Ever since she was a child, Taylor Stump knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. In high school, Taylor would bake all different types of concoctions like ice cream cones with a cupcake in it and an Oreo on top. It wasn’t until her senior year of high school, when people began to order cupcakes from her, that she realized she wanted to own a cupcake shop.
Unlike many students, Taylor went into college knowing exactly what she wanted to do when she graduated: start a cupcake shop. At this time, cupcake shops like Sprinkles Cupcakes first began to pop up, so it was a trending new idea. Taylor opened up her first bakery in Cape Cod, a month after she graduated from Manhattan College in June 2014.
“College is great but you learn so much more in the real world and once you’re thrown into the field.”
What sets Little Miss Cupcape apart from other bakeries is that they bake from scratch daily and use all real ingredients. Although most bakeries claim that they bake from scratch daily, not many actually do. They use all real butter, sugar, and nothing is cut with lard. Another one of their distinct factors is the experience of entering the shop. The customers are greeted with over-the-top, whimsical, cupcake dressed employees. On top of that, all of the cupcakes are filled with frosting.
The biggest struggle for Taylor when she opened her shop was the brutal reality of the restaurant business. It was shocking for Taylor to realize that there were no lines out the door and that she was not making enough money. Just selling one product, in Taylor’s case cupcakes, was not enough to keep up with the costs of running a business. The location of her shop, Cape Cod, is also extremely seasonal so that was another factor. She quickly learned to listen to the demand and diversify her bakery by adding cookies, cake pops, cakes, and even an option for kids to host birthday parties at the shop.
Taylor recently faced another hurdle when a competitor selling similar baked goods moved in next door to the Cape location. Business began to slow down at her Cape store and instead of being upset about it, Taylor decided to think of new ways to set her bakery apart. She eventually decided on getting a liquor license for the Cape location.
Above all, it wasn’t the liquor license that sealed the deal for her hungry consumers, it was the guerrilla marketing, which is an advertisement strategy in which companies use unconventional interactions to promote a product. The most effective marketing strategies for Taylor have been guerrilla marketing and social media marketing.
“Especially in the food industry, you need to win people over by just giving them your food.”
One thing people might not know about Little Miss Cupcape is the involvement of Taylor’s family in the business. She is the face of the company, and her parents are her investors. Through their partnership, they have helped Taylor with managing the store. Another thing that many people might not know is that they also give out their unsold cupcakes to local businesses, shelters, and police stations at the end of the night so nothing goes to waste.
One of the biggest things Taylor has learned from being in the bakery industry is that the most consistent thing is inconsistency. There is no way to accurately determine which days will be busy since the busiest day could as well be a rainy Monday.
For the future, Taylor hopes to expand Little Miss Cupcape which has been her vision ever since she started. Taylor started Little Miss Cupcape and made it a scalable brand so that she could have a strong business for future expansion. Since coming to Boston, Taylor hopes to expand her shop to even more locations in the area. She also plans on starting a subscription box where people can get monthly boxes shipped to them.
“Go for your dream, but you don’t need to know how to do it as long as you have passion for it. Regardless of if you don’t know the tactics or how to tackle what you want to do, as long as you have a passion for it, you’re able to accomplish and teach yourself anything.”