Queen Esther’s Cupcakes gives back to the community

Queen Esther’s Cupcakes gives back to the community

Queen Esther’s Cupcakes gives back to the community
May 17
11:45 2018

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Esther Oppong works at her day job as an academic advisor at UNT, aiding students from scheduling issues to future plans. As the clock strikes 5 p.m., Oppong closes the door at her day job and opens the door to Queen Esther’s Cupcakes.

Her tag-line, “Eat like royalty,” is certainly on showcase from start to finish as Oppong works throughout the day to make both her students and clients feel important and special.

“I want it to feel like an experience,” Oppong said.

Working together

Queen Esther’s Cupcakes has made great strides since Oppong started out. It was initially a way to make extra money on the side, but Oppong soon found herself surrounded by family and friends who supported her.

From there, her clientele grew.

One of Oppong’s earliest clients was Katie Lira, a Grand Homes sales consultant who met Oppong in college.

“Esther and I first met when we had a Spanish class together at UNT in 2008,” Lira said. “We stayed in touch over the last 10 years initially because she was a big supporter of my home business, but that grew into a friendship. My kids adore her, so I think she’s stuck with us for life now.”

It is this type of support that elevated Oppong to grow her business, but Oppong wanted to make an impact. That is when supporting the community became important to her.

As a black woman, Oppong knew it was her duty to represent black-owned businesses. Rather than looking at other business as her competition, she partnered with them so that they could all elevate each other.

“I’ve been local to Denton most of my life, so I’ve definitely seen that people in the community can do,” Oppong said. “As a young, single black woman who’s also working full time, it’s important to showcase the support. You can support them, champion them and encourage them to grow.”

Oppong partners with other black-owned businesses — such as Sweet Rolls and Venetta Petties’s Pop & Go Weddings — time and time again.

“If I’m planning a party, [I’ll] bring in Venetta and bring Sweet Rolls in,” Oppong said. “Why can’t we use our resources and succeed?”

Oppong doesn’t see them as rivals but rather as friends that support one another and expand together. One close partner and friend is Venetta Petties, who she has worked with since the day they met.

“[Esther] was just getting started with her business, so we would bounce ideas off each other as if we’ve known each other for years,” Petties said. “I refer a lot of my clients to her. For instance, I had a wedding at a restaurant here in Denton, and the owner was so impressed with her cake that he asked for her number and reached out to make cakes for his restaurant menu.”

Oppong’s community activism has allowed her to make an impact to the place she grew up in. Along with supporting black-owned businesses, Oppong has been partnered with Refuge for Women North Texas, a nonprofit organization that provides care for women who have been sexually abused or have escaped human trafficking.

A portion of the profits from Queen Esther’s Cupcakes goes directly to the organization. Having been a part of this organization since the beginning, Oppong believes it is a great way to support women who are hoping to gain a fresh start.

Abby Germer, the city director of Refuge for Women North Texas, couldn’t agree more.

“Queen Esther is such a blessing to us,” Germer said. “She always has the most beautiful smile and goes out of her way to come to all of our events. Back when we were first establishing ourselves in Denton, she was there. She partners with us by donating a portion of her proceeds to the organization. She has donated some her amazing goodies to residents and various fundraising activities and also has highlighted some of our graduates in her business by acknowledging them with various awards.”

A sweet incentive

Not only has Queen Esther’s Cupcakes impacted the Denton community, but it has also shown Oppong’s support to her students she works with at UNT. One student in particular, communications student Quinn Gary, precisely remembers how Oppong aided him in a time of need.

Gary first met Oppong during First Flight Week, but it wasn’t until he was paired with Oppong for advising that he got to speak with her.

“Oppong actually cared about me,” Gary said. “A lot of times teachers and advisors help students to the extent of the curriculum. Oppong actually wanted to see growth in me. She’ll ask me how my classes are going and life in general, and every time I see her she remembers, so it’s evident she cares about her students.”

A freshman during that time, Gary was struggling with math and had just failed a class. Feeling discouraged, he went to visit Oppong who spoke about her own struggles with math and encouraged Gary to try again.

“Quinn is brilliant at so many things, but that math class got him down, so we had a conversation,” Oppong said. “We decided that of all things that could take you down, this would not be one of them.”

Using her cupcakes to egg Gary on, they struck up a deal.

“She gave me an incentive: if I passed [my math class] with a C or higher, she would give me a box of her delicious cupcakes for free,” Gary said. “The next time I took the class, I got a high B. Being a woman of integrity, Oppong offered me a small box of whatever flavor of cupcakes I wanted. The box was gone in nearly two days.”

Those types of moments are what Queen Esther’s Cupcakes thrives on. Oppong wants each of her customers to feel special.

Whether it be a birthday or a wedding, it’s an investment they are making in her and one that Oppong wants to make sure is worthwhile.

“She is a vibrant light, and you can just tell her heart and soul goes into each cupcake,” Lira said. “She is an absolutely gem. Sure, you can get cupcakes elsewhere — but you can’t get cupcakes made by Esther anywhere else.”

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Sadia Saeed

Sadia Saeed

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