Name: April Harris-Holmes
Business/Location: Keeping You Sweet / Hawthorne, NJ
Specialty: Keeping You Sweet specializes in creating delectable all natural cheesecakes that are gluten-free with no added refined sugar. We are local, small batch, non-GMO and free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.
What problem does your business solve: We help people overcome special dietary needs when they are looking for products that are gluten-free and low in sugar.
What makes your business unique: We offer uniquely-flavored cheesecakes like sweet potato, pina colada, banana pudding, apple cinnamon, and matcha.
What’s your story: I started the company shortly after my Mom's passing. She was a caterer and an awesome cook and baker. One of the things that gave me peace and comfort during my time of grief was using her recipes to bake. Sometimes, I would bake large quantities and give them to organizations to use as fundraisers. I participated in a fundraising event called, "A Taste Of Newark" at NJPAC and after the event I received a strong demand for my all natural sugar-free cheesecakes. I asked a friend, who owns a food business, if he could refer me to a restaurant or store that might carry my cakes for the holidays. He suggested I reach out to a contact that he had for Newark Whole Foods that was going to be opening in March 2017. I never in a million years thought that I would be in a supermarket, let alone Whole Foods. To make a long story short, they invited me to partner with them in the Newark store, and 2 weeks later offered me 5 more stores. And now less than a year later, I am proud to have my product in 15 stores, including 2 in New York.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: This is a really demanding business, and you have to be physical and mentally prepared for it.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business: I wish I had asked for more help with the food prep and packaging. I nearly killed myself trying to do it all.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it: I am challenged to grow, and I am not sure that I am overcoming it, but I am going with the flow. I am learning not to take on more than I can handle.
What are you most proud of about your business: The product has received excellent consumer feedback, and I am proud of that. I am also so proud to see it on the shelves when I walk into the store.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur? Food is beautiful to me, and I love the creative process the most. I particularly love creating new flavors.
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