Person of Interest: Express Yourself with Abby Longo

Longo is the owner of The Sweet Hand in Ladera Ranch, a new dessert-decorating studio that also offers classes in American Sign Language.
Abby Longo The Sweet Hand Ladera Ranch
Abby Longo

Photo by Emily J. Davis.

How did you think of this concept?

I used to own a paint-your-own pottery studio in Philadelphia, but we had to sell
it when we moved to Ladera Ranch. One of my daughters studies culinary arts at Orange County School of the Arts, and she loves baking. She watches all the baking shows. And we are in such a cute area with lots of children and families. So I decided to set up the shop.

What is the experience like?

We offer a hands-on experience—a chance to put the phones away and bond with friends and family. You can walk in and decorate cookies, cupcakes, or cakes. All the supplies are provided. We also host parties, we do special decorating classes, and we have take-home kits as well.

Where does American Sign Language come into play?

We have ASL classes here for kids and adults. We also do ASL story time. And free courses for parents of Deaf children. I’m Deaf, and although some people think of it as a disability, it’s really a language and a culture. This is a great way to expose kids and adults to another culture. We also have a lot of Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees. It’s often difficult for Deaf people to find jobs because people think it will be a problem. But with just a little bit of creativity, you can hire a real gem of a person who is totally talented.

What have been the kids’ reactions?

They love to share words they know in ASL or how to sign their name. They ask the best questions. And they’re so creative with the decorations. I love posting their creations on our Instagram!

Check out Abby Longo’s The Sweet Hand, located at 25642 Crown Valley Parkway, Ladera Ranch.

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