Latina baker sprinkles in social justice


Aly Juarez's custom cookies stand out from the rest

Aly Juarez is a Latina baker who owns her own custom sugar cookie business in the Portland metro area. Juarez likes to combine her love of baking with social justice. (CREDIT: ALY JUAREZ)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Latina baker in Hillsboro is combining baking with social justice.

Aly Juarez, 22, is a student at Portland State University and has her own business called Que Dulce Décor. Juarez makes custom sugar cookies, dessert tables and do-it-yourself cookie kits.

Her designs feature famous Latino figures, such as Frida Kahlo or late Mexican American singer Selena Quintanilla.

Aly Juarez, 22, owns her own custom sugar cookie business while attending Portland State University. (CREDIT: LUPE JUAREZ)

“I feel like the cookie industry is dominated by white women, and I’m not really seeing Latina cookie bakers out there, and so I saw that as a problem,” said Juarez. “And so, I thought of taking up space.”

Juarez also labels herself as a “Gen Z” baker because she says her generation is viewed as “outspoken.”

The entrepreneur first started her business two years ago but said she had doubts about her abilities. Now, Juarez is booked for custom orders months in advance.

“It feels good because I thought that I would never get clients,” she said. “That’s always the fear when you start something new. You never know what’s going to happen, but I think being positive and optimistic really helps.”

When asked about advice for other Latina bakers who want to enter the baking industry, Juarez said, “Be as unique as possible. We are all different, and I feel that you put a little bit of yourself into your work, then it’ll make you stand out.”

Aly Juarez’s custom sugar cookie designs feature prominent Latino figures, such as late Mexican American singer Selena Quintanilla. (CREDIT: ALY JUAREZ)

Juarez is currently not taking any custom sugar cookie orders and plans to focus on school for the time being. However, she will be selling do-it-yourself cookie kits until further notice.

The Hillsboro resident hopes people can enjoy her creations either way.

“I’m surprised when people tell me that my work is so pretty that they don’t want to eat them,” Juarez said with a smile. “The first time I ever heard that I even wanted to cry because no way did I ever think that somebody would like my work.”

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