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Anabela Taveira ’25

Biologist, Baker, and Entrepreneur

Describing the vibe at Purchase, Anabela Taveira (Biology) says, “Everything feels possible here.”

Taveira could never have predicted that winning a pitching contest for entrepreneurs would be possible when she chose Purchase.

Whimsical cake on a stand surrounded by taper candles

Creative Cakes

The Chappaqua, NY resident began baking two years ago. A year ago, she started selling her unique and whimsical desserts through her business, Fairy Sweet. Her TikTok @bakedbybela has amassed over 5.4 million views and 12,000 followers.

“I sell cakes, but not the kind you would find in a grocery store—they are displays of whimsy and imagination, each a unique design that’s meant to give my customers a feeling of childlike wonder!” she says.

“I often decorate my cakes to look like scenes of nature, with buttercream brooks leading into waterfalls, lined with sugar cookie sand or wrapping around mushroom cottages where little fondant bunnies live.”

No Reward Without Risk

Last fall, at the busiest and most stressful point of the semester, Taveira challenged herself to enter the Purchase Startup Pitching Competition, a Shark Tank-style event run by the Economics department. With the goal of reaching a new audience, specifically catering to students at Purchase, she prepared a pitch for Fairy Sweet: Cakes on Campus, an expansion of her business.

Setting nerves aside and with no experience in business or entrepreneurship classes, she began to prepare.

“I knew I’d have to make a somewhat frivolous and sugary business seem serious enough to warrant a $1,000+ investment,” she explains.

She rose to the challenge and won the Community Enhancement award of $1,500.

Shark Tank 2023: Asst. Professor Iulia Chikish, Community Enhancement award winner Anabela Taveira '25, and Nancy Deckinger, event sp...

Taveira plans to use the award money “to start holding Fairy Sweet pop-up sales on campus, especially on holidays or for events.” And she’d like to launch a website to take orders from students and parents for delivery directly to student residences on campus.

“Baking businesses can be very costly and have a lot of overhead charges, so I’m incredibly grateful to be able to pursue what I love with this award money.”

Taveira is also grateful for the experience, knowing she would regret not entering the contest.

“It would be great exposure for my business and a great opportunity to practice public speaking, even if I didn’t win anything,” she says. “I’m so thankful that I did because it went better than I could have imagined!”

Why Purchase?

A biology major, Taveira first came to Purchase for its value as a public school, its woodland campus, and its proximity to both her nearby hometown and New York City.

“I didn’t know at the time just how right I was to enroll here! Purchase’s welcoming environment has nurtured my personal and academic growth in ways I never could have predicted, and in ways I’ll always be grateful for,” she says.

Right Brain, Meet Left

Taveira points to several factors contributing to the strength of the biology program here.

“Purchase is an incredible school for biology, and not for the reasons I expected,” she says. “With its small class sizes (as opposed to 400+ person lectures at big universities), students are guaranteed to form connections and relationships with their professors, which is a MUST for succeeding in academics and post-grad career!”

The required class Biology Program Seminar, features “lectures from Purchase alumni who have found great success with their biology degrees and want to educate us on the different paths we can take in this field.”

“All the professors I’ve had are incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, and eager to help students understand every concept,” Taveira adds.

“I absolutely love biology, especially the more complex content of upper-level classes I’ve taken like Genomics and Developmental Biology.”

She hopes to attend graduate school for an MS in biotechnology or applied bioinformatics, but she’s not taking any option off the table.

“Life is long, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up launching a full bakery business at some point!”

The Q+A

PC: What’s your favorite place on campus? To study, meet friends, or just hang out…

AT: My favorite place on campus is the Great Lawn. It feels so central to everything, brimming with life and activity. Strewn with colorful leaves during autumn, tiny snowmen in the winter, and students playing frisbee on the first days of spring, the Great Lawn has been with me through every season of my Purchase experience. I’ll always cherish the moments spent lounging in the grass with friends, eating sandwiches from The Hub, and laughing for hours.

PC: What do you love most about Purchase?

AT: What I love most about Purchase has always been the people. Overflowing with passion, the culture on campus encourages every student to embrace their individuality. There’s an energy at Purchase I’ve never encountered anywhere else—everything feels possible here.

PC: Finish the sentence: Purchase makes it possible to…

AT: Explore anything and everything without judgment.

Follow Fairy Sweet:

Whimsical cake on a stand surrounded by taper candles

Whimsical cake on a stand surrounded by taper candles