What were you doing (career-wise) when you decided
to create Polkadot Pound Cake?
I was a stay-at-home-mom dreaming of a new business. After owning a
dance studio for 12 years, I decided to hang up my tutu and stay
home with my two-year old daughter, Emily. A year later, my
daughter Hannah arrived. Baking together became one of our favorite
afternoon activities. I found inspiration in the flour all over my
kitchen counters — Polkadot Pound Cake was born.
What inspired you to do this?
My passion for baking is inspired by my childhood memories of the
heavenly aromas created by my Norwegian mother's baking. Her
influence is found in my traditional American cakes. My mom sewed
most of my childhood dresses, and would trim the dresses in
decorative ribbons. My company name is a tribute to her and the
polka-dot ribbons she used.
When did you start your business?
I incorporated in November 2008, and, after almost year of R &
D, launched last fall.
When did you know that you could really make a go of
One day I decided to give sample loaves of my cakes to local
businesses. I got three orders that day!
What was your start-up cost? How did you get the money and what
did you use it for?
A few hundred dollars was all I needed to purchase the initial
ingredients, packaging and business cards.
What was the biggest obstacle?
The biggest obstacle was finding a commercial kitchen space that
was affordable to rent.
Did your friends and family support your dream?
They had suggested for years that I sell my baked goods. They
continue to be incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about my
goals and dreams. They believed in me from the beginning even when
I had my own doubts!
How did you maintain your confidence when doors were closed in
your face, when people didn’t get it or said “no”?
For every 10 "no's" you will hear 1 "yes." It can be very
discouraging out there. It takes time and research to figure out
who your customer is and where to find them.
How long did it take you to get everything off the
In the past year, I have updated my website, added a Facebook
presence, and researched strategies for attracting new
How long did it take for your business to become
Fortunately Polkadot Pound Cake has been profitable since my first
order! The company pays for itself and I continue to reinvest the
profits so that I can continue to grow and expand toward the bigger
dreams that I have planned!
What's the hardest part of what you do?
It can be difficult at times to juggle being an entrepreneur, wife,
and mother. A good support team is crucial. It is very easy to find
yourself working almost 24/7 when building a business, but making
time for my family and for myself is so important. One way I find
that is teaching an adult tap class every Monday night.
What's the most fun part of what you do?
I absolutely love meeting my customers! It feels wonderful to see
their excitement when I deliver to their special events.
Where do you work from?
Testing new recipes and paperwork is done from my home office and
baking from a commercial kitchen.
Do you have employees?
I look forward to the day that I can hire employees. Currently I
hold the crown for employee of the month.
How have you been using social media to grow your
I love my Facebook page! I post upcoming events, specials, photos,
and new cake ideas. As a community of foodies, we enjoy sharing our
love for cake.
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What’s so inspiring
Martha Stewart has always been an entrepreneurial role model. She
cultivated her passion for cooking, housekeeping, and more into a
I am also a fan of the Stonewall Kitchen Gourmet food line.
Jonathan King and Jim Stott created this delicious and successful
brand, selling their unique jams at a local farmers market. Start
small, dream big!
How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your
business successful? How do you continue to grow and learn?
I was a finance and business major in college, which has given me a
basic understanding in running a business. Experience from running
my dancing school has also helped. Networking with other women
entrepreneurs on sites like Dreamers into Doers and Savor the
Success have been a valuable source of information, advice and
inspiration. There is a real sisterhood of women entrepreneurs out
there and I am grateful for all the new friendships that I have
made this year.
What's the best piece of business advice you ever
Consistency is key. From your products to customer service — if
they are happy with you the first time, they expect the same
experience the next time!
If you had it to do over again, what, if anything, would you do
I wish I stared a few years earlier!
What advice would you give to Dreamers who haven’t become Doers
The fear of failure held me back temporarily until I realized that
I would regret not taking the leap of faith to follow my dream.
Don't let fear stop you!
Keep Up with Lisa and Polkadot Pound Cake