BY HAYLEY BRIDGEWATER
Owner Nieves of Sexy Batch Baking Company has made it his business to become a staple in western Queens. He sells his cookies, made from the highest-quality ingredients, at the local businesses that he himself frequents: Astoria gaming store The Geekery HQ, rock climbing facility The Cliffs at LIC, and Queens gyms.
Even before he started Sexy Batch, he would bring freshly baked cookies with him wherever he went. Now, he’s known for spending time at the businesses that carry his cookies so that he can truly get to know the community.
And since he has embraced the western Queens community, the community has embraced him, too. Here, Nieves shares with BORO the secrets to Sexy Batch’s growing success.
HAYLEY: Tell us about the origins of Sexy Batch.
NIEVES: I’ve been on my own since the age of 14 and lived in a house that had rooms for rent. I had to learn at a young age to cook for myself. Once I found the joy that food brings, I quickly became a natural host. I’d host barbecues, birthdays, dinner parties, game days, and bake for friends and loved ones. I grew up on welfare, and sometimes had to eat at friends’ houses. This was very embarrassing as kid. As an adult I never want anyone to feel the way I did. So if you are with me, you have what I have. A lot of friends put the seed in my mind that I should do this for a living. I didn’t think I was able to pursue a career in food because I have no formal training. About five years ago I got my first job in the film industry [in] craft services. From there, I started Sexy Batch (two years ago in October). I had been trying to find my path in life and how to make my mark on this world. I incorporated and made business cards. That November I handed out my cards just to show my friends my new project. The week before Thanksgiving I had emails and texts asking where to place orders. I quickly set up an email and got going. Christmas arrived, and with it increasing orders. Without realizing it, I had been building my brand for 20 years. People who know me and have had my food know that it’s quality and made with love. Since then it has been full steam ahead.
H: What is your primary client base?
N: Someone who enjoys good quality food/baked goods. My spectrum of clients is pretty vast. Everyone enjoys cookies. People can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @sbbakingcompany. They can also order on my website, www.sexybatch.nyc.
H: How did your connection to the Queens fitness community come about?
N: I’ve always been very social. Even before I started Sexy Batch I would bring homemade goodies to wherever I was going. I was training at a box in the city and found myself helping people with food and cooking questions. I quickly became the resident chef and catered their events. About a year ago I found CrossFit Bell. [Crossfit Bell coaches] Dom and Anthony were very inviting and quickly welcomed me into their community, where once again I became the resident chef. I also rock climb at The Cliffs LIC, where I sell Sexy Batch cookies.
H: Describe a typical day in the life of your business.
N: Wake at 6 a.m., put the oven on, start iTunes and find music to match my mood. Shower, get dressed, read and reply to emails. I check the orders, start making the day’s dough, and get to baking. Post on social media. Bake, bake, bake, then out the door to make deliveries. After that I like to head to stores that carry Sexy Batch cookies and spend time there to get to know the community. Hopefully, I get all this done before my Strongman class starts at City Strongman. Then home to shower and slow my day down by reading articles about cooking/baking for inspiration. In between all that I try to remember to eat and make sure to stay hydrated. Clean up my work area, then it is off to bed. Wake at 6 a.m. and do it all over again.
H: Do you feel like western Queens plays a definitive part in your business?
N: I believe so because now that I own a small business, I have appreciation for small businesses and the [phrase] ‘support local.’ I enjoy going to places in Queens and want to support them more. I’m very social and have given cookies to a lot of the businesses I frequent, which in turn has lead to some business opportunities for Sexy Batch. I believe that the best way to strengthen a community is to keep the money flowing in the community. My cookies are at The Geekery HQ where I play Magic and D&D. There have been times where I pick up a check and then I spend my money there on a game or book instead of going online. I like to ‘vote’ with my money. If I like a product or a service I buy in support of it.
H: Do you feel that the business fills a need in western Queens?
N: Sexy Batch is so young. It is my hope that it will. Especially with jobs, community service and leadership. I want to be in the community and be a leader in it. I believe that Queens has embraced Sexy Batch because I’m social and giving. I share my passion with everyone I come across. And that has a tangible effect on people.
H: How do you envision the business growing?
N: Well, the first thing is getting a commercial kitchen so I can really start to build the brand. A food truck or a brick and mortar would be nice, as well.