A blog that focuses on achieving success in all areas of life, for those who are willing to take themselves on, set goals and do what it takes to achieve them! Comments are welcome. If you have a succcess story to share, e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I love success
stories, which are usually the result of following a passion even when the odds
are against you, and so when I discovered the successful Simply
Cupcakes in Naples, Florida, I was curious as to who was behind it.
The woman behind
this tasty business with four locations in Southwest Florida and soon to be a
franchise, is Joanne Glasgow,
supported by her husband Ken.
Joanne gracefully accepted to be interviewed for Success Diaries, to share her story
and inspire other women entrepreneurs:
LCL- When and why did you decide to open
JG- Soon after we moved to Florida
I realized that although the cupcake craze was sweeping the nation it had not yet
come to Southwest Florida. Coming from a family of Italian cooks and
bakers, I had a love of baking and I decided to test my cupcakes at the Third St. Farmer's
Market in Naples in October 2006 where the response was immediate.
LCL-Were you afraid of making a
JG- I really didn't make a career
change in the traditional way. I had been a Pediatric Registered Nurse for over
30 years but when we moved to Florida in 2003, I had already retired from
Nursing. When I was a nurse in Rochester, NY I helped a friend of mine part
time in her dessert catering business. This satisfied my passion for baking at
that time and ultimately gave me the courage to make a business out of it. At
the time I started Simply Cupcakes, I was 60, which is the age when most people
think about cutting back.
Joanne, loving her work
LCL- What were the biggest stumbling blocks?
JG- My biggest stumbling block was my lack of
business and retail experience. It's one thing to bake a cupcake but another to
sell it. Since the cupcake industry was young, there were few resources to turn
to for guidance, so my business never really had a plan. Of course, I started
my business at one of the worst times in the economic history of our country.
At a time when businesses were closing, I was starting. Loans for new
businesses did not exist
are the greatest rewards?
JG- There is no greater reward than
to have an idea and see it become a reality. In the cupcake business I get
rewarded every day with compliments from our customers. [My husband] Ken and I
have also had the satisfaction of creating a Simply Cupcakes training program
to help others start their own cupcake business.
have been your best supporters?
JG- My husband Ken has been with me
every step of the way behind the scenes although he loves to wait on the customers
and schmooze with them. He has taken
over the marketing of our business and has successfully created a brand with
little or no paid advertising. I also have the support of my brother and sister
in law and our children who are in awe of the fact that "mom" is a
LCL-How do you promote yourself?
JG- Although we had little
knowledge of social media, we taught ourselves to use Facebook and now have
over 12,000 fans on the Simply
Cupcakes Facebook Page. We have been fortunate to have many articles written
about us because there is little good news these days and mine is a
"feel good" story. Mainly, we have used word of mouth. Our business
plan was to get people to our store (which is in an out of the way location)
and get a cupcake in their mouth. We have enough confidence in our product to
know what the reaction will be. If we sell a dozen cupcakes, they go into a dozen
mouths and hopefully we will have a dozen new customers.
you recall having any "aha" moments?
JG- I remember at the beginning at
Market, when we sold a Key
Lime cupcake to a customer and as he walked away he took a bite and yelled
"OH MY GOD ! " It was the first sign that we had something good. The
turning point for us was when we started the business without a store and just
had a website. We took orders for cupcakes online and delivered them to
customers in Naples. By the time we opened the store, we had over 300 customers
already. We have been told that this was the reverse of traditional thinking.
Most businesses open a store and then put up a website. We put up a website and
then opened our store.
LCL- What would you say to other women who
would like to follow in your steps?
JG- I would tell them what we tell
every person we train: "Unless you have a passion for baking, find
something else to do.” Make sure that the passion you have today will still be
there a year from now when you have a large order to fill and your mixer breaks
down". I would also tell them to bake every cupcake as though your
reputation depends on it, because it does. We are scratch bakers, using fresh
eggs and butter. We don’t take shortcuts or use mixes. We bake only in small
batches and our customers can tell the difference.
Joanne and Ken, the team behind the dream
Some of Simply Cupcakes´ and the Glasgow’s
many noteworthy accomplishments:
·The business was started with borrowed money three
years ago, and they paid it all back with interest in less than two years. They
now operate a debt-free business.
