Baked by Melissa: Couple built a romance alongside a cupcake business

Icing cupcakes is a labor of love, and it's also how this couple fell in love.

"For a period of time, I would say for a year, the two of us iced like every single cupcake we sold at Baked by Melissa," said Melissa Ben-Ishay.

Melissa started her mini cupcake business 10 years ago with her brother and a few others, but on opening day of their very first retail location in SoHo, she met Adi Ben-Ishay at a bar nearby.

"This guy who I had never met before, an older man, he was a regular there, he said to the bartender who I had also never met before: 'Adi, who is this beautiful girl?' and the bartender looked me up and down and said, 'That's going to be my wife,'" Melissa said. "At the time I thought, 'What a jerk,' but that's how I met my husband."

Melissa soon hired Adi to help with the business and that's when sparks began to fly.

"I realized he could ice cupcakes and you either have it or you don't, so soon after he started icing cupcakes with me," Melissa said. "We fell in love while working our butts off to grow Baked By Melissa." 

"I couldn't imagine having it any other way right now," Adi said.

Together, the couple have grown the business from a hole-in-the-wall bakery window to a full-fledged mini cupcake empire with 14 retail stores and a thriving online operation.

As president and chief product officer, Melissa comes up with the ideas, like the special Valentine's Day white chocolate pretzel flavor. As product development manager, Adi brings them to life in the kitchen.

"We work as a team together and if I'm ever having a creative lapse, I'll say what do you think we should do here? " Melissa said.

While they say working together can sometimes get challenging, it's more fun than anything else.

And whether at work or at home, Adi has learned an important lesson about how to maintain their relationship. "She's always right!" he said, laughing.

The couple share a 2-year-old daughter and have another on the way. And they're looking forward to expanding the business, too.

"Working together is by far pretty much the best thing we did for our relationship I think," Adi said. "It's kind of like, with the challenges we're growing together, with the good things we're just like celebrating together."

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