Last night, my husband and I watched the tv show about the boss who comes to check on her workers. In this case, it happened to be the owner of “Gigi’s Cupcakes.” It was very interesting. Do we have similarities? Well, neither of us has much of a singing voice or the potential to be on the Grand Opry…I have cleaned houses but not for 20 years…more like 2 summers with my own business in Gulf Shores, Al. sometime in my 20s.
One of the reasons, I broached the idea of a small cupcake business to my husband was the year before, I had been a primary teacher in Abu Dhabi. It was part of the new education reform and my first year as a professionally certified teacher for the primary grades. My husband stayed with his job and our home and I went alone to see what was going on. It was rough at times, the school situation and the intense loneliness of being without Michael. Towards the end of the first year, I made a very good friend who had been in the UAE for many years…she was very good to me. But it seemed to me living in the city of Abu Dhabi, I spent much time dodging the heat in the malls. During this time, I noticed and appreciated the cupcake lounges which had interesting names like “Sugar Daddy” and which seemed comfortable for women and men, mostly women to meet and talk together. I thought the idea would work in the states. Michael has a MBA and always wanted to open our own business but the high cost of opening a deli was not possible for us. So, the next possibility was gourmet cupcakes.
So, we donot have in common that we took out a loan on our credit cards of $100,000 to open our business (like Gigi’s) but instead opened up our business with less than $10,000 of our saved monies. My husband is an excellent manager at managing our cupcake budget, so we have managed to stay open during some lean times. We don’t have a lot of walk through traffic like the Abu Dhabi malls, but then again our prices aren’t as high. It was interesting to note that on Undercover Boss, she found some of her franchises changing recipes, frosting style, no apron, policy, etc. One of the strongest strengths of our business is that we are the only employees. So we do care about our business but Michael has often said how hard it would be to control franchises. We have had several people from Orlando and South Tampa approach us about copying us in a franchise but it didn’t work for us at that time. Well, we enjoyed watching Undercover Boss and we are still happy we took the plunge. It is just like me taking the plunge to teach in the UAE. Things were far from perfect and you can’t believe what you read or hear on facebook or other venues but nothing ventured, nothing won or lost. You must take the first step or let go of a dream.