Emma Freeberg is #MadeForKnoxville.
A fresh start as a cake maker allowed Emma to move on from a difficult past. Now, she is learning to create a life that she loves.
Cake making has played a pivotal role in Emma’s life and well-being. Transitioning out of addiction in 2018, she found a hobby that would allow her to channel time and cravings into something productive and beautiful. Thus, Porchcat Cakes was created. As an artist, Emma has found joy in dreaming up edible masterpieces that are full of color, texture, and flavor. While her journey to entrepreneurship was invigorating, she has since experienced the struggles of establishing a healthy work-life balance. As she processes and recovers from burnout, Emma is discovering new rhythms and community support to begin a happier and healthier future.
“Learning to make incredible layer cakes has been synonymous with me learning to be a happy human.”
In Their Own Words…
Porchcat Cakes are flavor-driven works of art, inside and out—combining texture and flavor in intriguing ways, they’re hand-painted with buttercream to produce unique creations for each of our clients. Learning to make incredible layer cakes has been synonymous with me learning to be a happy human, and it certainly didn’t hurt that I’ve gotten to share in folks’ own happy celebrations along the way. What started as my own personal coping mechanism has led to such incredible growth and support from the community. I can’t imagine a life without Porchcat now!
What led to entrepreneurship:
I started baking just a few months after getting sober in the summer of 2018. The time and focus necessary to teach myself how to cake was the perfect goal-oriented distraction I needed to get through that critical first year of cravings, empty time, and adjusting my brain’s expectations. By the Fall of ‘19, I’d started selling my creations, speaking honestly about recovery, and documenting my adventures in the kitchen to a small audience on Instagram. It quickly became apparent that layer cakes combined many loves of my life into one neat little package: connecting with and serving people, cooking, writing, researching, and creating something beautiful with my own hands.
My story wouldn’t be complete without addressing burnout. The whole time I was learning, customizing every order, selling online, staying sane for sobriety’s sake, and trying to build the business, I was also working full-time and trying to maintain a long-term relationship. Eventually it became impossible to do all of them well, and I certainly wouldn’t let the cake suffer, so everything else did. By the end of ‘22, I decided to close the order book. Since then, I’ve been re-adjusting, gathering behind the scenes support, strategizing, and clarifying goals—all with the aim to re-open Porchcat soon from a healthier and happier place. It may sound clichè, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my entrepreneurial journey thus far is that, for me, centering work-life balance will be the key to ultimate happiness and success.
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