MEET VIVIANNE JACKSON-ALMEIDA
I’m incredibly happy that I’m sharing the amazing, very flavorful pies that I so loved as a child. My Mom’s spice-filled sweet potato pies were famous in our Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn New York neighborhood.
Mom and Dad were born and raised in South Carolina. Mom was the kind of woman who sent back home for tea leaves just to make delicious healing herbal teas for her family. She created beautiful front and back yard gardens surrounding our lovely brownstone home, yet she still sent back home for special herbs and tea leaves. As a child I was always puzzled by her search for all things natural. As an adult, I now totally understand, and I try my hardest to duplicate the delicious organic pies that she baked.
Her pies made grown men fight over them at family parties, and I’ve continued the tradition! My pies are a part of a lifestyle movement. They are present and relevant; they add joy to anyone’s life.
I’m a graduate of Pratt Institute and lover of all fine arts. I was an assistant buyer for Bloomingdale’s department store, then a buyer for the corporate buying office Frederick Atkins. I opened my own boutique, V.J.Jones, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn where I met many amazing, talented people including my great friend Karen Lascaris. Most are still very close friends.
My landlord, filmmaker Spike Lee, had his famous 40-Acres-and-a-Mule store right next door to mine. His expectation was that we attend his movie openings and parties. Boy, we loved every minute of rubbing elbows with his actors and being a part of the back to Brooklyn movement in the late 80’s- 90’s. I was quite happy when Halle Berry shopped at my store while Wesley Snipes waited outside. I baked my sweet potato pies for store events, dinner parties and holidays back in the day…
One of my biggest achievements was teaching Merchandising for Retail at Parsons School of Design. Molding others and teaching them to identify their strengths and opportunities is one of my passions, so this was the perfect platform.
Most recently, I’ve worked as a regional manager of human resources at both JetBlue Airways and Bloomingdale’s.
WHAT I LIKE TO DO…
My husband Chris is a fabulous drummer, so music is a big part of our lives. Music truly heals the soul. Our son Marcel is a foodie and can seriously burn in the kitchen! We love to get together and cook our fave dishes for the holidays, birthday parties and our annual New Years’ Eve parties with our friend Faith.
Marcel and Chris influenced me to get moving and market my pies. Our fashion icon diva neighbor Audrey Smaltz also loved the pies so much that she’s ordered 25 sweet potato and apple pies as gifts for business associates for the past 3 Christmas holidays.
Vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard and Paris is something that we love to do as a family. Watching the waves at South beach and eating great seafood on a beautiful island is pretty nice.
Giving dinner parties with my amazing family and friends, community based volunteering and mentoring teenage girls are feel good things.