Life is about balance. Yes you can have it all. Business, kids, etc…It’s a daily challenge to make sure your priorities are in the right place so you won’t be scattered and wind up not giving your best. Be present in everything you do.
Gigi Butler is the Founder of Gigi’s Cupcakes. Gigi opened her first Gigi’s Cupcakes location just off of Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2008 with $33 to her name. Ten years later with nearly 100 locations nationwide it has grown to become America’s favorite cupcake franchise
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirt. I saw my dad start businesses all the time so why couldn’t I?
At age 15 I started a house cleaning company called Gigi’s Cleaning Company. My dream was to be a country music star. I moved to Nashville to pursue that dream, and to make money I started cleaning houses in Nashville. I cleaned during the day and sang at night, until at age 30 I realized that I needed to find a new dream. It was very hard to let go of my old dream to be a country music star and took some time to grieve the loss. I got my hands on every business book I could. I decided if I was just going to be a cleaning lady then I was going to be the best one in Nashville. I expanded my team and hired people to work for me. I was content until one day my brother called from New York City and told me he had stood in line at a cupcake shop for 2 hours and that my cupcakes were better than theirs, and said that I should open a cupcake shop!
Why did you found your company?
After that call from my brother, I looked in the mirror at my pink cleaning gloves and realized I needed to make a change. I went to every bank, but no one would give me a loan for a cupcake shop. So I took out all the money I needed on my personal credit cards, over $100,000, and opened my shop with $33 left to my name and went for it!
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Everyone told me that a cupcake shop was a silly idea, that no one would want to come in and buy just cupcakes. We’ve rapidly expanded across the country, and now even ship nationwide. Clearly, people love my cupcakes!
I have always been the person that says WHY? Why can’t I do it or why can’t it be done in a different way?
You have to think outside your box and ask Why Not? And then go for it!
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
Since I was young I have followed the music and business careers of Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood. They have an amazing ability to evolve and stay relevant every time they try something new. Also Oprah and Martha Stewart have been strong businesswomen I have looked up to.
How are you going to shake things up next?
I am expanding beyond just cupcakes! My autobiography, The Secret Ingredient, will come out this fall, where I share my story and how I ended up here. I also have a line of candles as well as home textiles.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
-Follow your gut no matter what. Seek wise counsel of course and get some opinions from friends and family. That being said, if I listened to all the people who said I was crazy, or told me, “Don’t open a cupcake shop,” I wouldn’t be here and Gigi’s Cupcakes wouldn’t exist.
-Life is about balance. Yes you can have it all. Business, kids, etc…It’s a daily challenge to make sure your priorities are in the right place so you won’t be scattered and wind up not giving your best. Be present in everything you do.
-Don’t be afraid to take the leap. Brave people get things done and people respect you when you have a courageous heart.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.
I am an avid reader. Books have been a necessity to my success. The Bible, The E Myth theory by Michael Gerber and Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen just to name a few.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I have always wanted to meet Julie Andrews. Not only is she amazingly talented, she is dedicated and hardworking. Her career has expanded over 50 years. She has the gift of reinventing herself. As George Bernard Shaw said,“ Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” Let’s all be those people Who Create J
How can our readers follow Gigi’s Cupcakes on social media?
Facebook: Gigi’s Cupcakes USA
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Facebook: Official Gigi Butler
Instagram Official Gigi Butler
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!