Many families have secret recipes that they pass down from generation to generation. When Kim Nelson’s great aunt told her how to bake a delicious cake that would never fail to satisfy taste buds, she turned it into a business called Daisy Cakes. Kim managed to strike a deal with Barabara Corcoran who is very selective with her investments. As of 2023, Daisy Cakes is worth $3 million.
Kim Nelson’s Background
Kim Nelson was raised in Pauline, South Carolina, by a family with a long history of cooking. In 1980, she studied at Spartanburg’s Wofford College and received a bachelor’s degree in history in 1984.
Her family’s long-standing tradition started with “The Southern Misses,” a group of talented bakers who were the primary cooks in their families. They used only farm-fresh ingredients for all of their dishes.
Though the Misses knew their recipes by heart, they wrote them down so that future generations could make use of them. Their exclusive techniques were typically passed down from grandmother to grandmother.
Founding Daisy Cakes
When it was Kim’s time to learn her family’s secret, she didn’t waste the opportunity. Her great aunt Daisy was the one who taught her. Thus, she named her business Daisy Cakes when it was launched in 2009.
She reportedly started operations after getting a $93,000 loan from her parents. Kim made all her cakes from scratch by herself. The South Carolina native handled ingredients, cooking, packing, and marketing.
She sold cakes online through her website, ILoveDaisyCakes.com. Though she only cooked from a home kitchen, Kim shipped nationwide with the help of dry ice packing. The baking entrepreneur sold 2,000 cakes annually in the first two years of business.
Shark Tank Appearance
In 2012, Kim Nelson appeared on season two of Shark Tank, asking for $50,000 in exchange for 25% of her startup. Her business wasn’t revolutionary in any way, but the founder believed that her cake’s taste was enough to score a deal.
It was indeed very delicious as all the male Sharks ate every last bit on their plates. The Sharks said they were willing to be customers but not investors, pointing out that turning a small business into a major brand would take a lot of work. So, all of them were out.
The last Shark left was Barbara Corcoran, and she was the only one who saw the potential of Daisy Cakes. Barbara offered $50,000 for 25% equity and a $1 per cake royalty. Despite having to pay a royalty, Nelson accepted the offer.
Following Up After Shark Tank
A day after her episode aired on national television, Kim sold 2,000 cakes in a weekend! It was good for business but bad for her physical state. So, the businesswoman made changes.
To scale operations, Kim set up bigger bakeries in New York, Tennessee, and Georgia. This helped her make $100,000 per month in revenue. However, the company suffered a $165,000 setback due to contractual issues.
Because of this, production was moved back to South Carolina. In 2019, the cake enterprise was back on its feet and opened another facility in California. As of November 2021, Daisy Cakes is earning $4 million annually and is worth an estimated $3 million.