Mom Entrepreneur: Carrie Middlemiss
Business: Bella Cupcake Couture
We offer posh and chic textile-inspired cupcake wrappers. The boutique-style designs are exquisite and offer a sophisticated elegance to any special occasion; weddings, baby and bridal showers, birthdays, celebrations, and just because.
Our slogan is “Have your cupcake and adore it too.™” You can simply bake or buy your favorite frosted cupcake and set inside wrapper for an elegant finish. No matter which type of cupcake you enclose it around; red velvet, lemon drop, double chocolate, plain vanilla… it is sure to be adored!
What inspired you to start your business?
I had always wanted to contribute and be a part of the cupcake community (yes, there really is one and it's very big). Then last year I was laid off as an 18-year employee of a bank which collapsed as a result of the economic downturn.
I saw this as the perfect opportunity to follow my passion. I wanted to start a company that sells custom decorative textile-inspired cupcake wrappers to hide the crinkly, translucent paper they’re baked in.
Everytime I looked at a cupcake I saw a more fashionable design for the bottom portion and always say “Why should the frosting have all the limelight?”
How long have you been in business?
We launched about two months ago.
What did you do in your past work life?
I worked for a bank for almost 18 years. A majority of the time was spent in Marketing. I had managed several sponsorships, grand opening events and product campaigns. I worked with many talented and creative people. It was a great job with wonderful experiences and memories. I””””m surprised how many things I learned in my past work life can be applied to my new role as a business owner.
Describe your ideal workday.
- Wake up to my darling husband and Yorkie-Maltese.
- Check my inbox to find several orders and get ready to ship them.
- Do some blogging, twittering and Facebook.
- Visit local retailers or network with other business owners.
- Plan for upcoming events and tradeshows.
- Pick up a cupcake. Take a photo in our darling wrappers. Then eat.
- At the end of the work day, sit in the sun with a glass of vino in the backyard with family and friends.
What have been some of your major successes?
About a month after launching we received some great press from the Seattle Times. We were on the front page of the Business section (above the fold) and even had a second page of coverage. It was amazing to see almost a half page of my face holding our cupcake wrappers. I was grinning ear to ear.
Then three weeks later our wrappers were on the local TV news segment called “Moore to Life”.
It is so nice to see so many people who are enjoying our product as much as we are.
What have been some of your major challenges?
The best and efficient way to set up Quickbooks and figuring out how to track sales from online site to Quickbooks without to much duplication. I was referred to a product which may resolve a lot of this issue, so I'm going to try it and see how it works. !
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
The desire to be able to be my own boss, help others and do what I love.
Do you have a motivational quote?
The biggest motivation I get is from something I read on a blog once. Someone said we should think of running a business like it is a train. A train always stays on its tracks going forward. It may have some stops or change course on occasion but it always goes forward; never backwards.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
I schedule time on my calendar for different projects throughout the day to keep me on track. Then when the work day is over it's family time!
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
Number one priority…..Follow your passion! However, it is important to really plan out how your business will run on a day to day basis and prepare for future growth.
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
I use an excel spreadsheet with many tabs for each portion of my business. It really helped me to keep all areas of my business in one place with less clutter. I tried a notebook for a while and it just got so messy. In my excel spreadsheet I can have a research tab, marketing tab, product list, contacts, etc. It's great!
What is next for your business?
I'm very focused on growing my business, making partnerships, and planning for the future.
What is your two cents sales pitch?
Our hope is that our Bella Cupcake Couture wrappers bring smiles to the ones you care about and create cherished memories with your friends and family. We want our customers to enjoy the simple pleasures and savor the sweet life.
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