The Daily Grind Video
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The journey of an entrepreneur is one of joy, struggle and lots of hard work. There are highs, lows, financial gains and financial losses. It’s educational, life altering and somewhat dramatic. But on some level you take on this challenge for those exact reasons.

My name is Shari Griffith and I am the owner and CEO of Cake N Wings, a catering company based in New York. It may sound strange, but the combination of Cake and Wings is absolutely amazing! We’ve been serving this unusual combination for over a year and it’s been quite the adventure.

It was October 31, 2008 when I lost my job at a top Public Relations agency in New York. A few months earlier my best friend and soon to be business partner, Katrina Kelly lost her job at a well known Italian Airline. It was at that moment that we realized that we couldn’t work for any one else and with the biggest election in American history just days away and the thought of finally having a black president, the idea of us owning a business became all too clear and very possible! And we were in a recession, we had nothing to lose!

The country was entering a recession and throughout his election President Obama stressed the importance of creating new jobs. We saw Cake N Wings as a way to ultimately do that. With millions of Americans losing their jobs everyday and unemployment rates approaching the double digits, we knew this was our chance.

The first thing we did was register the business name with the State of New York. Your business isn’t a business until YOU buy into. How will anyone else take you seriously, if you don’t take yourself seriously?

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After we registered the business we went to visit our high school principle. Little did we know that he was throwing a birthday party for a philanthropist and that he would hire us that day to cater the party. With that one visit we got our first catering job. And that philanthropist turned out to be a micro investor and is still a huge supported of Cake N Wings to this day. We also came away with an invitation to sell our Cake N Wings to children after school. Had we not made that trip to the school who knows if we would have ever gotten our start. Not only did it put us in the black, but it gave us the confidence we needed to continue going forward.

We began working primarily in Harlem and we often noticed restaurants closing down. And we began to realize that we’re doing something right. We’re starting small. We’re keeping costs low and prices moderate and keeping the product as simple as possible. We realized that we were in the best position to start a business and things would ultimately work in our favor. We’re still growing, while many of our competitors are struggling to stay afloat. While we’re on the come up, many businesses were closing down.

I remember one weekend Katrina and I were returning to NY from a weekend in Philadelphia for her family reunion. It rained that entire weekend and on that Sunday as we were driving back, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. The sky was so clear. Katrina looked up and read a sign that said ‘Bill Gates started apple during a recession’. We saw that as a clear cut sign to keep going.

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After a year of growing Cake N Wings, we’ve made thousands of cake tots and thousands of wings. We’ve seen everyone from pre-schoolers to church goers enjoy our food and every time we see their reaction it’s just further validation that we should keep going. We’ve experienced set-backs as any business does but through lots of hard work and just shear gumption we’ve been able to get through them all. And while we’ve experience a small amount of success, this is just the beginning for Cake N Wings.

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