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We have a two-for-one today! We had the privilege of chatting with the talented cousins and entrepreneurs behind Primas Bakery and Boutique. Rachel Mullen is the sweet mastermind who whips up cakes and cookies that are as beautiful as they are delicious, while Angelique (Gonzalez) Sloan is the design-savvy purveyor behind Mucho, a vibrant and joyful retail brand dedicated to bringing a Mexican mercado experience to Memphis.

Both of these women had dreams of opening their own brick-and-mortar retail storefront, and it was bringing both of their visions together that made it possible. They named the space Primas — the Spanish word for ‘cousins’ — and brought RM Petit Cakes and Mucho together under one roof. The two businesses thrive side-by-side and offer visitors the best of all worlds: mouth-watering baked goods and gorgeous clothing and home goods. Can you think of a better shopping experience? 

First, we spoke to Rachel about how she discovered her love of baking, her training at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), her favorite sugary treat to serve, and the most challenging custom order that’s ever crossed her counter. Then, we turned to Angelique to discuss her decision to bring a Mexican market to Memphis, her favorite ways to mix traditional artisan goods with current trends, and which items she anticipates will be popular this holiday season.

Welcome our newest FACES of Memphis!

Owners of Primas in Memphis

Welcome Angelique Sloan (left) and Rachel Mullen (right), our newest FACES of Memphis!

Meet Rachel Mullen!

What inspired you to take the leap to go to CIA to study baking and pastries?

When I was an undergrad at Christian Brothers University (CBU), I realized quickly that I wanted to pursue a career in the foodservice industry. I’ve always been really fascinated by food. I decided to major in Business Management because I knew I eventually wanted to open a food service establishment. I researched culinary schools and fell in love with everything the Culinary Institute of America had to offer.

At the end of my junior year, I started working as a Stagiere at Jarrett’s Restaurant [in Memphis] under Chef Rick Farmer. It was my first time working in a professional kitchen, and I got a really well-rounded experience there. The whole kitchen team was so knowledgeable, and they were happy to share that knowledge with me. It was there that I realized I wanted to pursue a degree in baking and pastry arts. I continued working there until I completed my program at Christian Brothers. Once I graduated from CBU, I was accepted to the Baking & Pastry Arts Program at the CIA. I feel so fortunate that I’m able to put both of my degrees to use daily at Primas! 

Cake topped with flowers and macarons

Rachel’s talent for baking and pastry arts is plain to see. Call on Primas next time you’re in need of a special occasion cake!

How has it been launching a business in the city where you were born and raised? How has the community supported you?

Once I graduated from the CIA, I moved back to Memphis. It had evolved so much in just two years! I knew it was where I wanted to stay and eventually start my own business. I feel so fortunate that I was able to open a business where I was born and raised. The city has been so supportive of Primas, and we love our neighbors on South Main! 

How do you switch things up from season to season? Where do you find creative inspiration when it comes to your vibrant, fun baked goods — both visually and in terms of flavor?

I’m a huge fan of holidays, in general. I love looking to the next event or season and creating modern and vibrant menus. I like to use local and seasonal products in my pastries. I’ve developed a unique style of decorating over the years. It’s so much fun to research new techniques on Instagram and TikTok. One of the wonderful things about my industry is that there is always something new to learn. I never get bored! I have the foundation of pastry techniques that I learned from the CIA, but now I get to add new styles of decorating to the mix. 

Christmas cookies

“I’ve worked really hard creating a unique and festive holiday menu this year,” Rachel says of her holiday offerings. “Our Hot Cocoa Bombs make really great stocking stuffers or Secret Santa gifts. And our Almond Christmas Tree Petit Fours and Holiday French Macaron Samplers are always a hit!”

Let’s say you’re baking at home for your friends and family. What’s on the menu?

Snickerdoodle Cookie Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. Everyone in my family loves this recipe! It’s funny because not many people order it from our menu! If they only knew how delicious it is. I think I took down about 75% of the cookie cake by myself last Thanksgiving!

What advice do you have for women who are taking a leap into launching their own business?

Starting a business can be really overwhelming. There will be obstacles. Try to network with other small business owners and make connections. Using local resources for advice can be super helpful!

Beyond faith, family, or friends, what are three things you can’t live without?

 Coffee, bacon, and my pup, Maddie! 

Meet Angelique Sloan!

Which came first, the idea to open a retail space or the desire to bring the magic of a Mexican market to Memphis?

At a young age, I always dreamed of owning a unique boutique. Initially, it was a dream to have my own clothing line, since I was in school for fashion design in Vista, CA, but my path changed when I discovered how much I love designing on the computer and using programs like Photoshop. I applied to Memphis College of Art and got a President’s Scholarship! After graduating, I landed my dream job at the time as a photographer’s stylist designing sets for home organization goods and retouching those photos in Southaven, MS. I loved it there.

However, after a visit to Texas to see my dad and family, I realized how much I missed the culture of my family. A week in Texas visiting mercados and eating all the Mexican food got me thinking that I wanted to create my own version of that here. That is when the brainstorming began for Mucho.

Primas Boutique & Bakery in Memphis

Angelique’s foray into retail began online, then translated to pop-up shops and festivals, before she joined forces with Rachel to open Primas. Image: Taylor Tartera

Did you dive right into opening a brick and mortar space? Or was this something you tested online first? 

I started out online in 2016 but learned quickly how difficult it is to be seen with so many other shops out there. I did my very first pop-up event with Rachel. It was then that I knew I needed to reach people locally by doing festivals. I got so much great feedback from people, and it’s so much fun being able to talk about my passion and products with people face-to-face. From there, I knew that interacting with my customers and allowing them to appreciate my beautiful products in person was the way to go.

The DMC (Downtown Memphis Commission) had a program called Open On Main that allowed me to pop up in a retail space for one month. It was a dream come true to walk into my own shop without having to haul all of my inventory with me each time. I believe it was then that I reached out to Rachel about opening up together because I knew that was her dream to have a space of her own as well. 

What’s your favorite item you have in the shop right now? What do you anticipate will be a big holiday gifting item?

It is so hard to pick one item; half the time I want so many things I carry for myself! I’m super proud of my Memphis-themed Loteria prints that I designed. It warms my heart when customers pick it up and react to it. I think that the hand-embroidered ornaments will be a big holiday gifting item as well as our Mexican blankets and Mexican Rebozo Blanket Scarves.

Mucho Boutique in Memphis

“I love sourcing new products. I definitely have certain items I love to keep in the shop, but for the most part, I love to keep things different and unique,” says Angelique. “A lot of my inspiration comes from searching on social media.”

What advice would you have for others who want to create a curated, inspired space?

I have learned a lot from this process. I am still learning new things each day. Do your research and don’t give up, even when things seem impossible or hard. If you love what someone else is doing or making, don’t be afraid to reach out to them.

What’s your best advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?

You can do it, but if you can’t figure something out, don’t be afraid to ask questions and network with other entrepreneurs. 

We know you’re a passionate taco fan. Where do you find the best tacos in Memphis?

Maciel’s, El Mezcal, Los Comales, and Molly’s La Casita.

Beyond faith, family, or friends, what are three things you can’t live without?

My BeeBee (blanket), ChapStick, and sweets.

Thanks, Rachel and Angelique! Learn more about Primas Bakery and Boutique HERE. Photography provided by Rachel and Angelique, unless otherwise noted.

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