We had the good fortune of connecting with Yolande Shields and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yolande, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started my own business, because I wanted to be in charge of my own time. I wanted to be more actively involved in my boys academics and attend their school activities without having to ask for permission to take time off.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I officially started my tea cake business in June of 2019, but I have been baking them for more than a decade. When I was a little girl my mom would make homemade tea cakes. I would assist her in the kitchen by fetching the ingredients for her. I watched my mom mix all of the ingredients and then bake them. While my mom was living I never physically made a single tea cake. One day when I was at home my mom told me to “go and get a piece of paper,” and she wrote down her tea cake recipe. When my mom passed away in 2008, that is when I first made a batch of her homemade teacakes. They were good, but hard. One of my sisters told me to research how to make soft tea cakes, which I did. I am not ashamed to look for help, and I know that I can always learn more. The next time my sisters tasted the new and softer tea cakes they loved them. I believe one of the things that sets me apart from others is that my tea cake recipe is a family recipe that has been passed down through generations on my mom’s side. I also enjoy brainstorming when creating a new flavor. Most people think that tea cakes should consist of one flavor, and I have fifteen flavors. My tea cakes are not “cookies,” they are soft, thick, flavorful and have the consistency of an “old fashioned tea cake.” I am very excited that a lot of people enjoy them. I still have a long way to go to be successful. However, I am where I am, because of God, family and friends. They tell me the truth regarding my tea cakes in order to make me and the tea cakes better. The old cliche, the truth hurts, is true but it is very helpful especially for growth. In the words of my mother, “nothing good comes easy.” No, it was not easy, because I do not have employees, it is only me making the dough and baking. I have managed to over come challenges by being very organized. Organization is key! I have learned several lessons along the way. A few of them are: having a thick skin, being dedicated, self motivated, persistent ,having perseverance and believing that the power of working hard pays off. In August of 2019 my tea cakes were put into three local stores: Pyburns located on Scott St; Watkins and Jim’s Supermarket.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely take them to get some barbeque. No one should come to Houston without tasting some of our great food, and barbeque is always at the top of the list.
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 someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to Shoutout to my mother who’s deceased. My mother showed me how to make homemade tea cakes. My husband who is the love of my life, business partner and biggest supporter. I also, want to thank my six sisters who constantly supports and encourage me. And, my siblings have given me some of my tea cakes flavors. I love each and every one of them.
Wayne Shields Yolande Shields