A Brooklyn mom baked to forget the pain of losing her infant son, taking solace in the comfort it brought her — and kept on baking until she birthed a gourmet treat business.
Using her imagination and business savvy, Fabiola Scarbrough, a Brooklyn resident with Haitian roots, began crafting yummy desserts for kids’ parties. She says she was never a baker or much of a cook, but soon discovered she could create unique cake pops — a small, round piece of frosted cake on a stick — that she thought “Jared would have liked.”
Her 1-month-old baby boy died from undiagnosed pneumonia on the way home from his first checkup. Jared’s lungs filled with fluid, and he drowned to death.
“My son was born Aug. 14, 2011 and passed away Sept. 14, 2011. We saw his pediatrician at 11 am on Sept. 14, and he was given a clean bill of health; he passed away six hours later in my arms, on the way to Maimonides Hospital. We’re dealing with it still. The pain never goes away,” says Scarbrough. “His name is mentioned every day. I bake to deal with the pain.”
A year later, Jared’s mama gave birth to Fabipops, the first cake pop shop in Brooklyn, specializing in handmade cake pops, ring pops, and push pops that can be customized for any occasion.
The mompreneur and her husband, Jamir, live in Bensonhurst, and she bakes in a kosher commercial kitchen in Sunset Park. She says her business has grown since opening a showroom this past July.
“We are a word-of-mouth operation via social media. Our showroom was located in Park Slope, a few blocks away from Barclays Center. We now have a relationship with Barclays Center and can be found in VIP locations and The 40-40 Club [in Manhattan].”
The enterprising mom said she had a showroom, so customers could connect a face with the brand. Before then, her business operated via website and phone orders.
“We closed the showroom to prepare for a retail store, because we did so well.”
Coming from a 12-year-long career in accounting and finance, Scarbrough says she often finds herself applying her customer service skills when dealing with clients — even her “analytical-methodological skills” come in handy when she’s creating new recipes. And she says she’s thankful for her fine-tuned sales skills when she’s “hustling” to drum up new business, while her negotiating skills help her close the deal. So, why did she leave her corporate job?
“Baking is my passion,” explains Scarbrough. “I often found myself working on an Excel spreadsheet and daydreaming about trying out a new recipe. I left to care for my son and to bake full time.”
With her adorable 3-month-old baby, Preston, to care for, and a thriving business to run, things are looking up for her. But Scarbrough admits, “It’s been tough, and still is very tough. My husband and I have been through a lot; Jared’s death almost broke us, but with God’s love and a loving mother, it also made us. We have had to learn to help each other more, love each other more, and protect each other more.
“Preston is the love of my life,” she adds. “He is such a happy baby! He doesn’t sleep much, but what 11-week-old does?”
How can anyone stay sane while balancing the art of parenting with running a small business?
Scarbrough is an inspiration to mompreneurs everywhere and likes to share her know-how, which includes hosting classes in Brooklyn and Manhattan to help women and other moms.
“I host a ‘Fab Friday’ event each month; it has helped them with the basic tools they need to start or move forward with their small businesses. It has also exposed them to others doing the same. First event, five women showed up; last event, 30 showed up,” she proudly noted.
Fabipops also offers cake pop decorating classes.
It takes talent to transform a cake pop into a celebrity’s face. She has created edible likenesses of everyone from Psy, the Korean singer of “Gangnam Style,” to South African statesman Nelson Mandela.
Scarbrough quips, “I love Mr. Lagerfeld — he’s a creative fashion genius; not to mention, I love Chanel! I have also made other celebrities that I’ve gotten requests for, such as One Direction, Hot 97 Breakfast Club, [and rappers] Rick Ross, and Little Wayne.”
She says she hopes to open a full retail operation in Brooklyn, sometime in the near future.
“Inside Barclays Center would be awesome, praying on that one!”
And, she admits she couldn’t have done it all without her family and friends.
“The support and love has been unimaginable,” said Scarbrough. “My lifelong passion is always to be successful at all I set out to do; baking is simply the avenue chosen to obtain that. I know my son left me a piece of him through Fabipops; it drives me every day to do and be the best. I never want to disappoint my son, although he is no longer here, with me.”
Fabipops [(347) 480–7677, www.fabipops.com].