·Joanne has trained 36 locations nationwide in 24
months, to open their own Simply Cupcakes on a License Agreement from
California to Puerto Rico.
I often run by the memorial you can see in the picture. It’s
for a girl who was hit by a car in 1996. She was 12 when she died.
When I got home after taking the picture, a few months ago,
I Googled her name. I found she was hit by a driver who ran a red light. Alycia
died on the spot and her friend, of the same age, was severely injured, but he
lived. They were on the way back from doing homework at a friend’s house.
Apparently the driver did some time, but was eventually
released. I read the testimonies of the friends who were with her that night
and the expressions of pain of her parents. That night I had a hard time
Every time I run by her memorial by the sidewalk next to the
intersection where she was run over, I salute Alycia. I think of her parents
and her friend. I think of my kids. I think about life.
When I run by her memorial I become aware of my feet hitting
the ground and, even if I’m tired, even if it’s sweltering hot, I feel good.
I’m alive, my kids are healthy and my loved ones are fine. I hope this lasts,
but you just never know, and she reminds me of that. We have to squeeze the
juice out of life while it lasts.
During the rest of my run, I make a mental gratitude list.
And even if I feel like slowing down or walking, I don’t. I keep on running
because Alycia can’t. In her honor, I enjoy every minute of my journey. She’s
my reality check. RIP.
As much as I enjoy being recognized for my work, it is a far greater pleasure to be able to showcase other strong, creative and determined women. If I’m having an out of sorts day, knowing I made someone else’s, through something I wrote about them, is a better mood enhancer than any happy pill.
In Mamiverse, the place for Latina moms, you can read my pieces on some of the special women I’m fortunate to be able to shine the lights on. They have all overcome odds in one way or another, and turned a challenge into an opportunity to grow and pursue their dreams. Thank you for being such an inspiration, and keep on keeping on!
While most people complain over petty things, Eliana makes being the mom of two children with Down syndrome seem easy. I’ve never heard her complain about trips to the hospital or having to juggle work and motherhood.
Lisana’s jewelry is a reflection of who she is and where she’s from. She enrolled in Law school to appease her family but eventually followed her dream. It’s not easy to go against the grain, especially when you have kids to tend to.
Aymee literally lost it all to the recession: marriage, business, money, investments, her house … And yet she is an upbeat mom who rebuilds her life every single day. She is a doer, and she’s doing it her way, with her Wacky Cookie company. She involves her son in all she does.
Monica wanted to stay home with her kids, but she also wanted to work. She used her degree in Business Administration to manage her home business. For a few years now, she’s been designing and selling handbags she handcrafts herself, at Tuffcooki. A creative go-getter with two small tots who make her day, every day.
I had a different blog post in mind for today, but yesterday Steve Jobs
died. I cried. Whether he was philanthropist or not, had affairs or children out of wedlock - he stayed true to his vision, which is something few people do. There are the complainers and blamers, and there are the doers and shakers. I like to think I belong to the second group. He certainly did. I'm glad he lived to see his Vision come true.
I can’t say anything he didn’t say better, so in tribute to The Visionary of our times,
here are some of his best quotes on life.
past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If
today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do
today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I
know I need to change something."
connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.
So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You
have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This
approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've
ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost
everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment
or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only
what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way
I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are
already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. ... Stay hungry.
“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good,
then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long.
Just figure out what’s next.”
[NBC Nightly News, May 2006]
"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels,
the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes ... the ones who see
things differently -- they're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for
the status quo. ... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things. ... They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as
the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think
that they can change the world, are the ones who do."
[Apple’s 1997 Think Different Campaign]
I may not be a visionary as he was, but I’ve followed my
calling for the past twenty years, as a writer and a communicator, despite
those who told me it wouldn’t pay the bills and that I needed to get a “real”
job. I´m glad I didn´t listen.
I’m a misfit, I’m a crazy one, a rebel. Writing is paying the bills, although I don´t do it for the money. Writing is my passion. It gives me the sense that I could die feeling I made a difference, however
small. At least in that sense, so far I´ve life on my own terms, and I intend to keep it that way.