By Janey Tate
Naiké Owens is a woman of many talents and she’s not afraid to share them. The avid entrepreneur works in Baking Culinary, Advocacy for Millennial + Minority Entrepreneurship & Domestic Violence Survivors + Awareness.
Owens grew up in a loving home and saw first hand what it means to work together. “For the last 27 years, I’ve had a front row seat to what successful collaboration looks like through my own family. We’re really close and we always attempt to lift each other up to get to where we all want to be personally although we might not always have access to the proper resources,” she said. “I just carried that same energy to my community but now I’m equipped with the knowledge to find the necessary resources for my community.”
She was born in the Bronx, New York and raised in the San Fernando Valley, California. Her connection to South Florida comes by way of her father who has lived in Florida since she was 4 years old. Owens would spend every other year in Florida visiting him. In 2013 Owens officially moved to South Florida to be somewhere new yet familiar.
Her first real attempt at baking was Valentine’s Day 2017, just 10 days prior to almost losing her life to domestic violence.
“It was an innocent new hobby that became my therapy & my release to my new reality at the time. I turned that into my passion and later acquired my LLC in October of 2018,” she said about her Fort-Lauderdale based business that services the Tri-County area.
“Although I advocated for minority oppression & community rights prior to domestic violence, it wasn’t until after domestic violence where I really found my purpose. I turned my pain into passion. My bittersweet situation led me to the woman I am today,” said Owens.
Much of what Owens knows is self taught. She taught herself to bake and later what it takes to become a business woman.
“Most of my knowledge came from experience, trial & error, collaborations and mentorships,” said Owens who enrolled in what she calls the Youtube Academy. (She uses that term to describe how she uses YouTube videos to help her learn what she doesn’t know.)
Her journey to baking some of the tastiest sweet treats and advocacy came from some dark times. As a domestic violence survivor, Owens prides herself on that work and encouraging and supporting women out of those abusive relationships. She says her relatable personality helps very much in the advocacy work she does.
“I strongly believe, realistically I’m an easy person to relate to through my own personal struggles, growth and life experiences. I’ve gone through countless situations that molded me into the person I am today. Instead of acting like I’ve never experienced failure or endured several roadblocks trying to achieve my dreams, I’m fearless in letting people know the real behind entrepreneurship, the culinary business and being a domestic violence survivor,” said Owens.
“Even if that means giving them a personal and vulnerable experience of my own to relate to. It gives people hope to know that no matter what life’s trials are, it’s possible to overcome any obstacle and very much worth it to keep going. Ultimately we’re all here trying to achieve a dream or fulfill a passion.”
For Owens she saw her advocacy work as a domestic violence survivor work in real time. On May 9th, 2019, Owens honored at the Women in Distress’s 13th Annual Starfish Luncheon. The organization giving the award is a full service domestic violence center. As a former recipient of their services, she was given the opportunity to talk about her journey to empowerment after Domestic Violence and how she was able to create a successful dessert catering business despite her traumatic experience.
“I fearlessly shared this speech via social media in hopes that it would inspire someone else who might be suffering or struggling on their own personal journey and it did. A young woman reached out to me shortly after. She explained that she was in a long abusive relationship with the father of her child and she was extremely unhappy. I provided her mental & emotional support while still educating her on tips and resources to keep her and her children safe until she felt it was time to leave her situation. I’m proud to say that same woman and her children are safe, happy and no longer in a harmful environment,” said Owens.
Working with this organization, has understandably been Owen’s greatest accomplishment.
“As a domestic violence survivor and previous recipient of their services, I was able to share my unique story which broke the record for most raised donations at their 13th Annual Starfish Luncheon. My testimony helped raise over $317,000 which Women In Distress uses to provide free and confidential services in multiple languages to families affected by domestic violence, such as: a 24-hour crisis hotline, emergency shelter, counseling and therapy services, Injunction-for-Protection legal services, prevention and education services for the community and Broward County’s first pet shelter for families affected by domestic violence,” she said.
She loves baking but she makes sure she etches time out of her schedule to be a part of groups and organizations that are close to her personal mission and goals.
“I am apart of at least 4 different organizations whose mission is centered around helping others,” she said.
Some of the organizations she’s a member of include: Chef Kulture, an organization that focuses on the growth and collaboration amongst black and brown culinary professionals & their affiliates. Another is Millennial Women’s Solution Network Inc, a professional organization created to encourage young entrepreneurs to be bold in their aspirations and creativity through mentorship, while empowering them to achieve their highest potential using our Business platform services; and The Affirmations Project, a nonprofit organization that provides emotional and financial support to cancer and domestic violence survivors.
Owens said she’s been inspired to keep doing this work because she truly wants to help as many people as she can with her gifts and through her life experiences
“My heart and the severe desire to see my community succeed has inspired me to do the work that I do. I really just love helping people, baking and giving back to my community,” said Owens. “I’m passionate about what I do because I know I’m making a difference, whether it’s in my life, my surroundings or the people that look up to me. I want to see everyone win, especially my community and no amount of money can buy that. But providing open dialects for people to communicate and ask questions, will. Sharing resources, experiences and what we’ve learned, will. Being less worried about how I can do this alone, and more focused on how we can band together to support each other, will.”
In the near future she plans to continue to grow her culinary education and work towards securing a business location where she can bake and distribute out of.
“My long term goals are to be known to make the greatest banana pudding in the world, while owning multiple businesses that I didn’t have to jeopardize my core values of Love, Family, Passion & Service for,” said Owens.
For more information on Naike Owens follow her on Facebook. To learn more about her business visit www.MelaninSweets.com. You can also follow her businesses on Facebook and Instagram @MelaninSweets and @MelaninMarketing.