Today we’d like to introduce you to Donya Brown.
Donya, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Hi, I’m Donya, the mastermind and lunatic behind Red Shoe Cakes. It all started back in the late ’70s with a little kid and a big red cookbook. Betty Crocker and I became great friends and my love of cooking and baking flourished under her tutelage. Jump up to the early ’80s and that loving kitchen girl tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit and became a purveyor of anything she could get her hands on. Bake-sales, lemonade stands, you name a way to make a handful of change and I was on it.
About four years ago, those two worlds collided. I saw a video of a baker pouring ungodly amounts of cognac over a cake and thought, “There’s got to be a classier and tastier way to do that. Challenge accepted!” After some trial and error, I got it right. My French Kiss was born! It was suggested to me to start selling all kinds of cocktail infused cakes, so I did. Within a week, I’d concocted a dozen combinations in my head and set out to bake them all. The ideas haven’t stopped, so neither have the cakes!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been anything but smooth! Starting in Southern California, where healthy eating is king, cake with alcohol (aka carbs with more carbs) wasn’t as universal of a cash cow as I thought. I had a very loyal clientele, but the circle was small. Not quite enough to keep the business self-sustaining.
I started wooing my Atlanta cake family online several months before I moved just to see what kind of foundation I had to build on. Atl showed up for me! Unfortunately, I couldn’t show up for them. My move out here didn’t go as planned and I ended up without a kitchen, supplies, transportation or money for several crucial months. It took some work, but my family and I were able to move into our own place and recover and rebuild my supplies. My Cakefam has continued to grow steadily and I’m excited to get baking for them!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Red Shoe Cakes – what should we know?
Red Shoe Cakes is a home-based cakery specializing in bundt cakes and desserts infused with premium spirits. Hand-crafted, original and delivered fresh, my Caketails are made specifically for you. Each has a generous amount of your favorite libation swirled into the batter and basted on after baking. They are not intended to get you tipsy, but to showcase that spirit’s flavor in a classy new light.
My motto is, “If you can drink it, I can bake it!” And it’s very true! I love the idea of creating new masterpieces/ signature pieces for my clients. I know excellent bakers who can make the most amazing fondant and buttercream creations. I am not one of them. For me, it’s all about the cake, not the decoration. I bake bundts because my ladies are beautiful straight out of the pan. I dress them simply and tastefully so you can enjoy the symphony of flavors without all of the distracting fluff.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My biggest supporters are my husband and son. I would be nothing without them. My husband has been my #1 cornerman from inception, buying me pans and the most random alcohols he can find whence the mood strikes him. He doesn’t complain and even when we were struggling, he was thinking of new concepts and avenues for the business. He is my rock.
My son’s favorite title is Chief Tasting Officer and he takes his position very seriously! There are very few of my cakes he hasn’t tasted and he is brutally honest in his reviews of them. He knows constructive criticism only makes you better! On top of that, he is my #1 hype man/ marketing team. Wherever we are, he’s got my cards in hand and company info on the tip of his tongue. For a 9-year-old, he’s an awesome salesman!
- Website: Redshoecakes.com
- Phone: 470-242-4889
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: redshoecakes
- Facebook: redshoecakes
- Yelp: redshoecakes
Marie Sam Sanchez (one image)