Two Maryland sisters furloughed during the government shutdown are turning to a sweet side hustle to stay afloat.
Like many of the 800,000 federal workers going without pay, Nikki Howard and sister Jaqi Wright have struggled past-due bills and other expenses. Both women also have husbands who can't work due to disabilities.
"How do I look at my child and say, 'I can't send you back to school,'" said Howard, who works with the Food and Drug Administration.
So they turned their love for baking into a business plan.
"Cheesecake has been my weakness since I can remember," Howard said.
"Our mother said, 'You know what girl, you could sell these cheesecakes' and ding ding ding ding went off in my mind. And it's like, we can sell these cheesecakes," Wright said.
And thus, the Furlough Cheesecake was born.
"We prepared for rain, but we got a monsoon," said Wright, who works at the Department of Justice.
In a little more than a week, the sisters have received nearly 100 orders.
"Atlanta, Indiana, Texas," the sisters said in unison.
Howard and Wright said they plan to go back to their government jobs once the shutdown ends, but they'll continue to sell as many cheesecakes as they can in the meantime.
"We need to make sure that we're securing a future for ourselves and for our families and hopefully for others as well. So we’re going to keep going," Howard said.