Cupcakes become calling
Senior nursing major Linda Venegas’ business LJV Cupcakes has experienced great success. | Rebecca Mitchell / THE CHIMES
Linda Venegas, senior nursing major, had always seen baking as simply a hobby and a time to talk to God, but when God woke her up at 5 a.m. on Jan. 15 with the vision of a cupcake company, she knew her hobby had turned into something more.
Within two hours of receiving the vision, she had established a team and an official company name: LJV Cupcakes.
LJV Cupcakes has given Venegas the opportunity to channel her love of baking into a cupcake business devoted to feeding the homeless. Though only a month old, the company has already reached great success, with orders booked through May, causing friends and family to encourage Venegas to apply for both Shark Tank and Praxis Academy.
The company’s success took anything but a long time, for which Venegas credits God alone. After selling several batches of cupcakes, they have delved into baking cakes for weddings. They also got asked to join the supply store All in the Details, which has given them a good amount of business. This Friday, she has the casting call for Shark Tank, and next week Fox 11 news will interview her.
“If you limit God, you won’t experience his full blessings in your life, but it’s important to obey God [and] to trust in God because definitely we started this company I think with $45,” Venegas said. “Our God is just amazing, so he can do it.”
LJV stands for love, joy and victory, but it also stands for the team: Linda, Linda’s best friend Jenelle Noguera and Linda’s brother Victor. When Linda started the company, she immediately talked to Noguera and Victor, and they took on the roles of manager and staff member.
With each order, they hope to bless the recipients of the cupcakes, as well as use some of the proceeds to help the homeless and underprivileged in Mexico, South America and Cambodia. Venegas, who grew up with missionary parents, has a particular passion for service both locally and globally, which plays a large role in her company.
“So people are catching the vision because they know that the money is going where we are saying,” Venegas said.
In order to implement her passion for missions, she and her team plan to go to Cambodia and Africa during the summer. In Cambodia, they will serve at orphanages, and in Africa, they will teach the women a cupcake recipe made with specialty African ingredients, such as Cassava flour, so the women can sell the cupcakes.
“A lot of people put limitations and say like, ‘You can’t do your own business and schooling and doctor and all that stuff,’ but I saw that where God guides he provides. And not only that, but he doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies those he calls. So I’m not a qualified baker. I never took classes for baking or anything, but I definitely knew that I had faith and vision and a purpose and that was to feed the homeless all over the world,” Venegas said.
Eventually, Venegas wants to expand an LJV branch to Mexico, where instead of only sending funds, she could train single mothers and other vulnerable groups how to make cupcakes so they could support their families.
“We can’t save the world, we know that for a fact, but whoever we can, that’s the difference,” Venegas said. “I know that I can’t save the world, but I can do what God has called me to do.”
Even though the company has not reached all of these countries yet, they already have had the opportunity to encourage those who order from them locally. Nearly every time they deliver cupcakes, the customers open up about the struggles clouding their lives and express gratitude for the loving dispositions of the LJV team.
“We get to share Christ, not because of what we’re saying, because of what they’re seeing,” Venegas said. “We have non believers—a lot of them are [our] customers, and they say, ‘Oh, I want to order just because of your smiles or I just want to order because of your love.’”
Not only does Venegas run a cupcake business, but she also attends Biola as a full time nursing student. Though this amount of work would make most shudder, God has continually given them strength, according to Venegas.
“It’s awesome because we get to do our studies and we get to do our business and he just provides the time. It’s amazing. Because we’re being obedient there’s so much peace... I can do my studies better than I could when I didn’t have a business,” Venegas said. “But honestly we all have those 24 hours that God has given us and if we manage them correctly and properly and prayerfully, we can manage a lot.”