My neighbor, June Drummond, was a Brazilian lawyer working for George Washington University when she was asked to host the dessert portion of a neighborhood progressive dinner. True to her personal style, June turned a simple meal into a decadent party. And what ensued was the start of a delicious business.

June (and her partner Raquel) have formed a successful dessert business catering to customers in the DMV area. Over spring break, I sat down with her to hear the story of just how this luxury sweet endeavor got off the ground.

The Backstory

Every year, my neighborhood (which happens to be June Drummond's as well) plans a progressive dinner. Appetizers are at one house, main course at another, you get the gist. June and her husband were asked to host the dessert portion of the evening, and June decided to go all out.

In Brazil, eating is more than just an experience for your tastebuds. As June describes it, "You eat with your eyes first—and dessert is the jewel."

Wanting to be true to her culture without bombarding her American guests with new flavors, June decided to create a dessert arrangement based on blending American flavors and Brazilian style. She chose a simple spring theme, and her desserts turned out to be just as beautiful as they were delicious.

The Beginning

A few months later, June was walking around the neighborhood and noticed that planning had begun for the annual DC Design House down the street—and she had an idea to incorporate her desserts.

The Design House is an area tradition supporting a local charity. Each year, a house is selected and premiere designers take over individual rooms to showcase their style. It embodied, for June, a tamer version of a similar venture in Brazil, and she resolved to make it more like the exciting party she was used to back home. 

Always the impulsive innovator, June decided to create a tray of the same kind of desserts she had made for the block party, show up uninvited to a design meeting, and pitch her idea. With no pastry chef training, no storefront and no staff, she sold the organizers on the idea of a café for the Design House. Soon, June was tasked with creating an entire business in a month.

The Rest

Somehow, she managed to pull off the Design House (with some help from Whole Foods caterers) to rave reviews. The impromptu business, which she named June B Sweet, took off from there, and within no time, June's desserts were being sold at Whole Foods stores around D.C. and served at Washington Ballet's annual Nutcracker Tea Party.

But June didn't feel totally satisfied. Although she loved the marketing side of the business, helping customers and crafting the perfect blend of Brazilian luxury and American abundance, something was missing. It wasn't until June found Raquel Carvalho, the perfect kitchen-focused compliment to her business acumen, that June B Sweet was really able to flourish. Now, with a fully functioning shop and fleshed-out business plan, June and Raquel can focus on the underlying goal: introducing the art of Brazilian sweets to an American palette. 

What's Next?

June B Sweet has a busy year ahead. In May, the shop will be partnering with Bloomingdale's to cater a wedding show event, as well as a Williams Sonoma pop-up store. There may even be a pop-up location at the Wharf on the D.C. waterfront, and hopefully soon, a retail storefront. For now, the focus is on growing the business while maintaining the individualized look and feel.

June Drummond is one of those women who doesn't wait for good news. She seizes opportunity and creates good news for herself. Her business is a successful example of how one rogue idea might just have the potential to change your life.