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Meet April Donelson

Today we’d like to introduce you to April Donelson.

Hi April, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Growing up in Michigan, my mom introduced me to baking at a young age, I was either making goodies in the kitchen with her and sharing them with friends or family or even entering my baked goods into the county fair to win 1st place ribbons. Baking was always fun and relaxing to me and it helps that I have a MAJOR sweet tooth! I never pursued culinary school or any type of formal training in baking or decorating, but throughout the years I was always the one baking treats and bringing them into co-workers or making homemade cakes for friends’ birthdays. I studied fashion design and marketing in college and after graduating moved on to working in public relations in Miami, New York City, and Los Angeles. Throughout the years, I continued to bake for fun and visited some of the best bakeries (my all-time favorite will always be Levain Bakery in the Upper West Side of NYC) and tried the most extravagant desserts, but never had the courage or time to start my own venture. I loved baking so much, but it’s always hard to take that leap of faith and start something new. When COVID hit in March 2020 and I was getting more and more requests from friends and family to bake them treats while they were stuck at home and I had a bit more time on my hand and couldn’t leave my home, I decided now was the time to start my baking business.

I was inspired by both a visit to my spiritual guider Sylive who told me to follow my passion and build my empire and by my baking mentor Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes who went from working in corporate America just like myself to owning the most popular cupcake bakery in the United States. I created Simpatico Sweets in Spring 2020 and from there, I began creating treats and decorating beautiful cakes for people throughout the South Bay area! The meaning of “simpatico” is having or characterized by attributes or interests, therefore it’s been so important for me as a business to have a compatible relationship with my customers and truly work together to create the dessert or decorated cake that they want or need. So, if you have a craving for something sweet, decadent, and classic, I will make it my promise to create you that dessert you’ve been dreaming of…because if you’re anything like me, it’s more than just a dessert it’s an entire experience. It’s been almost a year now owning my own business, and I’m so happy that I took that leap! Not only have I learned how to run my own business, I’ve got to meet and grow my appreciation for so many amazing small business owners in the South Bay and Los Angles. Whether it be a fellow baker, florist, balloon artist, or party planner, It’s been truly amazing to collaborate with them and support each other as local businesses!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Since it’s only been a year since I started Simpatico Sweets, the road has been pretty smooth. All businesses have bumps in the road at some point, and I’m sure mine will come, but for now I’m just working hard and learning more every day! With baking and cake decorating, there is always a new trend or style of decorating coming out. It’s difficult to constantly keep up and self-teach these trends, especially during COVID. Without being able to do in-person lessons, you must rely on quick Instagram or YouTube videos to learn. However, practice makes perfect, so I’ll be continuing to practice until the next trend comes out!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
On my business card, you can read that I call myself a “Dessert Artist”, and that is truly what business is all about! I have a background in fashion and art, therefore it’s important for me not to only make something that tastes good, but something that is beautiful. Whether it’s a giant gooey chocolate chip cookie or a 2-tier cake covered in edible flowers, I always make sure it’s perfect. I also call myself a dessert artist because one of the style’s that I like to use when decorating my cakes is painting them. Just like a real artist, I use a palette knife and paint frosting on the cake just like it’s my canvas. All my painted cakes are 1 of a kind, whether it be the colors or design of the frosting. I love making something custom, to me it makes whoever it’s for day even more memorable and special. When I was a kid, so many of my good memories were tied to an amazing dessert I had on vacation or a custom birthday cake my mom made me, I want my customers to make these same types of memories with my desserts!

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
Obviously, the baking industry isn’t going anywhere any time soon…some trends may change and of course, there will be way more bakeries offering healthy and vegan baked goods, but people will still always go to the classics too. How could you go wrong with a double fudge brownie or vanilla bean cake? In the next 5-10 years, I look forward to growing my business and continuing to learn new trends in baking and decorating daily.

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