How do you like your treats?
To be completely honest, I would take them in any form, but would probably prefer them as a cake pop, custom cake, decorated cookie, or an amazing chocolate chip cookie. These are just some of the treats Sugarsuckle custom makes for their customers.
What started as a creative outlet has become a full-time obsession for owner Jennifer Choi and her passion shines through in her work. We met Choi at her event preview and had the opportunity to taste her amazing creations (along with a delicious spread of dinner) and met others who have supported her along this journey. After the event, I sat down with Choi to discuss the shop, her passion for Jersey City and Hoboken, and what this space means to her.
Choi called herself a Jersey Girl through and through having been born in “our state’s capital and raised in Jersey.” She tries to stick to the motto of work hard, play hard, but lately she has been diving into the business so there is a little less play. She is married and a mama to two wonderful children, who probably get their fair share of cake testings (I am jealous). Choi has been a resident of Hoboken and Jersey City for the past twelve years and loves everything about both cities. “My family and I are big fans of both Puppetworks (JC) and Puppetonia (Hoboken), Razza (JC) and Dozzino (Hoboken) and back when I was fresh out of college, I frequented both York Street Tavern (JC, now closed) and (Hoboken) for their $1 beers!” said Choi.
Prior to opening Sugarsuckle, Choi was working in a corporate setting and was not expressing herself creatively, so she started baking as a hobby and then dove right in. “I resigned from my corporate job, enrolled in culinary school and worked at a bakery and eventually, a Michelin-starred restaurant. Both experiences were quite intense and the learning was never-ending, but it was time to move on,” explained Choi. From there, she knew she wanted something of her own and was bit by the entrepreneurial bug. “I started taking custom orders from event planners that required a lot of creativity, color sensitivity, and attention to detail. I instantly knew this was a good fit for me. For two years, I honed my skills in cake and dessert decorating and then Sugarsuckle was born,” shared Choi.
According to Choi, bakery craft is as individual as an artist painting a canvas. The design of her pieces are gorgeous from painting cakes, to layering her cake jars, to creating dimension and depth with fondant. She aims to create balanced flavors that sit on the palate, like her cake pops, which were the best I have ever had.
The physical location was not something Choi originally planned, but once her brand began to take form she knew it would be important for the business. “I began to have a vision for what the studio space would look like and I knew it was time to start scouting locations. I also began piloting children's cookie and cupcake decorating workshops in Hoboken and they were well-received. I wanted to expand on these types of offerings in a branded studio space,” said Choi.
Choi’s idea for the space is far from the typical “cookie cutter” bakery model. The space is so cool with custom wood tables, industrial detailing, interesting tiling work in the prep area and bathroom, and distressed cement flooring. With no office hours, visits are by appointment only and custom orders need to be placed well in advance. She has fun plans for retail pop-ups, but we will have to wait on these plans. Also important to the space is that it is “...an inspiring gathering space for workshops, private lessons, and other creative experiences. I really believe baking or any crafting and making art, can be both fun and calming, and I want to bring people together to enjoy a playful moment or to diligently hone their craft. Dates will be announced as soon as our event schedule is finalized!” said Choi.
I was so glad to be invited into the Sugarsuckle space and to be part of a new business venture. Choi is so passionate about baking and it shines through her work and how she shares her space. I can’t wait to see the amazing product and events Sugarsuckle brings to Hoboken.
Pictures provided by Sugarsuckle and Rowa Lee