Entrepreneurial pre-teens build cupcake following

Brothers 9, 11 make, sell baked goods to legions of regulars
September 4, 2014
Cupcake-baking brothers Leroy, left, and Jacob Stafford have been making and selling baked goods for spending money and their college funds for more than two years now. BY MOLLY MACMILLAN

Two pre-teen brothers in Greenwood aren't letting age get in the way of their entrepreneurial spirit.

For a little more than two years, Leroy, 11, and Jacob Stafford, 9, have been making, baking and selling 43 varieties of cupcakes and other baked goods in Millsboro and more recently, doing deliveries.

Leroy explained that it all started with a birthday present.

"On April 4, I had my birthday, and my mommy got me this cupcake-making machine," he said. "So I thought if I can make them and instead of eating them, I can sell them."

Leroy said he enlisted the help of his younger brother, Jacob, and they set up a small card table on the sidewalk in front of their home, stocked with the cupcakes Leroy was making. is plan took off.

"We started yelling, and we put out a sign. And the first week, we made $165," the wide-eyed Leroy said.

With a little help from their mom, Karri Stafford, who handles the hot-oven aspect of their baking, the boys said they began to bake their cupcakes regularly. That winter, they expanded into making breakfast bowls with Pillsbury biscuits and fresh fruit and selling hot cocoa and cider through the colder months.

"They would both take turns selling the cupcakes and switch off, to see who could get the most customers," Karri said of her son's positive sibling rivalry. "They developed regulars and are actually pretty well-known as the cupcake boys around Millsboro."

The most they ever made in one day was $200, Jacob said, after the costs of materials, they split the profits three ways with their mother and have been able to have a little fun money and start their own college funds.

Following recipes and dividing money three ways has also helped the boys academically, Karri said.

"They learn how to break down everything themselves, and before we started this, Jacob's math score was a 1 on state tests," she said. "Now, he gets a 4, the highest, and he also brought up his reading scores through recipes. It's not just helping them learn responsibility and work ethic; it's helping them in school so we are pretty proud."

Although the family recently moved to Greenwood, they have set up a Facebook page as EC Sweetery, where they can take orders for cupcakes.

Karri also makes wedding and specialty cakes, including cakes for those with food intolerances. She said they have recipes for vegan, gluten and sugar-free cakes and with the help of her fiancé, the boys also offer savory items such as tomato pies and calzones for order.

They never sell cupcakes that are more than a day old, she said, and the boys have been able to donate leftover cupcakes to local police and fire departments as well as nursing homes.

The brothers say they enjoy the having a little extra spending money, but they like the creativity that comes with their cupcakes and the family time. Jacob said he's not sure if he wants to be a scientist or a fast-running track star when he grows up. Leroy would like to be a doctor, although baker doesn't sound too bad.

"Cupcakes are not all about the money," Jacob said. "It's about spending time with your family."

For more information or to place an order, find EC Sweetery on Facebook or call 302-727-8983.