Tanisha Melvin used to be scared to tell the world her story.
The wife and mother of three spent a little over one year in federal prison for her role in the Smith Advertising fraud scheme. That was her past, but it’s not her future.
Now the owner of Addictive Kravings, a thriving home-based baking business in Fayetteville, Melvin will appear on ABC’s “Free Enterprise” with the hopes of being an inspiration for others in similar situations.
The show, which airs this Sunday, Oct. 31, at 1 p.m., is based on Inmates to Entrepreneurs, an eight-week program founded by Raleigh-based entrepreneur Brian Hamilton and the Rev. Robert J. Harris that Melvin completed in 2019, while on probation after she was released from prison in 2017.
Melvin said the course provided not only the groundwork and knowledge that it takes to start a business but also the foundation for her to get her mind right after spending the year prior in prison.
Melvin has an associate degree in business and marketing and had always worked in those fields, but was also a long-time hobby baker, baking sweets for family, friends and church gatherings.
She took a culinary class in prison and received her food safety certification, but considered baking no more than a backup plan.
“I never saw the value in what I produced as something I could sell as a business,” she said.
But the baked goods she brought in to one of her business classes got rave reviews and encouragement from classmates that her future was in the dessert business, something she said her husband and oldest daughter had long been encouraging her to do.
“They’ve been telling me to do this for years, but I was hard-headed,” she said, laughing.
Melvin said she prayed every day, asking for guidance on what she should do. Eventually, she said, she realized the answer was already in her head.
“That was my push to start the business,” she said.
Later in 2019, she was invited to be a vendor at a Greater Fayetteville Chamber event. However, to participate, she needed to be a licensed business. To operate, Melvin had to apply to be a home processor and had to have her kitchen inspected by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.