From $30k Per Year To MultiMillionaire, Having Faith Over Fear & Building Generational Wealth Through Entrepreneurship With Mignon Francois

Episode Number: 336

Episode 336: From $30k Per Year To Multi-Millionaire, Having Faith Over Fear & Building Generational Wealth Through Entrepreneurship With Mignon Francois

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From $30k Per Year To Multi-Millionaire, Having Faith Over Fear & Building Generational Wealth Through Entrepreneurship With Mignon Francois

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Mignon Francois, entrepreneur, best-selling author and renowned baker, joins the Journey To Launch podcast to discuss going from drowning in debt to building a multimillion dollar cupcake empire.

We chat about marketable capabilities that stay at home moms bring to entrepreneurship, how vulnerability and transparency builds profitable businesses, and the power of looking to the past to inform your future.

In this episode you’ll learn more about:

  • Going from selling a few cupcakes to a neighbor to a multi-million dollar business
  • How The Great Depression inspired Mignon to build her cupcake empire
  • The importance compounding skill sets, failures and redirections have in determining future success and happiness
  • Owning the things you’re part of, keeping the faith during challenging times, leaning into your community, and more

Check out the video to this episode on YouTube below or by clicking here

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Jamila Souffrant 4:27

Hey, hey, hey journeyers Welcome to the journey to launch podcast, this week we have on Mignon Francois. She is a number one national best selling author, entrepreneur and renowned Baker, who has inspired millions on her journey of going from drowning in debt to building a multi million dollar cupcake Empire. The Cupcake collection, She leveraged her $5 to feed her family and turn it into a legacy with over 5 million cupcakes sold.

Mignon Francois 5:00

Thank you for having me.

Jamila Souffrant 5:04

Okay, when I came across your story, I was like wow, I need to have her on the show because personal finance, about financial education. That's usually the topic that I talked about how to reach that. But entrepreneurship and betting on yourself and going within or using your talents and skill sets to live a life that you love. I think that's the goal for everyone. And so it sounds like you've done that and have been successful financially because of it, even though you didn't start that way. So can you take me back a little bit to the beginning, like what you were doing? Like, did you always love baking or like were How did this become something for you?

Mignon Francois 5:38

Yeah, I was listening to Dave Ramsey, who was a financial peace expert. He was teaching people how to get out of debt by any means necessary, basically. And one thing he said was, you could have a garage sale or a bake sale to get out of debt. Problem is we sold everything we had to get to Nashville, from where we were living in Atlanta at the time. And then I didn't know how to bake not even out of a box. But I figured that I had these two daughters who were good at baking, they were baking every day, this is what I will do, I will, I will sell whatever they make at night during the day. As we got started on it, my oldest daughter letting me know that she really wasn't interested in my little bakery idea. And she was going back home to New Orleans where we're from. And so I thought that I had told everybody that I was opening up a bakery, because I had placed a little sign outside that said bakery coming soon. And so I thought the whole world knew and I had to figure out okay, how am I gonna bake. When my neighbor knocked on the door, she asked me to make cupcakes for all of her clients for the season that was going to be 600 cupcakes, I was sitting in the back of my house with no electricity because we couldn't afford it. So we were running our house on a generator at the time. And I would sit in the house and darkness in the day or go out of the house. So that when my children at home, we could have normalcy, they can have a semblance of electricity or normal life. And so she asked me to make cupcakes for her. And I, like really had this perplexed look on my face. But she she said to me, well, listen, I know it's gonna be a lot. But as you make them out, pay you. And so I said, Okay, I'll do it. Knowing that I only had $5 to my name, I was sitting in the back of my house trying to do this cash stuffing in envelopes. And I only have $5 left to my name I hadn't, I didn't have enough money to pay any of the bills that I had. And I decided to have this come to Jesus moment talk with God. And I was like, God, Okay, listen, why would you bring me this opportunity? When I have no money to take it? And I heard God say, but I feed birds and they don't toil or storm in bars. So how much more will I do for you who looks like me? So I was like, Okay, I took the five, I went to the grocery store, I walked because my car was already repossessed. And I walked to the Kroger at Monroe, and eighth, which is about two blocks in one direction and three blocks in the other. And I bought everything that I could buy with that $5. And then I turned that five into 60, that night, and I took that 60, I put the five back that I started with, and turn that 55 into 600 by the end of the week. And it's been that same money that I've been flipping for the last 17 years to the tune of over 5 million cupcake. So I hope that people will hear me say that, when you show up to the life that you want to create, it will manifest itself. And that's what I saw happen.

