Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes — April McClung

What began as a LOCAL fundraiser to send her children on study-abroad opportunities has certainly become something much greater than April McClung ever envisioned for herself and her family. Now, people all over the country are enjoying her slices and it’s become a booming business.

April McClung
April McClung
Photography by Mary Fehr

Your story sounds like an old-fashioned bake sale.
Yes! I actually started baking to raise money that would pay for my sons to travel. We raised more than $14,000 using my Grandmother Emily’s 100-year-old recipe for pound cakes. We have been in business now for almost nine years and are producing thousands of slices from hundreds of cakes each month. We ship all over the U.S., and our products can be found everywhere from local farmers markets to Amazon and Walmart.com. We even participate in Sam’s Club Roadshows in five Southeastern states.

What kind of reaction do you get from customers?
People tell me time and again how our Heirloom Pound Cakes flood their minds and their hearts with memories of their grandmother or another loved one—someone who used to love on them with cake or food. Those memories cause tears of joy and comfort. We tap into nostalgia after people sample our cakes, and we tell our story. People literally fall in love with the old-fashioned flavor, and it gives them chills to hear the story.  We have seen various reactions—crying, dancing, screaming, singing, and even cursing! It’s amazing!

Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes

Best advice?
Just because you have the ability to borrow money doesn’t mean you should! Force yourself to come up with other solutions and let borrowing money be the last option. As far as the worst advice? Never say “no” to a customer. Many times, it’s not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. Use discernment and lots of tact and explain your position. The goal is to create a win-win!

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What would you tell readers who are considering pursuing a passion project of their own?
I’m coming along at a time where women and people of color are starting and growing businesses at an enormous rate. Make sure before you leap that your business model is profitable! Remember your why, work smart, know your numbers, get a mentor, and avoid loans as much as possible. Stay relevant and think outside the box! 

I’m grateful that my business can bring peace, laughter, and joy to others as it has for my family.

— April McCLung
IG: @EmilysHPC

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