When sisters Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne started their cupcake business in 2008, they had no idea that they would become the talk of the industry. After years of sacrifice and hard work, their cupcake business, Georgetown Cupcake, has expanded to serve over 10,000 orders a day. So, what is the secret behind the business’ success? Here is the story of how two sisters turned cupcakes into a booming business.
A Bumpy Start
How much does it cost to start a cupcake business? It may not seem like much on paper, but the truth is that it is just as demanding as any other business. For Katherine and Sophie, their Georgetown Cupcake business cost them almost all of their capital and more.
To start with, the two sisters had to sacrifice their careers to follow their dream. Katherine was an assistant to the Vice President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an enviable position that promised a great future. Sophie, on the other hand, was recruited as an associate fresh out of college by a consulting firm based in Washington DC. However, in spite of the promising opportunities, the two sisters decided to take the plunge and resigned to focus on starting their dream business.
Their timing was far from ideal. When the two sisters founded Georgetown Cupcake in 2008, it was at the height of recession, and, naturally, funding was hard to come by. Without any form of financial help, the two sisters made do with all they had and committed all their finances to getting the business off the ground. In their many interviews with TV shows, the two sisters narrate how scary it was for them to invest all their life savings and max out their credit cards in spite of the uncertainties that lay ahead. As it turns out, their sacrifice paid off and, as the economy recovered, Americans seemed to have a new-found love for cupcakes.
Growth to Fame and Popularity
In spite of the numerous obstacles that challenged Georgetown Cupcake, the business has grown tremendously from a small store on Potomac Street. Today, Georgetown Cupcake operates on a national scale, with several shops in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles, among others. The most amazing thing about its growth is that it has not been fueled by outside capital, but rather sheer passion and quality in service provision.
Georgetown Cupcake got a boost in the very first year when the business’ tasty cupcakes and top quality services impressed Frank Bruni, one of the contributors at The New York Times. Frank Bruni was so captivated by the business and the dedication of the two sisters that he dedicated a whole article to reviewing the business. Almost immediately after the article ran, the sisters began getting orders from customers in New York, and shortly after from Boston, Los Angeles, and other states. This, however, was only the beginning of the business’ spotlight in the media.
Although Georgetown Cupcake had already started growing and expanding by 2009, its breakthrough, according to Katherine and Sophie, came when the business was featured in its very own TV show DC Cupcakes. According to the sisters, the show was conceived when a producer walked into their store and gasped at the high quality services provided in spite of the chaos caused by the numerous orders from across the nation. The producer talked to the two sisters about the idea of setting up a show to showcase their business, and they did their first show in 2010 and the second in 2011.
Georgetown Cupcake now has three brick-and-mortar stores in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. However, the business operates nationwide as it caters for customers from all over the U.S. through its online portal. Cupcakes are baked, packed, and shipped off using the fastest delivery services to reach their customers while still fresh.
What Sets Georgetown Cupcake Apart from the Rest?
After hearing the story of this simple cupcake business and its incredible growth and seemingly bright future, one cannot help but wonder what Georgetown Cupcake does differently from the rest. According to Katherine and Sophie, the secret is in customer service.
According to the two sisters, one of the main pillars of their business is quality customer care. Reception at any of its stores is simply outstanding if the impression made on the producer of DC Cupcakes and Frank Bruni is anything to go by. In fact, the business is so customer-oriented that they give away 100 free cupcakes every day to their loyal customers as a show of appreciation.
In addition to quality service provision, Georgetown Cupcake also stands out for its tasty and multi-flavored cupcakes. The two sisters are undoubtedly gifted when it comes to baking cupcakes, considering that they have been doing it since childhood, boasting that they learnt the skill from the best: their grandmother. Georgetown Cupcake offers cupcakes in a wide array of flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet.
Only the best ingredients are used; in fact, the business goes as far as to source vanilla from Madagascar – which is apparently the home of the best vanilla in the world. Additionally, besides the coverage afforded by their very own TV show and baking books, Georgetown Cupcake also benefits from PR services from its marketers.
What Does the Future Hold for Georgetown Cupcake?
There is no doubt that Georgetown Cupcake has a bright future ahead, considering the far that it has come in just eight years. In interviews with TV shows and baking magazines, the sisters have revealed that their main focus now lies in expanding their business even further.
As mentioned earlier, Georgetown Cupcake currently supplies cupcakes throughout the U.S. but has only three stores in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. The sisters’ goal is to set up more brick-and-mortar stores that will give them a firm presence in other states and ease delivery across the nation. This goal will likely materialize very soon as the exceptional cupcakes are fast growing in popularity and orders may soon hit the 20,000 mark.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker