Gail Yisreal of A "Mother's Touch" Cakes

Gail Yisreal of A "Mother's Touch" Cakes takes her food, and her business, seriously. She understands the importance of healthy eating, and updates her offerings regularly to keep her growing clientele happy. She shared her startup success story with Soapbox.

Q: How long have you been in business?

A: I have been baking for other people for about three years, but I was registered about two years ago. It was two years in August.

Q: What inspired you to make gourmet, vegan and organic cakes? 

A: I was inspired to bake vegan goods because there were so many people around me that would benefit from those types of things. I started doing some research about trans-fats and artificial ingredients, and I vowed that everything would always be natural and from scratch. 

I know a lot of vegans who have dietary concerns. My mother is diabetic. It kind of drove me to do more and more. I use Splenda, but I created some other white sugar-free alternatives that are low glycemic. 

Same thing with the vegan creations. Some of the vegan pastries I’ve had were pretty dry, so how can I make sure that it’s really fresh and it’s moist and people can’t tell it’s vegan? That was my whole goal. I wanted people to say, ‘This is a really good cake…oh my goodness; this is vegan?’ 

Q: How often do you experiment with flavors or make changes to your menu?

A: All the time. When I started a couple years ago, I think I had 10 flavors. I have about 40 now. I’ll experiment and try different things out. A lot of times it’s inspiration from customers because of certain flavors, certain tastes that they want and I value their opinion.

Q: Do you ever want to have a storefront, or do you want to continue running a home bakery?

A: My business plan was two-fold. The first thing is to continue to bake at home, but have a storefront to utilize just for display and pick-up. I could still bake at home for maybe about two years until I build the clientele and brand recognition, then build a storefront. 

In five years, I can see the storefront, I can hear the music; I can visualize and hear the espresso machine. It’s so tangible that I could walk through it right now and describe everything in full detail. But I know everything has a process.

Q: What’s been your greatest professional success so far?

A: There’s an extension to my business called Project Mother’s Touch. Ten percent of anything that comes through goes directly to this project, and the project is to feed my neighbors. 

I had my first event in September, and I took all of my sales from my regular job and from my cupcakes and I organized the first Project Mother’s Touch. We were right at the Laurel Homes Park and it was beautiful. We fed 91 people and we did sandwiches, chips, fruit and bottled water, and it was also the second year anniversary of my business so I had my coffee out for everybody. 

To have a grown man come up and look you in the eyes and say, ‘Thank you so much; bless you,’ is quite humbling. That was success to me, and I was adamant that from that point on, I’d be doing this once a quarter.  

In December, we utilized City Gospel Mission, and we fed about 140 people pancakes, orange juice and milk. Even though I’m not where I want to be, to be able to bless somebody while you’re getting to that point is really amazing.

Interview by Mildred Fallen