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FRESNO, Calif. — An 8-year-old California boy’s entrepreneurial spirit is fueled by one thing — his undying love for his mother.
At just 5 years old, Jalen Bailey discovered he had a knack for baking.
“I’ve never met anyone who loves being in the kitchen as much as he does,” Jalen’s mom, Sharhonda Mahan, told Today.
Three years after he baked his first batch of muffins, Jalen decided to use his skills for more than just a sweet tooth. He and his mother — who works as a nanny to make ends meet — currently live in a small Fresno apartment. Jalen plans to bake his way into a larger home.
"I just want one that me and my mom can be happy living in," he told Today.
Mahan says the feeling is completely mutual.
"He deserves a big kitchen to cook in and a backyard to run around in,” she told Today.
Jalen attended a business class earlier this summer, hoping to get some tips on how to start a successful lemonade stand. But after some encouragement from his classmates, Jalen decided to stick with his strengths and go for the baking gold.
So with the support of family and friends, Jalen launched “Jalen’s Bakery” from his apartment. A local baker even donated an old oven to help Jalen produce more treats.
He whips up cookies, banana bread and muffins and delivers them to customers around his city.
"I love baking because it's kind of like science — and that's my favorite subject in school," Jalen said. "You get to put different baking materials into a bowl and make something new, which is what science is all about."
In addition to his little business, Jalen has a GoFundMe account* that has raised nearly $4,000 in just a week. He hopes to use the funds to accommodate online ordering that would allow him to deliver his goods to customers around the country.
Jalen’s dreams don’t stop here. Once he’s able to buy his mom a bigger home, he says, he wants to launch his own cooking show.
"He's got a real passion for baking and I'm so happy he's using it in such a rewarding way," Mahan told Today.
*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.