Business student

CPP student sweetens campus with dessert company

By Michael Yu, September 21, 2021

Jayla Littlejohn is a psychology student at CPP with a passion for sweetness that inspired her to start her own dessert business, “Littlejohn Treats,” with the goal of making desserts more affordable and accessible to the community.

Based in Pomona, Littlejohn uses her social media to give back to the community by making quarterly donations to various local institutions through her business.

“In my sophomore year on Valentine’s Day, I set up my shop in front of the African American Student Center and had a really good turnout,” Littlejohn said. “After that I created a website and Instagram and officially launched my business with my Mother’s Day sale. “

Valentine’s Day is an important holiday for Littlejohn because it helped her discover her passion for making desserts. In high school, as the holidays approached, she noticed that items like edible arrangements weren’t readily available for their age group. This gave Littlejohn the idea to create affordable treats anyone could buy to celebrate loved ones.

After that day at the African American Student Center at CPP, Littlejohn’s Treats has grown into a personalized chocolate treat company with a variety of candies ranging from chocolate covered strawberries to caramel apples.

Today, with over 1,200 Instagram followers and 308 orders fulfilled, Littlejohn’s business has exploded beyond expectations. However, Littlejohn said this rapid growth also has its downsides.

“The growth of my business has been both a blessing and a curse. It was a curse because I had to increase my inventory and do everything very quickly so that I could keep my business open. It went from having an inventory that could fit in a small closet to needing more than three 6-foot shelves to store everything, ”Littlejohn said.

When starting her business, Littlejohn struggled to juggle schoolwork, business, and taking care of herself.

At the time, I had two different jobs on campus while being a full-time student and running this business. It was extremely hectic and difficult trying to find the balance for any kind of personal time, ”shared Littlejohn. “I had a hard time prioritizing myself and giving myself time to make sure I was okay.”

Once Littlejohn learned to take care of herself and balance her business, she decided that her next priority was to give back to the community.

“I recently completed the back-to-school donation where we collected over 30 backpacks and boxes of school supplies for the teachers,” Littlejohn said. “We then donated the supplies to three local schools. Being able to use my business and my platform to give back to my community is very important to me.

Littlejohn’s love for sweets began at a young age. Growing up in Pomona and the Diamond Bar, her passion for candy making started with her family.

“The passion for making sweets started in my mother’s kitchen with a fondue machine and some strawberries from the farmer’s market. My mom would put chocolate in the fondue machine and my family would dip the strawberries in, ”Littlejohn explained. “We would all have a great time, and it inspired me to create some of my own treats.”

Littlejohn’s Chocolate Heart Fall Themed Treats on display. (Courtesy of Jayla Littlejohn)

Littlejohn said the support of her family and community had pushed her to turn her “side crush” into a legitimate business. Currently, Littlejohn runs his business through Instagram where customers can message him with their sweet ideas.

Littlejohn’s business sells a wide variety of desserts, from large breakable chocolate hearts to cheesecake-stuffed strawberries. One popular item is the Halloween-themed Skeleton Stuffed Waffle Cone, made with a crispy waffle cone, filled with creamy cheesecake and topped with graham cracker crumble and fresh strawberries.

Looking to the future, Littlejohn intends to improve his practice by owning a personal commercial kitchen, but does not plan to have a walk-in store. Littlejohn wants to prioritize maintaining a personal connection with customers and the personalized designs she creates.

Littlejohn thinks she is grateful that her business has reached a point where it can help the community around it.

“A lot of people at the CPP shop with me and support me. It’s really nice to know that the campus community has played such an important role in helping my business grow and market me, ”said Littlejohn.

To support Littlejohn’s activity “Littlejohn Treats”, visit his Instagram page.

Feature image courtesy of Jayla Littlejohn.

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