How JoAnna Euraque went from almost being homeless to building a cheesecake empire

If you knew JoAnna Euraque several years ago, you probably would have thought dancing was in her future as a career choice. What you may not have realized at the time was a desire deep within to one day own a business of her own, though the type of business had yet to be determined. Euraque, a native of Metairie, La. and graduate of East Jefferson HIgh School, attended the University of New Orleans prior to Louisiana Culinary School, where she discovered a love for baking before graduating in 2016. During those years spent in culinary school, Euraque spent time both baking and dancing and would always wonder aloud what could be the name of her business. And after several months of consideration, she finally settled on a business name. The Batterina.

Prior to The Batterina’s official launch in 2019, Euraque was seeking to balance the nuances of focusing the necessary time and energy into running her own business full time, while working for an employer that did not understand the demand or sacrifices needed to operate a successful company. ”Working for them like they didn’t get it.” Euraque begun. ”It was like I can’t keep putting myself on the back burner, my business on the back burner, my customers on the back burner to do things for other people. I’m helping y’all make money and I can’t.”

JoAnna Euraque Founder and CEO of The Batterina

After a close experience with homelessness, Euraque decided to take matters into her own hands instead of waiting on someone else and became focused solely on what needed to be done to place herself in a better situation financially. Now seeking to secure her financial future, she started out baking and cooking more in addition to driving late nights with Uber to earn extra money. ”I had tunnel vision.” Euraque told ”I didn’t let anything stop me. You can’t tell me I can’t do this. Guess what? Watch me.”

Her determination paid off. For all of the personal and professional sacrifices she made, Euraque then teamed up with Charles Jones of The Nola Chuckwagon and Rouses Supermarkets to bring more awareness to her now famous cheesecake. Not only did she create more awareness for her brand and business, new customer relationships were established with many of the same customers who patronize The Nola Chuckwagon and Rouses today. Additionally, Euraque has now created opportunities for other local Black-owned businesses who are in the beginning stages of creating their own brand identity by recommending those companies to Rouses to potentially help get their products into the store.

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Euraque’s willingness to help others grow their business has only provided more opportunities for herself and The Batterina. What started out as just a passion for baking cheesecakes has brought plenty of attention in the Greater New Orleans area proven by reviews from both past and present customers as well as her peers. Humble beyond her years, Euraque does not take any recommendation lightly and is always grateful for all of the mentions from those who support her. And with all of the success The Batterina has experienced from those who support her, Euraque has taken her help of other Black Businesses to another level by offering by speaking words of encouragement for those who need it. ”I love to pour into us.” Euraque said. ”Whether it’s another entrepreneur, whether it’s a young student, whether it’s a young couple, an older couple, grandparents, babies. Like whoever. I love it.”

JoAnna Euraque

In spite of all she has been through professionally, Euraque realizes none of her current success would be possible without her greatest inspiration. Her mother. As a youth, she witnessed firsthand the sacrifices her mother made by working odd jobs to ensure family needs were met although missing both dance practices and performances were common. For Euraque, she would not have wanted it any other way. She has used those teachable moments learned years ago to now repay her mother for all of the sacrifices she made. Today, her mother is now employed by The Batterina and is an integral part of operations within the company as a whole and has not worked for another company in two years. Nowadays, ‘Mama Jo’ as she is often referred to, can be found present at most events and when she is not, Euraque notices the difference immediately. “I really couldn’t do it without her.” She begun. ”I take care a lot of the baking, but behind the scenes (she’s) making sure simple things like I have the spoons, I have bags, I have everything packed up. Everything that I need, I have it because she has already thought about it. And side note, she was sick this past week and I didn’t know what to do. It was just me being so used to already being done for me and it wasn’t done for me. I mean she (mom) really does a lot for me and I don’t even realize it.”

Striving to bring The Batterina higher, Euraque’s motivation has always been to serve the best quality product for her current customers and how to reach new ones. Moving forward, the vision she sees for The Batterina and her product offerings is to be placed at multiple stores where customers can pick up a single slice or an entire cake. “We’re working on branding. We’re working on packaging. We’re working on getting all this stuff so we can get through distribution to these products.”

With a plan and vision for her company firmly in place, Euraque knows building a business empire takes time, but she is well on her way to accomplishing the mission.

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