Overnight Success Takes Ten Years Mignon Francois, owner of The Cupcake Collection, discusses pandemic pivots but, more importantly, we hear from her on how she turned a business - started from nothing - into a two location success.

By Emily Washcovick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The Cupcake Collection

Behind the Review host and Yelp's Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week's episode of the podcast.

"The celebration is still on. Your birthday doesn't care that it's COVID. Your birthday doesn't care that a tornado came." That's Mignon Francois, owner of The Cupcake Collection. In this week's episode, we talk about pandemic pivots, but more importantly, we hear from her on how she started from nothing and turned a sweet dream into a booming success.

Unlike many of the business owners we've talked with on Behind the Review, Mignon was not driven by a passion for the industry—in her case, cupcakes. In fact, she didn't even know how to bake when she started The Cupcake Collection. What drove her was even more powerful: a passion and drive to succeed, to "make it." She heard a story on the radio of someone getting out of debt by having a bake sale. That was her inspiration. From there, she got to work, creating a business that could get her out of debt and allow her to build generational wealth for her family. "I put these three-by-three signs outside of my house. They said, "Bakery coming soon.' Then I felt like the whole world had seen it—I couldn't back out now. I had to figure out how to bake."

Mignon is the perfect example of what can be achieved when you want to make it happen. She not only learned to bake, but learned to bake really well, award-winning well.

Our Yelp review comes from creative entrepreneur Monica S., who takes a fun and playful look at just how "overwhelmingly delectable" cupcakes can be. Her words were not only captivating, but they're also a reminder of how much joy something simple—like a sweet potato cupcake—can bring.

If you're looking for inspiration, let Mignon be it. Here are a few of the other insights you'll get from this episode:

  • Believe in yourself. It's the most important place to start when you're looking to build a business. For Mignon, no one believed that people would come to her neighborhood and wait in line for a gourmet item like a cupcake, but she didn't let that deter her. That base confidence, mixed with hard work, is essential.
  • Success doesn't happen overnight. It takes time to build a business, trial and error, and you need to work to create a loyal customer base. Don't expect instant success.
  • COVID took a lot, but don't let it take everything. We talk with many business owners about their own pivots and the resilience of small businesses as a whole during a pandemic—and The Cupcake Collection is no exception. But Mignon takes it one step further, acknowledging that celebrations are still happening and we shouldn't let them go. Just find a new way to make them happen. Think about how you can adjust your offering to stay safe while also achieving a sense of normalcy.

"We all know life is short," Monica said. "So if you're going to party, party hard. If you're going to treat yourself, do it right." So we say, eat the cupcake, and don't be afraid to take the plunge to make your business happen.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Mignon and Monica, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Wavy Line
Emily Washcovick

Small Business Expert at Yelp

As Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily is meticulously focused on helping local business owners succeed and grow. Her expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management, and all things digital marketing. Through speaking engagements and thought leadership, Emily shares industry insights that entrepreneurs in any business category can leverage for the growth and well-being of their businesses. She is also the host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media, where each episode features conversations with a business owner and a reviewer about the story and lessons behind their interactions.

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