The Cupcake Queen

The day Gigi Butler opened her first store, her account balance was $33. Unable to get a loan, she cleaned houses to pay contractors and had family members working the counter.

Where many would have thrown in the towel, Butler’s fierce entrepreneurial spirit motivated her not to give up – it wasn’t the first time she’d had to work for what she wanted.

After starting her own cleaning business at age 15 and a career switch at 30, she opened the first Gigi’s Cupcakes in Nashville in 2008. It became the nation’s biggest and fastest growing cupcake franchise. By year’s end, her company expects to open its 50th store and reach $20 million in revenue.

In honor of National Boss’s Day, who better to feature than a woman who has been her own boss since before she could legally drive?

PINK: Did you ever feel like giving up?
GB: The day before I opened the first [cupcake] store, I cleaned three houses just to pay for the plumbing. The plumber was waiting at the store and I told him not to cash the check yet because I’d just finished making the $300 I owed him. Then the contractor gave me a bill he had forgotten about: a $15,000 drywall bill. I literally had a meltdown and said, “I can’t do this.”

PINK: What’s the best business advice you’ve received?
GB: My mom and dad gave me the best advice. Their advice was, “Do the smallest things in the biggest way.” It’s all in the details. When I was cleaning houses, I didn’t have to oil the cabinets every time and get every nook and cranny. But I wanted to take that small job and do it to the best of my ability.

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By Caroline Cox

“We’ve only got one life, so you might as well just go for it. What man is going to tell me I can’t do something?” Gigi Butler

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