April 28, 2023
An Interview with Emma Freeberg
Owner and Head Baker of All the Things at PorchCat Cakes
What is PorchCat Cakes?
PorchCat Cakes are unique and memorable—I specialize in 6” custom Celebration Cakes that are jam-packed w/ flavor and texture. Every cake is thoughtfully designed and runs the gambit from Full Client Collaboration to executing my own daydreams.
How was PorchCat Cakes Started?
Being newly sober is a process of reinvention where one has to realize the person they truly are, or were before the addiction changed you, and then figuring out who you want to be, where to go now that you have the opportunity to be a New You… a little over a full year after my last drink I was still deciding on that, so making an instagram profile just for my Cakes meant a lot more than beep beep boop, a few clicks of a button; it felt huge and scary to make a big statement “this is who I am now” so I put it off for a long time. Then in early Sept ‘19 there were two tragic, young deaths that hit my community hard and I realized that it was time for action. Life is precious and fleeting so I’d better spend the time I have doing something I love; The PorchCat Cakes instagram profile came online 9/19/19
What is the Best Part of Entrepreneurship?
The best thing is being so highly motivated and inspired to do the work. I’ve finally found the perfect outlet to combine my artistic perspective & working w/ food, something I’ve pursued in one form or another for the last 15 years. PCC started as an extension of my own baking education so nearly everything is publicly documented for the benefit of whoever may be on a similar path, as well as reinforcing what I’ve learned for myself. I absolutely adore getting feedback/advice from fellow bakers, entrepreneurs, and folks in all stages of recovery. My community expands nearly every day and that only deepens my commitment to keep learning and growing.
What is the Scariest Part of Entrepreneurship?
Scariest part of entrepreneurship is knowing at least half of what I don’t know (there’s always more that won’t have occurred to me yet). When starting this venture I wasn’t sure how long it would last or where it would take me so I learned as much as I could with the time I had, but didn’t implement all the foundational administrative stuff that a business needs to continue growing after a certain point. Now I’ve reached that critical juncture and want to keep going so I’ll need to ask for help bc I know exactly what Should Have Happened but not exactly how to go about it. One saving grace is realizing that I’ve already inadvertently built myself a little network of people who are only too happy to help however they can
What Book or Podcast Should All Entrepreneurs Check out?
How I Built This w/ Guy Roz was an important podcast to me for a long time very early, like in the year leading up to actually creating PorchCat. I loved hearing all the different ways successful entrepreneurs had Failed before finally getting it just right. Knowing those bumps had happened to all these brands and companies I aspired to emulate put my failures into perspective.
What is Your Motto?
In life and business I strive for “All The Things”— most cakes are built of sponge and frosting only, but a PCC always has a lot more elements layered inside, so you get contrasting textures and several complementary flavors. Sometimes I push the limits of what a Cake can hold, but I’ll document it for myself and the community that’s following along in my education so we’ll all learn from those mistakes and adjust going forward. Still deciding if “All The Things” should really be the PCC motto, but I say it so often in the course of making cakes that it feels like a natural fit.
I spent most of my adult life thus far embracing my alcoholism in the worst way but since getting sober in 2018 I’ve come to realize there’s actually so much potential for happiness if I Just Don’t Drink (a mind boggling concept to someone still in the grips of their addiction). So now I’m trying my best to find and build a life full of All The Things; a happy home, a fulfilling job, an inspiring story and a purposeful life. There’s a motto about Balance in there too somewhere… another important thing I strive for. Between the business, the paycheck job, the relationships, and my own mental health, finding the right balance can be a challenge; I’ve found more than once that trustingmy gut has helped when things feel out of whack. If I make what my brain tells me is a poor business decision for the sake of my mental health, my body’s physical reaction immediately afterwards will always tell me if it was the right move after all.
What’s the Best Advice You’ve Received?
I’m terrible at remembering all the great advice I’ve received, but “The antidote for anxiety is action” is a good one. When I get overwhelmed by the seemingly infinite tasks in my head it’s always helpful to write them down as a list (which makes it worse for a split second, physically seeing ALL the things to do) and then just picking one to focus on. Then the next, and so on. Crossing things off a list is an endorphin tingle that never gets old.
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