BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Governor Livingston freshman Abigail Ha has enjoyed baking for years, however, she never anticipated it becoming such a rewarding hobby.
Ha learned how to make macarons during quarantine and her friends inspired her to start selling her baked goods. Soon her love of baking turned into an opportunity to help animals, another thing she loves. With the encouragement of friends and family, she began to bake macarons, sell them, and donate the proceeds to The Humane Society of the United States.
Ha said, “What keeps me inspired, as of right now, is knowing that my baking will hopefully bring people a little bit of happiness.”
Her business, which can be found on Facebook and Instagram as @_abby__h, has been expanding for some time now. Customers are able to order from a variety of French macaron flavors on Ha’s social media account. The orders are filled within a given time frame, most often a week or so, and are then delivered to the customer’s doorstep.
Freshman Rebekah Knuth said, “She can bake complicated pastries that take days to make like it’s no big deal. And on top of the complicated baking part, she will decorate everything she makes in such beautiful, intricate, and creative ways. Her creations always look gorgeous and taste just as good as they look, if not better. Even the leftover treats she brings me after a long day of baking are delicious.”
The experience has had its benefits. “The best part of running this business is getting to meet and interact with new people,” Ha said. “Orders placed as gifts or for birthdays are one of the best parts, because it’s amazing to be able to create or be part of a happy experience for someone.”
Patty Hammer, a Governor Livingston graduate and satisfied customer of Ha’s, ordered a variety of flavors of macarons for Valentine’s Day. “She was so thankful and grateful for the order. They came beautifully and professionally packaged. These macarons were the most amazing treat I’ve tried in a very long time,” Hammer said.
Ha is extremely invested and takes great care that every treat she makes is the best it possibly can be. Knuth said, “She would constantly be asking for advice from me and other friends of ours about how this looked, or how she could improve on something next time. There have been weekends where she wouldn’t be able to hang out with our friends because she would be spending the whole time in her kitchen, working for hours on huge batches of macarons.”
Ha’s hard work shows in her dedication to make the customer happy. Hammer said, “Abby was also very accommodating to color them for me to make them more festive with Valentine colors.”
The proceeds from her Valentine’s Day sales reached $300, which Ha donated to The Humane Society, the organization that fights against animal cruelty and neglect, and for science without suffering, and safety for farm and wildlife.
Ha hopes to expand her horizons charity wise. She said, “In the future I hope to be able to ship my macarons to all different places. I would love to be able to work closer with charities.”
Ha’s success continues to flourish and with the help of students and local families, it can continue to go far. The community's support was especially important to Ha. Receiving both the delicious treats and the rewarding feeling of helping animals makes the purchase well worth it.