Carmella Bailey

2016 Builder Alumnus

Carmella is now Owner and Operator of Served by Carmella, Home Bakery.

“Being a part of the Clifton Builder’s program at the University of Nebraksa-Lincoln, put me with several like-minded individuals. Having peers that had similar ideas for their futures. Along with the people I met, I had professors that drove success into our minds. They ensured we understood our strengths and how best to use them in our career path. Several times they would put our strengths to the test by creating tasks that would allow us to use them to our advantage. Understanding my top 5 strengths has truly helped me know what I am capable of while also knowing things I could work on. Lastly, the Builders made me realize things that may not allow me to be successful. It allowed me to dive deeper into my entrepreneurial talents, which I had not previously gotten the opportunity to do. I always told my peers and professors that I work well with others but do not work well under others. I crave flexibility in my schedule, allowing me to work when I feel best. I dream of being my own boss while having others I can trust to work alongside me. Relationships mean everything to me, and that is all thanks to the Builder’s program”

In 2020, we all know what happened, and Carmella decided that sitting at home and watching tv all day was great but boring. Lucky for her, she had numerous box cakes, cookie mixes, and other baking items that had sat in her pantry through the years. That is when she started with her first box of cakes. It began as treats for her family to pick on over the day at home. The week that she decided to try “The Best Key Lime Pie” recipe, which was later tweaked to become her own, would be the day that sparked her career in baking. She brought these pies to her family members on May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and received several compliments on the pie. It wasn’t until her uncle expressed that her key lime pie was one of the best he had eaten. He commented that he would buy more if she were interested in selling them; that night, she went home and started plotting a business model.

Being interested in digital media and advertising, she first thought about colors, logos, branding, etc. However, that was just the beginning of getting her business up and running. Through encouragement and help from friends and family, she opened her social media platforms to post her desserts for sale. At first, it started as orders from friends, but over time, it was slowly getting more random customers. It was challenging getting started and beginning to expand, but through the support of her friends and family, she has grown a lot in the last two years of being in the business.

This journey has been challenging. As an 18-year-old girl, Carmella went through many life-changing events. COVID was just the start of these events, and next, she could not go to college for her first year because of health concerns. However, these events helped her get to where she is and succeed. Something else that is difficult at times is that her business is home-based. Living with her parents and her siblings, the house is crazy most days. Sometimes baking in a houseful of others is complex and can put stress on other family members.

Served by Carmella is a self-owned and operated home baking business. Her business creates simple desserts that match her clients’ dreams—baking several different items: mini/large pies, cupcakes, cakes, and cake pops. What sets her apart is the fact that Carmella knows that “perfection” is not always attainable. She could spend hours trying to be like other bakers or get something perfect, which is unrealistic. She gives all her effort while keeping her customer’s goals in mind, leading her customers to be satisfied and herself.

“There are two things that I am proud of business-wise. The first is the ability to donate to charities I am passionate about. Especially the time I was able to donate to one of my long-time best friend’s organizations she started in honor of her late father, Byrne, out of Cancer. Being in control of the organizations I choose to support puts much more meaning behind my work.”

She is usually up for the risk, turning risk into an advantage rather than seeing it as unfavorable. There have been many times when she is unsure how to make an order happen, yet she sticks to what she knows. There is always a chance that risk will lead to failure, but there is always the potential for success.

“Something else I will never get over is how proud I make others. My grandpa (Papa) got me personalized hats with my logo embroidered, and my family gave me a few aprons with my logo. Getting to see the joy that my success brings others is something that doesn’t ever get old.”


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Washington, DC 20024


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