We had the good fortune of connecting with Ali Patton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ali, what do you attribute your success to?
Before I begin, I think the most important question we often ask ourselves is what exactly defines the meaning of “success”? Thankfully, there isn’t just one answer. Success can mean so many different things to so many people. At the end of the day, for me, it has been whatever brings a true sense of fulfillment, accomplishment and gratitude. Born and raised in Birmingham, AL, my southern roots run deep and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My life has been an adventure and brought me right to where I am supposed to be. The people, places, decisions, and lessons learned have been stepping stones for growth and continuous development. In 2012, I took a job as an International Business Consultant and over the last decade, I’ve traveled over a million miles helping other grow and develop their own business, dreams and aspirations. In 2019, a huge piece of my heart was gone when I lost my grandmother, Carolyn Mitchell (better known as “Mama Mitchell” to all who knew her, especially her grandchildren). By her side, it was in that moment when I knew I wanted to honor the incredible life she lived and the love she had given to so many. In the coming weeks and months after her passing, the calling became so loud I couldn’t stop thinking about it or ignore it any longer. In March of 2020, it seems to have taken a global pandemic to wake me up and realize that the time was now.
With all work travel coming to a halt, I found myself at home for the first time in over a decade. Used to being always on the go, it took about a full 2 weeks in lockdown before I was tired of starring at the walls and decided to go for it. I filed for my business license and started what I would call, Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake. A beloved recipe my grandmother was known for. A treasured family heirloom that has been in our family for five generations. She made it for everyone. Family reunions, birthdays, graduations, you name it. There wasn’t a birthday growing up that I can recall without having it at the table. So, here I was in my 2 bedroom apartment, mixing and making her recipe that I would soon start selling on the weekends at the local farmers market. On June 20th, 2020 I made it official and announced to the social media world that I was following my heart, taking a leap of faith and starting Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake, as a way to honor my grandmother and all that she was. Terrified, excited, scared, and every other emotion under the sun, I experienced over the next few months. But, I was determined and the love so deep inside for who my Mama Mitchell was is my motivation each and every day. Fast forward to today, a year and a half later, I never in a million years would think it would be where it is. Featured in VIE magazine’s 2021 culinary issue, highlighted in Episode 6 of the PBS documentary, How She Rolls, nominated as Arizona’s Best of Our Valley Best Baked Goods, churning out batches each week with our nationwide shipping and recently partnering with AJ’s Fine Foods in Arizona, it’s been a whirlwind journey. I am thrilled for what we have planned for 2022 and hoping it will be our best year yet.
So, when asked what is the most important factor behind my success, the success will be the outcome of this journey I’ve embarked on. It will be because of the people I have met and will continue to meet along the way. It will be the ultimate sense of fulfillment seeing the joy in others who relate to the Mama Mitchell’s story. Using her recipe as a way to bring people together, at the table, with loved ones across the country. To me, that is success. I have always said that together we are all better and can do so much. The love Mama Mitchell showed to others was the best kind of love and if this journey can be a way to share that love with people, to me that is success. My mission is to represent the legacy of my grandmother, bring to life the nostalgia of the past, the importance of family and gathering at the table, while using her recipe as a way to accomplish this mission. This is what I have come to believe is my purpose. My vision is to make Mama Mitchell’s a household name and to build a brand that inspires and creates an emotion deep within that makes one feel at home and know you’re always welcome at Mama Mitchell’s table. Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake is more than a cake. It’s more than just another dessert. It holds a story, a legacy of love and a desire to brings people together. There is something to be said about the kitchen being the heart of the home. It’s where we gather. Where memories are made. Where we keep treasured recipes alive and share them with the next generation. For me, if having Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake at your own table creates a new memory with the ones you love, to me that is success.
What should our readers know about your business?
My name is Ali Patton, and I am the owner and baker behind Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, my Southern roots run deep and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Growing up as a child, you would often find me playing in the neighborhood with lifelong friends from dawn until dusk, enjoying time with family, and always trying to keep up with my older siblings, Aimee and Andy. Imagination and curiosity have forever been ingrained within me and have carried well into my adulthood. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication from The University of Alabama, I have spent the last decade of my life traveling and flying over a million miles as a full-time International Business Consultant. I am passionate about helping others set goals, grow their businesses, and achieve their dreams, but when I found myself lying awake night after night, thinking about my own dream, I had finally run out of reasons not to chase after it. When Mama Mitchell passed in 2019, a massive piece of my heart was gone, and in that moment, I decided to honor her legacy and share with the world who she was. Having never felt more nervous, scared and excited in my life, I have poured my heart and soul into launching Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake. This is the biggest aspiration I’ve ever chased, and I’m thrilled to have you along on this journey with me.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout is to Carrie Morey, the owner of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits in Charleston, SC. As an Entrepreneur, She has been able to grow an unbelievable, women-owned, Southern biscuit business into a wildly successful company. She has been an incredible mentor for me since starting Mama Mitchell’s, and I am so grateful to call her my friend. Another Entrepreneur that I am incredibly inspired by is Stephanie Summerson Hall, the owner and creator of Estelle Colored Glass.
Her brand has exploded in the last few years since launching, and it is truly remarkable! Both of these women motivate and inspire me each day to keep chasing my dream and have proven that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
My other shoutout is to my Mom. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a stronger person mentally, physically and emotionally. Seeing how she’s persevered through some of life’s toughest times and still continues on with such grace and positivity is motivating every day. She is my world and the rock of our family.
Facebook: Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake
Other: VIE Magazine article featuring Mama Mitchell’s Pound Cake: http://viemagazine.com/article/mama-mitchells-pound-cake/
Andrew Cebulka – photographer Charleston, SC