Unique Dessert Decorating Studio with a ‘Sprinkle’ of ASL
The Sweet Hand, a unique new do-it-yourself dessert decorating studio that also offers a sprinkle of ASL (American Sign Language) has opened at Mercantile West in Ladera Ranch.
Owned by Ladera Ranch resident Abigail Longo, The Sweet Hand welcomes walk-in customers who wish to decorate desserts, along with host classes, events, and private parties. Longo, who is Deaf and previously taught Deaf children, will offer classes for students of all ages. Parents of Deaf or hard-of-hearing children can take ASL classes for free, and The Sweet Hand will also offer ASL Story Time every other Tuesday for children.
The Sweet Hand provides everything customers need to have a creative and delicious experience, including pre-baked cookies, cupcakes, and cakes; icing and fondant; toppings; decorating tools; and a take-home box if you prefer to wait to eat your treats.
Longo shares that The Sweet Hand was inspired by her three daughters' love of dessert decorating and her own love for teaching Deaf children.
“One of our favorite activities is dessert decorating,” Longo said of her and her daughters. “We have also always enjoyed learning together, but many classes aren’t accessible or accommodating to Deaf or hard-of-hearing students of any age. This gave me the idea to start The Sweet Hand. This business brings hands-on fun and connects both deaf and hearing people in a creative environment.”
Longo – who has a mixed family of Deaf, SODAS (Siblings of Deaf Adults), and CODAS (Children of Deaf Adults) – previously owned a DIY pottery painting business and ASL studio, The Expressive Hand, in Philadelphia before relocating to Southern California. A graduate of the California State University of Northridge, she also has a master’s degree from Columbia University, Teachers College.
“Many Deaf people have a hard time finding jobs even with top-notch degrees and skills because many people feel it’s too complicated to hire due to communication issues,” explained Longo. “If being Deaf was looked at as a linguistic-cultural minority instead of a disability, I think more people would be open to hiring us. I’m excited to open that door with The Sweet Hand.”
The Sweet Hand is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays are open for ASL classes only, beginning in January.
The studio is located at 25642 Crown Valley Pkwy., Suite E2, in Ladera Ranch. For more information or to book a party for six or more people, call 949.339.3477 or visit thesweethand.com.