What were you doing (careerwise) when you decided to create your own business?
Interior design was my main focus until about a year ago. I have a degree in interior design and have owned Pure Design for 6 years now.
When did you start your business and what inspired you to do this?
I adore cupcakes and I found the offerings to be very limited on the east side of Phoenix. I knew this opportunity could become another creative outlet for me. I was determined to create a beautiful and absolutely delicious cupcake!
My first order was delivered in August 2010. I placed orders with friends up until the official business launch date in October 2010.
How did you turn your dream into a business plan?
I had experience developing a business plan for my design business so I was able use that as a guideline. I knew the quality of product I wanted to produce, my target market, the packaging, how I was going to advertise and the image I wanted to create. Turning a dream into a business involves translating your passion into a good quality product and a great brand strategy.
What was your start-up cost? How did you get the money, and what did you use it for?
The start-up costs were minimal and I used profits from my interior design business to fund the necessities. My start-up costs were used for baking supplies, ingredients, packaging, photography and web design.
What was the biggest obstacle?
I’m a self-taught baker so I had to do quite a bit of research and studying on the science of baking. Then I baked, baked and baked some more! My kitchen was a test lab.
Did your friends and family support your dream?
Most definitely! They are always on the sidelines cheering me on! My husband is amazed at what I’ve been able to accomplish within the first year. My 3-year-old son is my most loyal taste tester.
How did you maintain your confidence when doors were closed in your face, when people didn't get it or said no?
I’ve been in sales most of my life, so I have experience in this department. Good things don’t come easy. If and when I face resistance, it makes me want to just try harder. I’m very competitive in nature!
How long did it take you to get everything off the ground?
I began working on Modern Cupcake in July 2010. I approached the business in phases. The name came first and then recipe research and development followed. Next the logo, print materials, photography and website were created. After it was all said and done, I launched. My official website launch was in November 2010.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
Modern Cupcake became profitable within the first couple months of launching.
What do you love most about being your own boss? What are the drawbacks?
I am grateful for being in a position where I can dictate my own schedule. On the flipside, when you are the owner, you are responsible for ALL aspects. I’m constantly striving for work-life balance!
Do you have employees?
Modern Cupcake consists of one employee and that would be me! On occasion, I recruit my sister Lynn (baker/manager). The first person I will need to hire is an assistant.
How has your involvement with Martha Stewart’s Dreamers into Doers helped you and your business?
In January 2011, I was one of the lucky few to attend the Dreamers into Doer’s conference at Martha Stewart’s Headquarters. What a once-in-a-lifetime experience! They offered several insightful speakers and workshops. I also had the opportunity to connect with some amazing women entrepreneurs while there. I now currently work with a couple Dreamers into Doers on a regular basis. It was a life-changing experience for me!
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
I would not be where I am today if social media did not exist. Facebook and Twitter have allowed Modern Cupcake to stay connected with its existing followers and gain new ones. I’ve also been able to network on my end and build relationships with other businesses in the industry. Also, I owe it to Facebook for introducing me to Dreamers into Doers!
Blogging is the next obvious step for Modern Cupcake. I will use blogging as a platform to build the Modern Cupcake brand and grow my business.
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What’s so inspiring about them?
This is a difficult question, because I have so many of them!
On a personal level, I greatly admire my brother, Scott. He is a very successful entrepreneur and a wealth of knowledge. We enjoy chatting about business and I occasionally ask him for advice. I greatly admire his character and business savvy!
Since starting Modern Cupcake, I’ve met countless inspiring women entrepreneurs. Some I knew before going to NYC and many I connected with during my time there at Martha Stewart’s Headquarters. In the time I’ve known them, I’ve seen their businesses flourish! It has opened my eyes to the amount of opportunity that lies before us. These women have helped me realize that it is attainable!
And of course, Martha Stewart! How can one help but not be inspired by someone who started a catering business out of her home and has since built an empire?
Anything is possible!
How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your business successful? How do you continue to grow and learn?
My past work experience has equipped me in several aspects of starting and growing a business. It’s crucial in today’s business world to constantly evolve. I’m always looking for the next opportunity to promote the Modern Cupcake brand. If you are static in your approach and your product, you risk being left behind!
What's the best piece of business advice you ever received? If you had it to do over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
It’s very simple, but it holds true. Follow your passions and don’t give up! If you love what you do, success will come to you! Remember, these simple truths hinge upon one another.
I wouldn’t change a thing! Each experience has helped me get to where I am today.
What is your favorite product/service that you offer?
At the moment, I’m partial to my lavender cupcakes! I purchased the culinary lavender from a small farm in Canada.
What is your best selling item/service?
Hands down, the best selling Modern Cupcakes are the Chocolate Velvet, Red Velvet and Buttermilk Vanilla. Customers insist on the cream cheese icing!
What advice would you give to Dreamers who haven’t become Doers yet?
Go for it! You only live life once and live with no regrets!
Is your "Dreamer" business your full-time job?
Modern Cupcake is part-time. I continue to practice interior design and most importantly, I’m a Mom!
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