Jamila Souffrant 8:56

Wow, that's powerful. So I was really ready for you to say I loved baking, you know, it was always my thing. And so, you know, it was just a natural next step to start baking cupcakes to get paid for it. That gives me so much hope as someone who does not like to cook, you know, or do any of that, like for anyone else. Like there's so many things this is the beauty of life is that you don't even know what's possible for you. It could be something that's not even on your radar, nothing that you're even interested in. And then there's an opportunity or a pathway. I call it a breadcrumb right that or a hyperlink that you click on to learn more, and it takes you down a beautiful path.

Speaker 3 9:37

That's great.

Mignon Francois 9:39

I love that. I really you could click on that. So good.

Jamila Souffrant 9:43

Yes. So I want to go back a bit more. If you could share a bit more about your journey to kind of where you got to this place where you weren't able to have money because, you know, I know there are a lot of people who are now in that spot, but like, what led to that, and then we could talk more about it turning into entrepreneurship.

Mignon Francois 10:02

It was 2008, we were on the beginning of an economic downturn, my ex husband at the time was a contractor. And so we were in the industry that was beginning to plummet in the middle of what was becoming a recession. And so not only did we not have regular work anymore, we were already making ends meet. So I think that what helped me through the process is, I look to the past to inform the future, I believe that if there's nothing new under the sun, then there's nothing new under the sun. So there's some clue, like you said, a breadcrumb that's been left for us as to how we can navigate this new season that we're in. And so I looked at the Great Depression. And I looked at those people who came through the Great Depression, they were cash rich, those same brands that you know, today, as solid brands were built during an economic downturn. That was my clue that you needed to be debt free, you needed to be cash rich, you needed to live under your means in order to get from where you are, to where it is that you want to be. I would want to encourage someone who's thinking right now about starting a business during what they're calling the recession, on the end of what's been a pandemic, that businesses still can be born in the midst of an economic downturn, that this is the best time to do it. Because so many questions, start getting answered, you know, somebody or asked even and you are the answer to someone's problem, I believe that we all are the answer to someone else's problem. And so I was the answer to the problem in my neighborhood, they needed a reason to celebrate, and they needed a way to do it. And there were no bakeries around here, and I'm a girl from New Orleans. So people believed in what it was that I was to put outside of that door.

Jamila Souffrant 12:09

Oh, wow. So I know your first customer was your neighbor. But then how did you start to gain more customers a customer base?

Mignon Francois 12:17

Yeah, so I use my scientific background to create this recipe. So I didn't know how to bake that even out of a box. But I caught my grandma on the phone, who told me how she would make her cakes. And she didn't have recipes, either. And so I was like, Okay, grandma, like this much in your hand, you know, I began to measure the size of my hands, the size of a pitch, and those kinds of things. And I wrote down everything that she told me. And I started creating my first recipe, the first one was an epic fail. But I kept going back until I got it right, because I realized something about this recipe is that this was science. So I had been in college 17 years earlier, studying to be a doctor. And I couldn't apply the science to the human body. But right there, my kitchen, it all came together. This is chemical reactions. This is the stuff on the periodic table, that if you have this same sort of chemical compound or chemical equation, well, then these are chemical reactions. And so I began working that recipe or those ingredients, according to a scientific problem. And so using that same scientific approach, I went to the scientific method. And one of the things that the scientific method tells you to do is perform market research. And so my market research was those two, eight foot windows that sit on the front of my house, I would look out the window and see if anybody was coming. And I would go out there and ask them what they try when I was making that this bakery coming soon. And my family likes it. And I wanted to see, you know what they thought and they would try it and they will come knocking on my door and they would ask me for more says it would tear down one house and put up 15 those were people that I could use to test my hypothesis. I formulated a question. I tested the hypothesis, the hypothesis, I tested the market and looked at you know, try different things and I formulated a recipe. That's how I did it.

Jamila Souffrant 14:30

So I love this concept. I love that you shared that something you did 17 years prior than when you started your cupcake business was something that you probably thought we did you long give up on pursuing any science work.

Mignon Francois 14:45

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I had become a stay at home mom at the time. So I was I was a stay at home mom because we couldn't afford to make ends meet. So I there was a sign When I was coming up into the bakery, just this week, a big splash over the front of our local magazine about the daycare crisis, I get it. I understand so many people have to make life decisions between whether I'm going to pursue a career or stay at home with my children. And that was the position that I was in, it was a decision to stay at home with my children, because that's what we could afford to do. Daycare was too high, we could not only can we not afford water, and electricity, we also couldn't afford daycare costs. And so I made a choice to stay at home because I couldn't afford to do anything else.

