Client Spotlight: Ebony Turner

WomenVenture client, Ebony Turner, is the owner of catering company E.T. Delectables and bakery Dessertopia.

Ebony Turner believes that small business ownership should be an option for everyone in her community. After taking classes at WomenVenture, introducing girls of color to entrepreneurship as part of an empowerment initiative, and running her own catering company, Ebony embarked on her latest venture: Dessertopia. She opened the bakery in 2021 and her business is now thriving.  

Ebony took classes with WomenVenture years ago where she learned how to create a business plan. When she began working with a program for middle school girls called “Lovin’ the Skin I’m In” designed to uplift and empower girls of color, she wanted to introduce them to idea that they could be business owners.  

“I set up a field trip for my girls,” said Ebony. “I called WomenVenture one day and said I have a group of girls. It would be cool for them to see what options they have in terms of being an entrepreneur. WomenVenture said yes and they put on a beautiful presentation. My girls were so excited and focused. Afterwards, we had lunch at a woman-owned Indian restaurant in Saint Paul. She shut down the restaurant and told them her story while they ate. It was an amazing day for them.”   

Ebony began making custom cakes after culinary school. “Baking is one of the courses that you take in culinary school and I discovered that I’m really good at decorating cakes,” said Ebony. “I started doing cakes for friends and family at home and I just loved doing it.” 

In addition to making custom cakes, Ebony ran her own catering business, building up a loyal clientele along the way. And then the pandemic hit and Ebony was contracted to cater meals once a week to a homeless shelter. All the while she had her eye on an empty property and a dream of owning her own bakery. She saved up as much as she could over the course of the 14-month contract.  

“Opening the bakery is the proudest I’ve ever been in my career. It came with a lot of obstacles,” she says.  “In 2021, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. When the doors to the bakery first opened last July, I was six months pregnant. We had to close the doors for three weeks shortly after we opened while I was hospitalized with COVID-19. I’ve had a lot of hurdles in this process and I’m just proud that I haven’t given up. And, when my business started to struggle, WomenVenture was the first program I thought of.” 

After receiving a small business loan from WomenVenture last year to keep Dessertopia afloat during a difficult time, Ebony is excited for the year ahead. “We’re going into year two and knowing what I know now, I feel confident about making this year a big success. We have a lot of flavor options and dessert options that will be coming out. We want to expand our custom cake options and start using our event space.” 

For more information, visit Dessertopia’s website: dessertopia2021.com 

To view Ebony’s catering services, visit: facebook.com/E.T.Delectables/