These gifts from #TempleMade founders will make this Mother’s Day the best yet.
From great desserts to beautiful jewelry, our gift guide has you covered.
Lokal Artisan Foods, home of the French Toast Bites
Charisse McGill, STHM ’03, started Lokal Artisan Foods after being inspired by her daughter’s lemonade stand at the Lansdale Farmers Market. With locally-sourced lemons and herbs, her daughter started a business and made nearly $6,000 in two weeks.
“Most people don’t know that my daughter was not only my inspiration but also my first investor,” says McGill.
In 2018, McGill and her family premiered their take on French toast bites at the Christmas Village in Center City. From there, they toured the tri-state area going to open-air markets and festivals like Made in America.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, the company had to pivot. They were able to collaborate with Better Box and sold their French toast bites through a takeout window. The two small businesses combined to keep each other afloat and give joy during a very difficult time. About the collaboration and its success for her during the pandemic, McGill, known fondly as the French Toast Bae, says that “relationships are more valuable than money.”
McGill also found success in her partnership with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) at Temple University. There, she was able to network with other small businesses and attend workshops to help develop her business plan. She also connected with experienced mentors to receive feedback and guidance for her business.
Since then, McGill has been making history. With Yards Brewing Company, McGill became the first Black woman with a signature ale in the state of Pennsylvania. That same year, she opened her Penn’s Landing location of Lokal Artisan Foods and became the first Black woman to own a business there.
The French Toast Bae now also has a lengthy list of product offerings in addition to her bites and beer, including French toast bites-flavored coffee and spices, as well as a partnership with GoPuff.
Dipped by LR and Jewels by LR
Lauren Resnick, BBA ’22, always knew she’d be an entrepreneur. While a marketing major at the Fox School, she joined the Entrepreneurial Student Association in hopes of networking with students like her. She started Dipped by LR as a hobby but quickly realized that she needed to expand.
“I didn’t even have a business page when I first started,” says Resnick.
During the pandemic, Resnick used baking to pass the time. On Valentine’s Day in 2021, she began showing off her baking skills on her personal Instagram. After receiving positive feedback, she realized she could turn her passion into a business. She made a separate Instagram page for her dessert business, which now has nearly 1,000 followers.
Her dessert business became so popular that she is collaborating with an event planning company to complete wholesale orders for an upcoming bar and mat mitzvahs, a service she hopes will expand into weddings, luncheons and other larger celebrations.
“I never imagined my business would get this big,” says Resnick.
Resnick also started to take up jewelry-making as a side project. When she shared these creations online, she got similar feedback and created Jewels by LR. Much like her dessert company, she likes to customize her orders to each customer based on their personal preferences and taste.
“I really think it’s important to take into consideration the customer,” says Resnick.
Desiree Cavalancia, TYL ’15, MS ’17, started making jewelry as a hobby. After being encouraged by an art teacher and her family, she pursued a degree in jewelry making at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. In 2016, she officially established the Désideria Collection after completing her Master’s in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship at the Fox School.
Désideria Collection combines classical style and natural forms to customize jewelry for her customers. Using her experience as a gemstone dealer on Jewelers Row, she sources the gemstones herself to create unique, luxury pieces.
Since starting Désideria, Cavalancia has learned a lot. Her background as an artist helped her handle feedback and tailor her work to the consumer.
“As an artist, you put a little bit out as a time, and then get feedback to hone your skills,” says Cavalancia.
One of the biggest tips she has for business owners and freelancers is having the confidence to assert your worth and showcase your products. Customers will come when they see a business eager to help them in their time of need.
“Inserting yourself is the most useful tool,” says Cavalancia.
Between finding clients and improving your product, it can become very difficult to find time for yourself. Self-care is key when you work for yourself.