Jamila Souffrant 15:40

And this, this path that you started years years ago, the skill set that you obtained that you you know, you probably thought, I'm not using this, look how it serves you, and this next leg of your life or this next stage of your journey, which is why I always say, for people listening for journeyers, that there may be something that you're doing now that you're just like, why am I doing this, I don't like it, or you think it's useless, or you did something in the past years ago, you're just like, that was a waste. And it's not I truly believe that every single thing that we've done has built us up and can be used for our future success and happiness. So just keep that in mind. Because look at this. That's an amazing kind of connection.

Mignon Francois 16:23

Yes, yes, I believe that every stupid thing you've ever had to do is taking you from where you are to where it is that you want to be. And that was just one example of how I thought that I was a failure. I thought that I had messed up my life, that I had gone after this thing that I wasn't going to be able to do. But little did I know that God knew the plan for me, even if I didn't know the plan for me. And so none of it was a mistake. After all, because I had I not done those things, I wouldn't have been in position to be where I am today, I had to go through that stuff to prepare me for the things that I was going through at the time. And I just believe that God is preparing you for something you cannot handle right now. But in the future, when it all comes to fruition, you'll be able to see what it was that he was bringing you to. And for me, it was never supposed to be science, in the sense of healing the human body, but healing the human heart, maybe just in seeing them and making a cake to celebrate or any of those kinds of ways that you can heal people just by sitting with them and baking something good that reminded them of a place that they used to love to be or they used to love to eat or something like that.

Jamila Souffrant 17:43

When you're now getting more customers selling more cupcakes. How did you know like the next step to take because you know, there's a big jump from, you know, selling a few cupcakes to a neighbor to the multimillion dollar business you have now. So what was like that next level that you had to overcome, like When did you move from maybe producing in your house to then getting a location? Or when did you take on your first employees? How did you know to do those next steps back then?

Mignon Francois 18:11

Yeah, I love this question. So we couldn't afford to get a location, we had to open the bakery in our house. So when I first learned that we were going to be opening the bakery in our house it was like Womp womp. That's not what I want. I wanted to be able to go out and have a business somewhere else, like everybody else. But the thing about it was is God was protecting me the whole entire way. Because what that allowed me to do was keep my overhead down. And it allowed me to kill two birds with one stone, not only could I now keep a roof over our head as a family and keep the electricity on and water running. It also paid for the place where the bakery was thriving. So we had come and we had bought a house in a neighborhood that was zoned mixed use, meaning that you could have the bakery business inside of your house as long as there were separate facilities for everything, and even had a door separate that we could use to have people come into the business. So while I thought that I was getting the consolation prize, it actually was the grand prize, and the whole thing was that we were able to do the bakery right on the inside of our house. How did I know when it was time to get employees? I think it was because people saw me struggling to do all of the things because I would get up at 230 in the morning and I would walk down the hall and start baking and people would see me struggling to answer the phone or certain people. I managed pretty okay. But there was a friend at the Starbucks who had lost her job and she was like, I'll come help you. So that kind of just happened. And then there was a customer who was coming all the time. And she was a chef, she was a pastry chef. And she felt like a bakery can be rated on the strength of its vanilla cake. And she felt like the vanilla cake here was a one. And so she was like, one day she came, and said do y'all need help. And she literally came back the next day and started helping some of the things that we do to this very day, I think she implemented because I was just a mom who hated being in the kitchen a, but then B, I didn't know how to organize these things. So many times, we would sell out of stuff before the people who had ordered the things could come and get it. So she showed us how to make a system and we're still using a lot of her system today. But for those people who are growing a business, I would think that this is the way I I like to say a business, is like a baby. If you've ever had a child or a little brother or sister or somebody close to you, or niece or nephew, you'd never leave a newborn baby alone. Right. So that newborn baby, you know, has to get 24 hour care from probably its mother or father, someone who can nurture and nurse that baby, you wouldn't probably leave that baby with a babysitter, probably at least until it was maybe three if you could. And so I think a business is the same way, you wouldn't leave a five year old to do it to itself, right, you would always have someone there to watch that baby or make sure the baby is safe and protected. And I think a business is just like a baby, you can look at the ways and a baby should be cared for in the best conditions. And that's the same thing for your business. That's how you decide when it's time that you can let it go beyond its own. So I've never took a day away from the business being open until the business was at least 5.

