Ben-Ishay…

Your best holiday gifting and shopping tips and advice:

Advice for gifting – make it, it means more. If you consider yourself creatively challenged, check out Pinterest, you might surprise yourself. Shopping – do it online or get there when the store opens.

Your go-to power outfit:

My go-to power outfit is Lululemon leggings and a Splendid or Alternative Apparel comfy shirt. I wear gym clothes most days even though I don’t go to the gym. You’d be shocked by the workout you can get icing cupcakes! 

What do you love most about your work?

There are so many things I love about the work I do. I LOVE CUPCAKES. Now when I go into a bakery and want to order everything on the menu, I actually can and it’s part of my job. It’s also amazing to get to work with all the people here and give them the opportunity to be a part of something magical. 

Your last great read:

If you haven’t read The Alchemist you need to. Everyone should read it – I’m sure I’ll read it again when I feel like I need it.

The pair of jeans you will never grow tired of:

Right now I have this pair of dark blue Rag & Bone jeans that I wear almost every day that I don’t wear my go-to power outfit.

Your most recent culinary discovery and obsession:

My current food obsession is the fresh honey roasted peanut butter from Whole Foods. You press a button and it grinds right into the container as you hold it. I eat it every night on graham crackers or ice cream, or just right off the spoon when I’m tired. 

One piece of advice you would give your 18 year old self:

If I had to give my 18 year old self advice, it would be: speak less and listen more. I give my 30 year old self that advice almost every day.

Your dream dinner party guests:

My dream dinner party guests are Mike Bloomberg and Jerry Seinfeld.

Your (real life) hero:

My real life hero is my Dad. He’s deep and gives the best advice. He’s also a mush, and always on my side. 

A secret talent we should know about:

I can catch cupcakes in my mouth, from any distance.