Sweet Cravings, based out of Chesapeake, was one of many small black-owned businesses to receive a grant from the foundation.
It's easy to overlook, but some good came out of the mess that was 2020. Several charitable organizations sprang up to help with the economic crisis that came out of the pandemic. Other already existing groups shifted their focus to address the immediate needs of the public. One such organization is Beygood, Beyoncé's nonprofit which she began in 2013 “to inspire people to be kind, to be charitable and to #BeyGood to themselves, to others, to the community, and to our world.”
Early last year, Beygood partnered with the NAACP to create a Black-owned Small Business Impact Fund that was spread out into four rounds over the course of the entire year. A total of 715 businesses throughout the country received grant money to help stay afloat in troubling times.
One of the recipients was Kimberly Outlaw, Chesapeake resident, and owner of Sweet Cravings Bakery. She saw an announcement for the Impact Fund on TikTok and figured she had nothing to lose if she applied. “They required that you submit a video telling your story,” she told the Virginian Pilot, “And my submission was pictures of all of my cakes. I used some clips of TikToks I’d made. I told my story about how the pandemic had affected me.”
Outlaw, a Norfolk native, started her bakery in 2017 after the birth of her second daughter. She was working in Finance having graduated from Norview high school and Old Dominion University but decided it was time to stay at home. The baking inspiration came from both of her grandmothers and watching the Food Network.
Turns out she was good at it. Very good.
Kimberly's cakes range from very pretty, more traditional desserts to extravagant creations. Some of her cakes are realistic-looking constructions like sneakers, boxing gloves, and more. She also features doll-like cakes such as an homage to her daughter or (my personal favorite) her Grandma Marjorie “caked” into the Bride of Frankenstein.
But, like so many other small businesses, the pandemic hit Sweet Cravings pretty hard. “We celebrate celebrations,” Outlaw said, and restrictions on social gatherings made it difficult for a business that depends on just that. She's been able to keep the company afloat through wholesale and a partnership with Our Peoples Soulful Seafood which features Sweet Cravings on their dessert menu. And now, thankfully, a $10,000 grant.
Although still weighing her options, Outlaw told Symone Davis with WAVY-TV 10 she hopes to expand her enterprise with a mobile element, Sweet Cravings Bakery on Wheels. Also, she hopes to introduce her bakery nationally, “into a store like Walmart, where I can have my grandmothers' faces on the packaging,” she said. Until then, those living outside of Hampton Roads will have to satisfy themselves with her videos and photos.
As for the Queen Bey herself, her foundation has already moved on to its next good cause. BeyGood, once again in partnership with the NAACP, has begun accepting applications for housing support. Applicants need only go to the NAACP's website to fill out the form. There has not been a specific number projected as to how many recipients there will be but, presumably, the aid will again be spread out through 2021.
If you've tried Kimberly's cakes, let us know which one we need to buy, or just let us know what your favorite type of cake is in the comments. More than one answer is totally acceptable when talking about favorite types of cake.