A few weeks ago, I was loving life, eating pizza from several of the 12 different pizza businesses that came to the Gibraltar Trade Center for the Motor City Pizza Fest: Eastside Showdown competition. While wandering around aimlessly in a pizza trance, I ran into Melissa Eatmon and her husband James and some awesome little cake pops decorated like Ninja Turtles. She had a little booth set up in the middle of this event for people to add dessert to all the pizza they had just consumed. Anyone who knows me realizes at this moment, I’m all in and am not about to pass up chocolate cake covered in more chocolate. I walked up to her booth and began explaining that I help food businesses in Macomb County and have a lot of great resources. I bit Donatello’s head off the pop stick while listening to how she is growing her business.
I immediately wanted to put her story out there for people to see what folks do to make ends meet. There is a lot of dedication and resolve to do what Melissa does for her business and family. Her experience really explains the reality people face every day to make a business successful and balance family life.
Melissa and James have been married for five years and have a 3-year-old daughter Ava who Melissa calls her “number one fan and taste tester.” Melissa’s background is in the medical field, but that ended when her husband was discharged from the Navy after serving for eight years because it was discovered he has ALS.
“He was honorably discharged as part of the Wounded Warrior Program, and we made the transition back home and bought a house in Warren,” said Melissa, who then became James’ fulltime caregiver and a stay-at-home mom. “Our life made a huge shift, and staying home and taking care of my family became my number one priority. I had always worked full time and was a very busy person in the past, so staying at home was a little different.”
Melissa said she began using her time at home to explore her passions, one of which was watching her mother and grandmother bake and decorate cakes.
“I started teaching myself how to bake using books, various internet tutorials and YouTube videos. Craftsy was my best friend,” laughed Melissa.
In May 2013, the family moved to Chesterfield Township to allow for more handicap accessibility for James. In November of that year, with a lot of support from family, Melissa launched her new business Tiny Cakes.
“I did my first event that December. I filled up my daughter’s little red wagon full of cake pops and took Tiny Cakes to the Warren Community Center for their holiday craft show that December. The response was great,” said Melissa, adding that she sold out of cake pops in the first couple of hours that she was at the show.
Her success at the show gave her a boost of confidence to begin making more products, and she soon started creating cupcakes, small cakes and cake pop gift baskets. By February, Melissa’s business had picked up quite a bit. James, who has a business degree from Wayne State and had managed a bakery in Royal Oak before getting called back into the military, began helping Melissa.
“He is a huge supporter and made the transition into owning my own small business possible,” said Melissa.
Currently, Tiny Cakes continues to thrive.
“I love being able to share my creativity and sweet little treats with everyone in the community,” said Melissa. “Macomb has been a great place to start and grow my business. The support from the individuals in and around the area has been great, and they are the reason why Tiny Cakes has grown.”
What a great inspiring story she had to share about the ups and downs of life and doing something she enjoys. Can you imagine if everyone that reads this buys a tasty little product from Tiny Cakes – just how helpful that would be to this startup company? And this isn’t the only great story like this. There are some unbelievable tales of the community coming together and helping people out. It has always been important to people in Macomb County to help each other. Melissa is working on the website for Tiny Cakes right now and has a Facebook page with many pictures of her products. You will also be able to see her at the New Baltimore Farmers Market coming up this season. You can contact Melissa at Tiny Cakes at (586) 495-2539.