Indianapolis woman takes "faith walk" to sweet success

LeCretia Allen works in her bakery on 86th Street.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Have you ever had one of those "Aha!" moments that made you finally get rid of your fear and take a chance?

LeCretia Allen was faced with a life-altering diagnosis that not only saved her life, but is setting her up for the sweet taste of success.

"Business-minded people call it a risk. I'm a person of faith. I call it a faith walk," said Allen, who is living out that motto by making treats for the sweet tooth.

"I make sweet potato pies, cobblers, 3-D cakes, and cookies."

She was one of the food vendors during the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

"Over 2,000 cookies, just different types of cookies that represented each NFL group," she said.

But her journey to get in the culinary game goes back to 2004. The accountant got a phone call from the doctor with a potential Lyme disease diagnosis that made her rethink her life's purpose.

"If I'm gonna die, I want to do what makes me happy," she said.

Allen followed her passion and went to culinary school.

"I stepped out on faith. I believed I could do this on my own, that's it. But other than that, I have to market myself I have to say, 'Hey I'm here'," Allen said.

With a recent move to busy 86th Street, her business, Cretia Cakes, continues to grow. And so, too, is her fan base for her caramel cake that was inspired by her husband Angelo who grew up eating them. She created a recipe through trial and error until she found the right mix just for him.

"The caramel mixed in with it. The yellow cake with the butter in it. So it melts in your mouth," she said.

LaCretia decided to take another risk when she entered a Good Housekeeping contest. Out of thousands of entries around the nation, she was a finalist to take her product to Florida and the Home Shopping Network. The judges were wowed.

"He was like, ‘Where are you from?’ And I was like, 'I'm from Indianapolis, the Racing Capital of the World.' And he was like, 'Sold!' And he said sold because he was from Ben Davis and that's where me and my husband graduated from," Allen said.

LeCretia and her husband, Angelo
LeCretia and her husband, Angelo

She also says the company president is fond of her caramel cake.

"He loved it. He really, really loved it," Allen said.

The Allens got some great feedback after their presentation.

"When I sat down, he walked up to me and he was like, 'You could be like David's Cookies - that's a multimillion dollar business'," Allen said. "I was, like, 'Oh, thank you.'"

She didn't win the contest.

"But HSN still wants you. They want you to become a partner," she said, referring to a conversation she had with a network representative.

Now, she's preparing to make her national debut selling her carmel cake.

"We can do anything from 500 items to 10,000," Allen said.

So get ready to hear her introduction line on HSN this year.

"This is just like something your grandma used to make with a little extra love. My love," Allen said.

It's the love from her family she says that motivates her to keep shooting for the stars.

"I am their arrow. I shoot them in whatever direction they want to go. So I show them that it can be done," she said.

Allen says despite being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, having her own business gives her the strength to push through.