The only thing cooler than Layla’s Cool Pops could be Layla herself.
KALAMAZOO, MI — Michigan’s 15-year-old Layla Wallace says she’s always had a heart for people.
The high school student remembers birthday celebrations as early as age five where she preferred to volunteer or donate rather than receive gifts herself.
“I just always liked helping people. It made me feel happy,” said the rising high school sophomore.
Her mother Luchara said Layla approached her parents about starting her own business when she was in the fifth grade. The year before, her fourth grade class had been given an assignment to create, market and sell a product. Layla excelled.
“When she decided she wanted to start her own business, we said, ‘Why not?’” Layla’s mother told The ‘Gander.
Layla also credits her father for her entrepreneurial spirit.
“My dad has his own fitness business and I thought it was really cool,” she said. “So I knew that if I was going to have a business, I might as well help people.”
Proceeds from Layla’s Cool Pops help fight homelessness through Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, a “food bank plus” that feeds the community. She’s been donating to them since she started her business as a home baker at age nine.
Now she’s opened her own storefront — in the midst of a pandemic.
“We are really excited and honored with all the energy and excitement around her business,” Luchara said. A recent uptick in public interest has resulted in several website crashes and additional bandwidth purchases.
Layla said the day was emotional.
“When the day started I was nervous, but God was with me every step of the way up to today,” she told The ‘Gander after closing up shop in her new storefront. “At the end, I felt relieved and I knew that I did it. And that I’m starting something that’s going to be great.”
She completely sold out. And the demand keeps growing.
“Our website has gone down three or four times,” said Luchara. “We had to get more and more memory in order to accommodate the connections people were trying to make with Layla’s business.”
In the meantime, Layla posts her weekly menu on Facebook each Monday. She keeps the order forms active until she’s sold out of products for the week. Customers can pick up their orders from her new Kalamazoo storefront on Fridays, but the budding businesswoman will also deliver larger catering orders.
As she continues to grow her business, Layla still keeps an eye on her future (another influence from her parents).
“I want to make sure I have a great education,” she told The ‘Gander, speaking to her plans to finish high school and then attend college.
But for now, she’s flexing her creativity with flavors and decorations and challenging herself to make the best cake pops around — and to not eat all of the Oreo pops in the process.
Check out the Layla’s Cool Pops Facebook page here.