Aundrea Dumas: Creating a New Market Category to Preserve the Family Legacy
Aundrea Dumas made a promise to her mother (who became ill shortly after) that she would forever keep her memory alive. A year after losing her mother “Shirley” to a rare blood cancer, Aundrea delivered on that promise. She launched “Shirley Cakes” bakery out of her home kitchen in 2012.
“No one could bake cakes the way my mother could. When I lost her, I realized everything that had been poured into me by my mother and grandmother had to live on through me as a tribute,” Aundrea said. “My vision was to place all of my mother’s personality in the cakes.”
Fast forward 10 short years and now, Aundrea is the proud Founder, CEO & President of Legends Food, LLC, based in Stockbridge, Georgia. She is also the visionary behind the Eazy Peazy Cakes brand of authentic, high-quality ready-to-pour/ready-to-bake cupcake/cake batter in a bottle and a variety of other baked goods.
Like most women who own their businesses, Aundrea faced a myriad of challenges. Running the bakery was hard work and ramping it up drained the company’s reserves, forcing her to single-handedly operate every aspect of the business.
“Now that the product is being manufactured, the struggle is even more difficult because I am a woman of color in a male-dominated industry. There was so much I learned on my own about how to manufacture my products,” Aundrea said. “And because Eazy Peazy Cakes liquid cupcake/cake batter in a bottle was the first of its kind in a category, manufacturers didn’t want to produce it at first because it hadn’t been done before.”
Just as production finally got going, Covid-19 hit and battered the manufacturing industry hard. Plants across the U.S. shut down and Aundrea was unable to receive raw goods and materials for some time, including ingredients and packaging from suppliers who are also manufacturers. Luckily, Aundrea did receive help along the way. Several companies including The Kroger Company (America’s largest grocery retailer), Macy’s Gourmet Food & Gifts and most recently, UPS, took an interest in her small business.
In 2022, UPS partnered with WEConnect International to launch the Proudly Unstoppable Women Owned Small Business Grant. WEConnect International is a member-led, global non-profit that connects women-owned small and medium-sized businesses to qualified buyers around the world. Aundrea was one of the many applicants for the grant, which intended to provide up to $5,000 USD to small businesses with financial need. Selected as a grantee from the US, Aundrea will use the funds to continue growing her business.
“UPS is dedicated to inclusivity, equality and breaking down barriers standing between small business owners and their goals,” said Betsy Wilson, UPS VP Digital Marketing and Brand Management. “UPS’s Proudly Unstoppable initiative strives to make a tangible impact championing diverse-owned SMBs to help them punch above their weight and compete against larger competitors. UPS teamed up with WEConnect International because both organizations believe women should have the same opportunities as men to compete in the global marketplace.”
WEConnect International’s mission is to drive money into the hands of women-owned businesses (WOB) by enabling them to compete in the global marketplace. They do this by connecting WOBs that have registered for free with WEConnect International with its 160 multinational member buyer organizations. All these multinational organizations are committed to supplier diversity and buying more products and services from WOBs globally.
“I am grateful that WEConnect International connected Eazy Peazy Cakes with UPS, and I’m very grateful to UPS for helping me grow my business through their generous Proudly Unstoppable grant,” said Aundrea. “Other minority-owned women-owned businesses like mine have a great opportunity to level the playing field by working with WEConnect International.”
Currently, Eazy Peazy Cakes are available for consumer purchase through Macy.com and soon Kroger stores, and Eazy Peazy Cakes appeared on QVC on May 25. Aundrea’s goals are to sell her delicious cupcake/cake mix batter and frosting in more grocery stores, expand her product line, tap the food service industry, bid and win government contracts and eventually open and franchise her cake shops.
How’s that for honoring her mother’s memory and legacy.