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Dowell is the owner of pastry company, Flaky Bakes. Her specialty are ‘piekies.’ They’re mini pies shaped like a cookies—hence the name.
It all started on Thanksgiving 2013 when her mother was making a sweet potato pie. The wait-time for the large pie to finish baking was too much to bear, so Dowell snuck off some of the pie crust and filling and formed her own mini pie.
Thus, a lightbulb went off. She began creating more samples and cultivating recipes. In June 2014, Dowell launched Flaky Bakes while still working at her day job.
Friends and family helped spread the word about company. But her background in broadcast journalism gave her the opportunity to show her products to a wider audience. Dowell says the first news outlet she was showcased on was at her former employer, WDIV Local 4, in 2014.
“That kind of skyrocketed the business,” says Dowell. “It got so busy… that I couldn’t keep up with demand.”
As a one-woman show, balancing her 9-to-5 and baking, as well as making deliveries took a toll. “Needless to say, I burnt myself out and ended up getting sick,” says Dowell.
Since then, she’s made improvements in managing her time and is looking to hire help.
Things didn’t slow down, though. Perhaps her biggest break? Appearing on national TV in 2017 for ABC’s ‘Funderdome’ seeding-funding competition reality show hosted by Steve Harvey.
On the show, two entrepreneurs go head-to-head in pitching their business to the audience. The crowd then votes on who gets the $20,000 check.
It was a sweet victory for Dowell, who took home the prize in episode 12 of season 1.
Fast-forward today, the money has allowed Dowell to rent space out of a commercial kitchen, offer shipping of her products and enlist the help of a graphic designer. She is also selling her piekies in-store at several cafes in Detroit, including Germack Coffee in Eastern Market and a cafe-laundromat hybrid, called The Commons Detroit in West Village.
Dowell’s ultimate goal? Seeing her piekies being sold nationally in-stores at Starbucks.
You can find more about Dowell and Flaky Bakes on social media: