We had the good fortune of connecting with Dayveon Shawver and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dayveon, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The thought process to starting my business was initially easy because I am naturally a “go-getter.” So, when a close friend of mine wanted to order some cheesecake cupcakes from me in 2013 that she saw me post on my instagram, I quickly jumped at the opportunity. She was somewhat a socialite in Los Angeles, so once she posted my cupcakes everything took off and I seized the opportunity on starting a cupcake business: the rest is history!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Well baking or having a baking business was never a career path that I saw in my forecast. I always saw myself in the “corporate world” climbing the latter of success that way. Back in 2013 when I launched my business, I was attending graduate school completing a degree in Clinical Psychology. While in school full-time, I also worked full-time and launched a baking business. Surprisingly, when I began making cupcake cheesecakes for sale, I instantly became popular for my cupcakes. I tried to balance all of my priorities but all I could think about was growing my business. At the time, I could not afford to quit my job; so, I took 1 semester off from school to get things in order with the business.
I was determined to complete my graduate degree and I did just that while managing my business and working. Determined to take my business to the next level, I watched many YouTube videos learning all I could about not only cupcakes but cakes also. I studied various shows on the food network, many times looking past the humor in the shows but honing in on the techniques. After a month, I was decorating my first cake. I began connecting with the “it” people in Los Angeles, resulting in various bookings with influencers and some local celebrities.
With a growing business and now working in a new management position at my 9-5 job, I found myself consistently overwhelmed and not being able to find the joy in my artistry anymore; so, I quit: the baking in 2019. Fast forward to summer time of 2020, I began taking small orders again as a hobby, which led to being in constant demand, this time more than before. September 2020 is where I noticed things changed for me. I catered a friend’s birthday celebration who happens to be a popular fashion designer here in Los Angeles (see once again, always connecting with the right people). By November 2020, I worked on one of my favorite rapper’s birthday cake: Future.
Approaching the end of 2020, I knew that we were still in a pandemic with no signs of letting up and with working from home, I was able to now pour more into my business. In January 2021, Shawver’s Custom Cakery became an LLC and with business doing great, I was faced with a really big decision: Do I continue my 9-5 job or do I pursue my business full-time. Well, I quit again, but this time, I chose myself. March 19, 2021 was my last day punching a clock for someone other than myself.
Often times I reflect on my journey and as I continue to grow daily, I look back say to myself, it has not been an easy road but I would not be where I am today without my greatest support: my wife who has been a part of my business every step of the way. What makes me most proud about operating my own business is knowing that I worked really hard and have put my blood, sweat and tears in my craft and seeing what is growing into today. Some key lessons that I have learned along the way are: 1. Learn to forgive yourself when you make mistakes 2. When you feel overwhelmed, it is okay to take breaks 3. What’s glorified about being an entrepreneur is not always what it seems, you really have to put in the hard work 4. Learn that you will need help along the way because you cannot do everything on your own and lastly, 5. To be successful you MUST take risks.
One thing I want the world to know about my story is that dedication, hard work, plus patience is what has catapulted me to where I am today. I still have a lot of work to do and learn but I truly believe in myself and believe that the sky is truly the limit and that I am the only person that can stand in my way.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Sunday- Brunch at one of my favorite places for breakfast in South Park: The Pantry. Then do some shopping on Melrose, the grove and the beverly center. For lunch I would take them to Venice Beach where we could eat and ride bikes after.
Tuesday- Morning Hike at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overview. Site seeing DTLA and have lunch at one of the local DTLA taco trucks. Visit the Broad museum. Dinner at Katana in West Hollywood.
Wednesday- Morning hike at Runyon Canyon. Visit Hollywood Blvd. Attend a Dodger game. Visit my favorite late night treat place, CINNAHOLIC for a cinnamon roll.
Thursday- BEACH DAY: Visit Santa Monica Promenade. Visit marina del Rey beach for a boat day rental. Dinner at Mastros in Malibu
Friday- Sharing my roots: I would take my friend on a trip through South Central Los Angeles. My old neighborhoods, the Crenshaw district. Lunch at Earles on Crenshaw. Shop in Leimert Park and dinner at Dulan’s Soul Food in Inglewood.
Saturday: Breakfast at Roscoes chicken and waffles. Rodeo Drive. Day Party in Hollywood where I would introduce my visiting friend to my local friends. Dinner at Tao with friends. Conclude the night at the Game Sports Bar in Inglewood with friends.
Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc. that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
My grandfather Lacy is who I credit a lot of my success to in the kitchen because watching him cook (more like shadowing him) is what made me so comfortable in the kitchen. When I originally started my business back in 2013, I was living with my grandparents and baking out of their kitchen. I kept my grandfather up late at night many times while I fulfilled orders; sometimes until 2 to 3 in the morning and he never complained. I am sure with all of the instructional cooking lessons and techniques my grandfather taught me, he never thought I’d make a living out of it. I miss him so much and wish he was alive to see my current success.