How Sweet It Is
Furches turns love of baking into lucrative business
(pictured above: EJ Furches adorns one of his cakes.)
Moscato. Purple velvet. Blackberry wine.
When it comes to cake flavors, there are no rules, according to Will “EJ” Furches, owner of A Slice of Heaven Desserts.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I’m Will, so I’m going to make a way,” declared the city native. “…I try to keep my customers intrigued. I just try to be creative.”
A Slice of Heaven currently offers more than 40 different cake flavors, and Furches, 31, keeps a running list of flavors he has in the works. Peanut butter and jelly, Skittles and Coca-Cola are among them.
“I like my stuff to be really unique, something you can’t get anywhere else, so you’ll have to come to me,” Furches remarked. “I like to do stuff that’s different and kind of reminds you of home, too.”
His fledging operation offers an array of sweets, pound cakes, pies, puddings and everything in between. During the week, he visits local salons and businesses – including City Hall and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office – to hawk his goodies. He also supplies several restaurants. His “mini cakes,” oversized cupcakes, are among his most popular items; he typically bakes about four dozen a day.
“I try to make about four to five different flavors a day because I do so many different flavors,” he explained.
Furches spends so much time in the kitchen that he wears his work wherever he goes. People often catch a whiff of cake when he is near.
“It’s in my pores now,” he said with a laugh. “It’s part of me.”
He licensed A Slice of Heaven, which is named for his goddaughter Heaven Woodbury, as an LLC in 2012, but its history dates back to more than a decade before that, when the quest for a collection of Nike Air Max sneakers laid the foundation for his future career.
“I wanted to have every color every third Saturday when they came out,” Furches said of the shoes, which were a hot ticket item when he was in high school. “Although my parents spoiled me to death, I had to find out how to make my own money, so I started baking cakes.”
Furches sold the cakes at the bus stop, bringing in $9–$11 per cake – enough to support his shoe habit. Later, as an employee at Aon Consulting, he revived the service, selling mini cakes to coworkers all across the call center.
“I love for people to be happy,” he said of his desire to continue the work. “…That’s a big perk, just to see the smiles on people’s faces.”
Before long, Furches had a full fledged business model.
“Word of mouth is like wildfire,” he declared. “It’s been unbelievable the amount of customers I have, just by word of mouth, and it makes me feel great because it means my work is good.”
Many of his former East Forsyth classmates are now faithful A Slice of Heaven customers, Furches said.
“It’s just so many of my former classmates that support my business – I get orders from Korea from people that are studying abroad,” he related. “It just really amazes me … it’s so special to me they support me.”
Longtime Winston-Salem resident Brenda Manley is one of Furches’ many happy customers. Manley, a retired program manager, purchased a cake for her sister’s birthday two years ago and returned to Furches last month, to order a custom cake in honor of her father, Frank Manley, a World War II veteran who turned 100. The cake, which was adorned with edible photographs, delighted her father and his guests, Manley said.
“The cake was so pretty he didn’t want to cut it,” she declared, adding that she has already contracted Furches to make a cake in honor of her parents’ upcoming 68th wedding anniversary. “…He’s an outstanding young man. He’s very professional. I would recommend him at any time to anyone.”
In addition to making custom cakes for everything from birthdays to weddings, Furches also offers additional bridal services, from makeup to catering and decor. Jessica Cannon came to A Slice of Heaven last year in search of a very special cake.
“I was looking for someone to prepare a cake for my wedding and he came highly recommended,” explained Cannon, a nursing assistant. “…He has a passion for what he does, and you can tell that right off the bat.”
Cannon had selected orange and silver for her wedding colors, and Furches suggested an orange moscato cake to compliment the motif. He also catered a home cooked meal for the couple’s 100 guests and decorated the church for the affair. Cannon said she and her husband couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out.
“It was awesome,” she said of the wedding, and the cake, which she described as “delectable.” “It was everything I dreamed of and more.”
Furches is also the sole proprietor of Testimony Mime Company, ministering to people through the art of gospel miming, and puts his culinary skills to good use once a month, by crafting a home cooked meal for dozens of homeless people at Macedonia Worship Center.
He has won back-to-back Forsyth County Entertainment Awards, for his baking skills in 2012 and his miming in 2013. The two companies keep him busy, but Furches sees his work more as a calling than a career.
“A lot of people, they work to get money,” he observed. “Me, I work and I mime because I feel honestly that that’s something that I have to do.”
For more information about A Slice of Heaven, find the company on Facebook or contact Furches at 336-655-6637.
See more sweet Slice of Heaven goodies here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.735646246467580.1073741890.355902327775309&type=1