BALTIMORE - The biography page on Alexis Streets' website describes her as a "celebrity dessert stylist." The description covers only part of what the Savage resident does at her business, Basket Treats by Alexis Streets.
She provides ornate displays of what she calls Bougie Balloons, operates a mobile dessert truck called The Dessert Junkie, plans weddings and makes the specialty dessert baskets that give her enterprise its catchy name.
As for the celebrity part of the description, that comes from her extensive list of famous clients. Streets says she's done special dessert catering for celebs including rappers Megan Thee Stallion, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and cast members from "The Real Housewives of Potomac." The photo gallery on her website is full of pics of her with some of her famous clients.
She says she handles these and all her other clients - who live or work in places as varied as Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and the Mid-Atlantic - with the same attention to detail and eye for grandeur.
Streets, 46, says her biggest motivation is her children, 19-year-old Azaria Brown and 13-year-old Theodore Streets IV.
"They motivate me more than anything," she said. "That's why I do what I do, because I pretty much want to leave a legacy for them. I want to make sure that they're good and taken care of."
Streets, who grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, got into business almost 12 years ago. Before then, she was primarily raising her daughter.
Just as her daughter was old enough for Streets to start thinking about finding a job outside her home, she found out that she was pregnant with her son, she recalls.
As she stayed home to raise her children, she said, she looked for ways to fill her time. She started making baskets to sell.
"I started off with baby shower baskets that had items for the baby in there, (and) real estate baskets, like starter baskets - paper towels, items like detergent - stuff like that to start someone in a new home," she said. "We would do anniversary baskets that might entail a bottle of wine and champagne glasses, or wine glasses, cheese and chocolate-covered strawberries. And that's when it really, really started."
The demand around Valentine's Day made the appeal of edible treats very apparent, she said. She said her sister encouraged the baking component behind the treats, and taught her how to bake from scratch. From there, the business grew.
As the operation expanded, Streets opened a shop in Upper Marlboro. Eventually, she moved to the current location in Laurel, where the business has been for seven years.
MORE THAN TREATS
Ultimately, the name of the business reflects only one part of Streets' holistic business model.
Planning events and catering are the main components under the Basket Treats umbrella. Then there are several subsidiaries that take the brand even further, including an on-site bakery.
"We pretty much try to cover everything and become a one-stop shop," Streets said.
To make this range of services possible, Streets partners with people who help execute her vision. Natalie Melton of Upper Marlboro has worked with Streets on multiple events through her firm, Events Design Group.
"She really does, in my opinion, try to cater to a luxury client, which is my ideal client," Melton said.
A repeat client, Be Hall of Bel Air, praised Streets' professionalism and innovation.
"She has an imagination for bringing things to life," Hall said. "Most people think in 2-D. She's already mapped out the room, she's already 3-D'ed the room, she's already laid everything out."
Hall and Melton said it is important for them as Black women to work with another Black woman in a time of heightened attention to Black entrepreneurship and struggles.
"We are in a space where we're trying to get better and get more because we never got our 40 acres and a mule, to be honest," said Melton, referring to the promise of reparations to African Americans after the Civil War. "We need the representation. We need our Black and brown children to see that it's attainable. We need them to know that it can be done and it can be done well by persons of color."
As Streets continues to operate her business, she said, she expects to see others like her launch successful ventures.
"I think this year, last year and going forward, you're going to see so much Black entrepreneurship, and I think it's needed. It's a great thing ... . It's very important for people to see that your past doesn't have to determine your future."
Her path hasn't been without setbacks. For instance, she lost a trusted assistant, Reign Miller, to a heart attack last year. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately postponed many of Streets' events and pushed the bakery to close temporarily.
As for her future, Streets eventually wants to have four locations for her business, including Los Angeles, where she's already doing a lot of work. "I'm working on number 2 (location) now," she said.
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