I had been wading in a pool of egocentric sorrow since my arrival in Mexico for our family vacation with a newly broken leg. Trying to divert my pain, I took advantage of the offer to visit a local orphanage in Acapulco. Seeing the children’s large brown eyes peering up at me, and the two girls who so eagerly showed me how they squeezed into the small cot together every night touched me so. Speaking to the children in their native tongue, I was able to peel away the coat of misery I had been steaming in and allow myself to experience the situation that lay in front of me. As my eyes drifted from child to child and my ears absorbed the information shared with me, my heart clenched, forming a deep burrow of frustration. For the children. For the unused possibilities. When I returned home I decided to establish a business that I would combine my passion for baking and my desire to give back to those in need.
In 2008 I started Cupcake Queen, a home-delivery cupcake business for specialty events and retail sale in the local area. As Cupcake Queen’s sole proprietor, I also took on the roles of baker, marketing agent, purchasing agent, and CFO. I sought customers throughout the community and soon awareness of my business spread by word of mouth. I landed my first large account with a local party company in town, who has been a loyal customer for the past three years. My second major client was secured a year later, when a local retail store chose to offer my cupcakes for sale. I have watched my business evolve, to include a product line of over more than nine types of cupcakes, each one special in their own way.
Every month I choose a different charity to which I donate twenty percent of my profits. My first donation was to the orphanage I visited in Mexico, and over the years I have donated almost five thousand dollars to more than twenty organizations.
When I began my business, I expected my Cupcake Queen experience to be solely as sweet as the first bite into a cupcake. I thought only of watching a wave of delight spread across the face of a birthday girl looking up at me holding a tower of cupcakes in her doorway. I envisioned overwhelming warmth radiating down to my toes as I read letters from many organizations thanking me for my donations. I came to learn, though, that the percentage of my business proceeds pledged to charities, comes not only out of my profits, but also from the time needed to complete my homework and attend to other parts of my life.
My entrepreneurial journey, like my trip to Mexico, has taught me the value of diligent work, the rewards of philanthropy, and that life is indeed no cupcake. In my experience, cupcakes have been filled with revelations and lessons. Their recipes, containing the usual sugar and flour, also demand my labor, sacrifice, and yearning. I relish the sweet scent of success – warm vanilla, melted butter, sugar – streaming like ribbons behind and ahead of me out an open car window. www.cupcakequeen.org
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