One woman built a multimillion-dollar cupcake business with just $33 to her name


Seven years of age. “There was nothing other to do. At the end of the story I was going to become a country music star “she describes.

She, on the other hand, needed to work when she was 15 and was not interested in working for anyone but herself. “I bought some buckets and mops and went rang doorbells, door to door, and offered to clean people’s houses.”

Gigi’s CleaningCompany Citrus North was created as an outcome of this.

She worked for five years in California cleaning offices, building sites, and houses (while also singing in a group as a side project) before deciding that she was ready to go on to the next stage of her musical career.

In 1994, she walked out of college and moved to Nashville with only 500USD, no job, no friends, and no place to stay.

“I was always cleaning after I got there. That’s why I would clean all day and come home, sleep, go out to dance at bars till 3 a.m. -Then do it again the next day,” she says. “But when I reached 31, I had had enough of being squeezed around the buttocks and passing around the tip of the jar around. As my aim of singing was to be a singer, I felt that I failed. However, I knew that I couldn’t do it for myself anymore.”

Butler gave up her dream of becoming a country singer in 2005 and focused on growing her cleaning business in Nashville.

“I was making a good living and learning how to manage a team, run a business, and be a boss,” she says. “It was perfect since I never really wanted to sit in front of a computer screen in high heels, stockings, and a skirt.”

Butler stated that she was satisfied, but that “something was still missing” since she wasn’t being challenged enough.

Butler comes from a long line of bakers in his family. Her grandmothers, aunts, and mother, as well as her mother, were all excellent cooks. She “got the gene” from them.

“It’s in my DNA, but I’ve never regarded it as a source of income.”

She hung up the phone and turned to face the mirror. She thought to herself, “I’m not frightened to fail, therefore I’ll do this.” I’m thinking of starting the business of making cupcakes.

She was back in Texas a month later, visiting her aunt Bennie, who operated a bakery. “Because I didn’t know what I was doing, I went there to learn.”

She visited the bank to request an advance loan after returning to Tennessee. “Despite having good credit as well as no credit card debt the bankers laughed in my face and said, ‘What’s the deal Do you want to open an establishment that sells cupcakes? ‘”

Instead, she took out 200,000USD in cash advance loans using her credit cards.

Butler’s parents came to help her launch her business after she found a suitable location. It’s a place she calls “the sweet spot” since it’s close to three universities, and six hospitals, and is located just from Music Row. “My mother assisted me with recipe development, and my father assisted me with company design; they also provided me some money, which I desperately needed.”

Butler took the entire 100,000USD in loans, in addition to the money that her parents donated to her, as well as all her savings prior to launching the business, and was still in debt to the company 6,500USD in costs ($4,500 for rent, $1000 in supplies and $1000 for her two employees). In the bank account, she had only the sum of $33.

“I cleaned three homes the day before we began the business to pay the plumber,” she recalls. “The next day, my contractor came in with a $15,000 drywall bill that he did not provide me with, and I nearly collapsed on the floor before having an emotional breakdown.”

Butler was given a week to pay rent, a food service provider, and two workers 6,500USD. She advised the contractor that she’d need additional time to pay his cost.

She told Business Insider, “I had no idea how I was going to pull it off.” “As I searched, I remember thinking to myself, ‘Please just let people in.’ You can make these exactly the same way I make my cake. They have to look like my cupcakes. ‘”

Instead of liking them, they seemed to adore them.

A line formed in front of Gigi’s Cupcakes business just an hour after the business opened.

Butler describes an exchange he had with an acquaintance during the beginning of the week. “‘I’m going to buy Scarlett’s RedVelvet flavor cupcake”, one woman exclaimed as I walked about greeting all. So when I informed her that we didn’t have the flavor, she shouted at me “I’ve been in line for that cupcake for quite some time!” You aren’t carrying it? Are you a moron?’ Although you’d think that I’d be a bit offended, I walked to my car thinking, ‘People are clamoring for my cupcakes because they’re looking for them! Cha-ching!'”

Butler was capable of paying off $6,500 of expenses in a week after the company was launched on March 1st the year 2008. “And there was still $300 left,” she claims.

Butler’s landlord AlanThompson recommended the idea of franchising a couple of months after. “I inquired, ‘What is franchising? ‘”

Butler, Thompson, her parents, and her elder brother Randall, who eventually became the company’s chief operating officer, started franchising the company’s Gigi’s Cupcakes name in October of 2008.

“I imagined I’d establish one business, make 50,000USD a year, and be done with it,” she says. “I didn’t even stop cleaning until I had 15 franchisees.”

Franchisees have control of 90 of the 92 locations of Gigi’s Cupcakes locations.

The company’s success lies in the high quality of its products that include muffins, cupcakes, cookies pies, cakes, and other bakedgoods “wonderful and unique”. particular flavor with an individual story behind it “She says.

The second reason is that “I was never afraid of failing, therefore I gave it my all.”

Butler, a single mother of a three-year-old girl, says the most difficult battle is accepting that her daughter “no longer wears all the hats.”

“I attempted a tiny amount of everything initially. I’d make an assortment of frosting, then head to an event, and then make paperwork. There’s now a wonderful staff who can handle all the responsibilities. My job will be to promote the image of the business. Yet, I want to be on the move all the time and make sure that everything is in order because this is my company that bears my name.”

Butler says she’d like to increase the number of locations for the company to 250 locations by the end of 2019.

“However, no matter how large we get, I’ll always find time to throw on my apron and whip up a batch of frosting because that’s what I like doing.”


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