Cake-Making Delights: Tiers of Joy Reaches Higher Heights with Help from TEDC Creative Capital

Table of Contents:

Passion for Baking from a Young Age
Unexpected Changes Lead to a New Opportunity
Handling Growth without Burning Out
Finding the Financial Recipe for Greater Growth
New Frontiers for Serving Up Cakes—and More

Launching into a new business is every entrepreneur’s dream—and cake-making Tiers of Joy owners Yvonne and Daryll Porter are no different. They’re pursuing their recipe for delicious success with gorgeous, delectable custom cakes, with some help from their friends at TEDC Creative Capital.

Passion for Baking from a Young Age

When Yvonne Porter arrived in the U.S. from the Philippines in 2019, she came with a dream and a passion for baking that was born at her mother’s side. “I got into cake decorating because my mom made cakes for a living,” Yvonne says. “My mom enrolled me into a fondant decorating design class, and I enjoyed that. That’s what started my interest in cake decorating—making those little fondant toppers on top of cakes.”

Of course, like most entrepreneurs, Yvonne’s entrance into owning a business didn’t follow a straight line. She went to college to study a very different field—accounting. But she had to stop her schooling and go to work sooner than expected. She soon found herself working as a customer service representative providing technical support at Amazon and AT&T. Likewise, her husband Daryll has years of experience working for an HVAC company—a far cry from baking. But none of that experience has been wasted, she says. “I feel like what we’ve been through has prepared us for where we are today.”

Unexpected Changes Lead to a New Opportunity

The idea for launching Tiers of Joy came to life in 2020 after some unplanned hardship reared its head. With the pandemic in full swing, Yvonne got laid off from her job, and so did Daryll. Without a source of income between them, they had to find a way to support themselves. Daryll began working for DoorDash. “It was really, really hard,” Yvonne says.

With a need to stay busy, Yvonne started making cakes at home while watching the Netflix game show Is It Cake? She also took inspiration from different TikTok videos, such as ones that showed how to make a realistic “burger” cake. Though she worked previously at a local bakery, she hadn’t done anything like that before. So, she decided to test her skills and see how creative she could get. Her first cake creation went viral.

“In just the first couple of hours, the post got to 3,000 views,” Yvonne says. “People were messaging me and asking if I could make their cake. And that’s when it all started.” She launched her cake business, handling two or three weekly orders in her home kitchen. People loved the cakes Tiers of Joy delivered, and they wanted more. Soon, business had picked up so much that Daryll quit his main job to bake cakes while Yvonne decorated them. With both of them running at full speed to keep up with the orders, the Porters found themselves needing a way to scale up successfully.

Handling Growth Without Burning Out

Working out of their home was a short-term solution, and the Porters soon needed to make changes. “Doing business at home actually limits what we can do,” Yvonne says. “Not only because we have a small kitchen, but also we can’t sell a lot of things at the same time.”

That was a major concern, but a good one—because Tiers of Joy was growing quickly. The number of cake orders had multiplied substantially, up to 15-20 per week. They began to share the work so that they wouldn’t burn out. Daryll got up early to prove doughs, start croissants, and begin baking, while Yvonne focused on decorations and complex cake building.

In addition, Yvonne and Daryll had to negotiate cash flow challenges. “We had to use our credit cards to pay for all the things we needed to make a custom cake,” she says. The equipment to make their custom cakes cost thousands of dollars. “It was a struggle because both of us don’t have a business background,” Yvonne says. “It was so hard for us to keep up with expenses.” 

Realizing they needed enough cash flow to buy ingredients for upcoming orders and keep the business going, the Porters sought help. And that’s when TEDC Creative Capital stepped in to provide a pathway to success.

Finding the Financial Recipe for Greater Growth

Yvonne and Daryll discovered TEDC by researching their options and seeing what a community lending organization can bring. “I did my research,” she says. “I looked into other institutions that give out business loans, and TEDC is in line with what we’re envisioning.”

The Porters contacted the TEDC team to learn more about their funding options. They explained their background and realized they had found a team willing to stand with Tiers of Joy on its path to success. “They were so excited for us because they believed in our talent,” Yvonne says. “They see the potential in our business.”

Working with TEDC was simple, the Porters say. “They were so accommodating,” says Yvonne. “That’s what I love about them. They understood our situation—that we have cakes to make and clients to meet, so they adjusted to our schedule. They were very patient with our limited knowledge of business.” 

In addition to financing, TEDC provided opportunities for entrepreneurial education so the Porters would have a foundation for further growth. “We don’t have a background in business,” says Yvonne. “So TEDC taught us how to get all the necessary requirements together for our financing. They also gave us classes. I attended a couple of their business seminars to give me a little bit more business background.”

New Frontiers for Serving Up Cakes—and More

With their loan from TEDC Creative Capital, Tiers of Joy has seen more consistent cash flow. They opened their new storefront earlier this year, with new commercial equipment and furnishings for customers to enjoy. The store is expanding its offerings to include not only cakes but also cookies, cupcakes, cake pops, and other customized small treats.

Yvonne and Daryll have other plans to serve up sweet, tasty fun to the community. “My dream is to have a small event space where people can have parties including cakes,” Yvonne says. Tiers of Joy is already starting to offer this package to customers, inviting clients to book their space for children’s parties and other small gatherings. The package will include a custom cake, decorations, and more.

 They also plan to offer classes for those who want to gain skills in cake decorating or simply to have fun with baking. “I want to share what I’ve learned,” Yvonne says. “I know that not everyone can afford custom cakes, and so I want to help people by teaching them how to make those little toppers to put on the cake and things like that.” 

If Yvonne could offer one piece of advice to fellow business owners, it’s this: “Find the right people to help you. Really research the people you’re going to work with and make sure they share your mission and vision. There are a lot of financial institutions that give out business loans just to get a profit. But TEDC goes above and beyond for you.”

TEDC Creative Capital is a community-focused, economic financial organization that supports the startup and growth of small local businesses with various nontraditional funding vehicles and foundational business education programs. Discover the many resources that TEDC can offer to help your business grow.