When sisters Melissa and Marris Linsao posted a photo on social media of their homemade cinnamon rolls and asked if people would be interested in buying them, they had meant it more as a joke. The two could have never predicted that the post would garner such an overwhelming response and lead to them creating their online store, Matelna Bakes.
“We had never actually made cinnamon rolls before,” Marris says with a laugh.
The Silver Spring residents launched Matelna Bakes in May 2020 right as the pandemic was taking hold of the world. Marris, 23, was graduating from college while Melissa, 27, had just lost her restaurant job in Florida. The sisters had always talked about starting a bakery — “Our mom is a huge baker, so we would always help her out,” says Marris — and decided to give it a try when Melissa moved back home.
“Based on the feedback, people love that everything is homemade and fresh,” Marris says. “Cinnamon rolls don’t seem to be something that’s typically sold in other bakeries, and they definitely don’t have the unique flavors that we do.”
Besides classic cinnamon rolls, the sisters’ stuffed series in particular has been a resounding success. Each roll is stuffed with different treats like Fruity Pebbles, Captain Crunch, M&M’s and Oreos and topped with vanilla, cookies and cream or coffee frosting made with beans from Rebel Coffee Company in D.C.
Marris credits all of their innovative ideas to Melissa, who’s worked in the restaurant industry since she was 18 and stays up to date on recipes and food trends.
“Our s’mores cinnamon rolls were all her,” says Marris. “We stuff them with marshmallows and chocolate chips and use marshmallow fluff instead of vanilla icing. Then we put chocolate pieces on top and use a butane torch to give it that roasted and toasted look.”
The sisters are currently operating out of their home under cottage food laws but hope to expand to farmers markets, coffee shops and eventually open their own storefront. For now they’re focusing on building branding relationships with the community and marketing through social media.
“We’re just taking it one step at a time and seeing how everything goes,” says Marris.