Thundercakes Founder Courtnee Futch Took A Dorm Room Baking Business To The Big Stage
With love and butter. That’s the slogan of Thundercakes, a bakery that serves custom order cakes, brownies, cupcakes, cheesecakes and cookies to the Syracuse University and surrounding community. Thundercakes was founded by Syracuse University senior Courtnee Futch in 2012 when she was only a freshman. Under her direction, the company has won over $20,000 in grant funding and several business and entrepreneurship awards. We caught up with Futch to learn more what inspired Thundercakes, how she manages college and entrepreneurship, business challenges and success, and why she’s on track to rake in millions in the next five years.
Madame Noire (MN): What inspired you to start Thundercakes?
Courtnee Futch (CF): I never had any entrepreneurial goals. A moment of desperation is what launched me into my passion. It was midnight on March 25, 2012. I finally checked my banking account after avoiding it for several months. I had $6.14. I panicked and immediately starting thinking what I could do to make some quick, legal money. The first thing that came to mind was baking. I’ve always been a baker and was self-taught, but joined the culinary team when I got to high school. People already knew me as a baker on campus so it was easy to launch. The first thing that came to mind was Thundercakes because my nickname was the “Chocolate Thunder.”
I made a group on Facebook called Thundercakes by Courtnee. The first thing I made were 40 bacon chocolate rice crispy treats with white chocolate and caramel drizzle. It sold out in under an hour. Everything took off on its own and spread far beyond what I imagined. People have been able to order from a menu and eventually from the website. On the Syracuse University campus, there really isn’t too much as far as gourmet dessert options. That was me. Now I am filling a very specific niche in the marketplace.
MN: You’ve made over $80,000 in profit over the last two years. What processes did you put in place to generate such a profit?
CF: Baking is a very interesting industry to be in because typically there is a very good profit margin when you are running the business the way I run it. By not having a physical storefront location, I am saving so much overhead. It doesn’t cost me very much to rent my kitchen. Ingredients don’t cost a whole lot. Each of the things on my menu, I only make them when people order them. That saves a lot of time and allows me to be really scant with my resources. I take that money and put it to the side for my education and my salary. I’m paying myself, which is something I wasn’t doing at first.