Founders of Black-Owned Cheesecake Business Inspired by Trump's Government Shutdown

Nikki Howard and Jaqi Wright, founders of The Furlough Cheesecake

Nikki Howard and Jaqi Wright, two sisters from Maryland were furloughed during the recent government shutdown. So, they started their own business selling cheesecakes to make ends meet. Sarcastically, they named their company, The Furlough Cheesecake, and it turned out to be a great publicity stunt as they have received lots of orders from across the country and overwhelming support from the public!
Nikki works for the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Jaqi works for the Department of Justice (DOJ), and they were just two of the many federal government employees that were greatly affected by Trump's government shutdown which lasted for more than a month. Some studies even included that African American families were affected the most!

Staying motivated

But they couldn't just let days go by without doing anything to pay their bills. They can't rely on their husbands, who they said weren't able to work due to disabilities, as well. So they were forced to step up and start their own business.

"It's either cry or get up and do something, so we decided to get up and do something," Nikki told ABC 7 WJLA.

The idea of putting up a cheesecake business came up after Jaqi and her mother tasted how delicious and succulent the cheesecake Nikki made for New Year is.

"My mother said, 'Girl, you could sell these cheesecakes,'" Jaqi said. "And I was like, why don't we sell the cheesecakes?"

A local business getting national support

From there, Nikki and Jaqi, now also known as the Furlough Sisters, launched the business through Facebook, Instagram, and their own website. During their very first week in business, they received an overwhelming number of orders from within the state of Maryland... and also from other states!

"I'm not saying that I'm happy that we're not at work and getting a consistent paycheck, but it's a great way to use the time," Jaqi said. "As far as just having something else to put my brain on, my creativity on, it feels amazing."

Their delicious cheesecakes currently come in two flavors: Original and Sweet Potato. They are 9-10" of homemade goodness, all the way down to the graham cracker crust!

For more information about The Furlough Cheesecake or to place an order online, visit or follow them on Instagram @thefurloughcake

Watch their appearance on Ellen:
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