“My home country of Eritrea was colonized by Italy for more than 50 years, so I grew up with Italian-influenced cakes and pastry shops. My mom used to bake the most amazing cakes at home, but when I got here they were very hard to find.
I started making cakes for my own children. For my son’s birthday, I made a Lightning McQueen cake and brought it to his school. All of the other moms started asking me ‘where did you get this cake?’ They said it looked amazing and tasted just like back home.
When I told them I had made it, they all insisted I start my own business so that they could buy cakes from me. That’s how Cakes by Semira began.”
Semira had always loved to cook. She arrived in the United States from Eritrea and made fast friends in the Clarkston area. After many years, a few of her friends started working with Friends of Refugees and suggested Semira work with them, too. Soon, she was working with Refugee Family Literacy, cooking healthy foods for the moms and babies. In addition to cooking meals for the students, she shared recipes, showing parents how to cook the food she made for the school. “We would tell families how to cook the meals and talk about the vegetables and groceries we used,” Semira explains.
All the while, Semira kept baking at home for customers. After making the Lightning McQueen cake, orders came pouring in. She continued to sell cakes from her home and cook for Refugee Family Literacy. Then, one day she saw a flyer for Start:ME at Refugee Family Literacy. The flyer invited small business owners to apply to the accelerator program.
“I told the coordinator I had a small business at home and asked if I could participate,” Semira says. The coordinator said yes! Soon, Semira was learning how to pitch her business to investors and the fundamentals of scaling. By the end of the course, she was ready to focus on Cakes by Semira full time.
“It gave me confidence,” Semira recalls, “I started calling myself a business. Before I was just thinking ‘oh this is something I do at home,’ but going through Start:ME made it feel more official. I started calling myself the Founder of Cakes by Semira.’”
Ever since, Semira has relished doing what she loves while being her own boss. She found that being an entrepreneur gave her the flexibility to spend time with her children while still generating an income for her family. But what she loves most is the impact she has on others. “The thing I like the most is making my customers happy,” she says, “Especially when you’re doing something like a wedding cake or a birthday cake. Seeing my customers so happy makes me smile. It’s a way of serving people.”
If you are ready to enjoy Semira’s talent, click here to visit her Instagram account and get in touch! A fully licensed and certified business, she has expanded beyond cakes and makes cookies, spreads for dessert tables like assorted dessert cups, cupcakes, and more. Semira can even do gluten free or vegan cakes. “My customers tell me they taste like regular ones,” she says with a laugh.
More Information about Semira’s Offerings
Can be made nut-free, egg-free, or vegan. All cakes can be made as cupcakes or cake pops, too.
- Vanilla Moist Cake
- Fruit cake
- Red Velvet
- Alcohol- free tiramisu
- Napoleon Cake
- Dessert Cups
- Cream Puffs
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Custom Designed Sugar Cookies