Jamila Souffrant 21:56

I like how you said that you like almost the optimal condition because as we just like talked about in terms of being a parent and that decision to go to work or to stay home with your kids and like yeah, ultimately, I mean quite honestly, I also know some women where and it's no problem because I actually like working and don't want to be a stay at home mom myself, even though my kids think that's what I do. Because they're like you're home. I'm like I'm working. But I think it's interesting because like there's like that optimal, like what you would love to do in a perfect world. And while that might not always be the case, I think it's interesting to look at it that way. Because also if you don't learn your baby how can you even show someone else how to take care of them when it's time that you need to go and need to leave them right when they need to go to school or daycare. It's like, Alright, I know that they like this, they like taking a nap this time they eat this food. So with the business, I can definitely see how that's a correlation. Because oftentimes as an entrepreneur, especially solopreneur, in the beginning, you do everything, right, you do all the things. But then in order to grow, or like they say, with children, it's a good thing when your children create outside connections, right and have love from different places other than their parents, that's a good thing. Just like it's good thing for a business to also receive love and attention outside of you like that's actually helpful and helps the business grow. When you started to now like take on employees and grow, because still there is this level of growth happening, that you have to do things differently. You're in different maybe spaces, you still now are self funding the business, right? Because I believe like you said, you just kept flipping that money. Did you see immediate changes to your personal finance? So like as you're growing your business, and that's becoming profitable? How was that impacting like your personal finance journey?

Mignon Francois 23:47

Yeah, so we had nothing, really, we were operating on about $30,000 a year, maybe with a family of eight. So this was consistent money. And because I was in control of it, I was the better money manager anyway. And so this was the first time that I had an opportunity to manage my own destiny. Sometimes I would have to go to the store two or three times a day just to get the ingredients to get through the day. And so I was always managing our funds all the way down to having enough ingredients to go back another time and be able to sell for the next day. And then I always wanted to make sure that my taxes were covered. So I had a different envelope that I would collect people's taxes as really as a business or retailer. You are collecting the taxes of Uncle Sam it is your responsibility to have that when you know you turn in your sales tax so I was constantly keeping all of those things organized and all my skills as a stay at home mom came in into play when it came to running my business. So I hope that other women like me who found themselves in a situation that I was in find that your talents are not being wasted, or the time that you spent in your home is not gone, there's still value in that because you were managing the household of, of the people who, for me managing the household of eight, I was a an HR director, managing human capital and human resources, and running my children back and forth and a personal assistant. I mean, that was I wasn't accounted for the family, I was keeping all of the income of the family and making sure what we had that we could do. My children were in different things. They were acting, I was making sure that their grades were right. I was tutoring like, there's all kinds of things that you can say you are doing as a stay at home mom that can be used in the marketplace.

Jamila Souffrant 25:59

And that's why I think being a stay at home mom, which is why I don't want to be one is one of it's like the hardest job, okay, and doesn't even matter if you just have one child

Mignon Francois 26:08

It's the hardest job. And it's not a thing that anybody is out here thanking you for there's no awards for stay at home moms, you know, you can get an industry award, your children can say thank you, Mom, we love you. You know, it's a thankless job. And at the end of the day, it wasn't, it wasn't what the way I saw my life, but it ended up being a reward for my life. wouldn't take it back for anything. While I know it was not my ministry to be, you know, homeschooling and things like that. By the time my children got to be school age, I just, man, I just applaud people who can do that. That is a hard job to be able to do to keep your children home and to educate them. To me, it's ultimate mothering. I don't have what it takes. But for those who do, I just want to be like you.

Jamila Souffrant 27:08

Sith the business growing as it's growing. So how long ago would you say that happened in terms of the start of the business where you're starting to see progress?

Mignon Francois 27:19

We were in the black from the beginning. So we opened in November of 2008. I had done about five or $6,000 by the end of December. So that was more money than I had seen in a long time. So we the business was growing from the beginning I think it's because we were in our own home. So our overhead was low. And at the time, flour was cheap, butter was cheap, I used to buy butter for 69-79 cents a pound, you now pay upwards of four or $5 a pound for butter. And that same $5 worth of ingredients would not get me here today.

Jamila Souffrant 28:08

When you are starting to make more money, sell more cupcakes, what was the next transition? So I know eventually you now do have a official location, right?

Mignon Francois 28:19

Well, no, it's still in that house.

Jamila Souffrant 28:21

Oh, it is okay.

Mignon Francois 28:23

It's still in that house. So what happened was as the business grew, we had to move out. So even when we had employees, they would just cross over into our house and sleep in the beds, for their breaks. I mean, it was such a family environment, those people just became a part of who we were, as we grew, they just would come into the house and be a part of the family and hang out for dinner sometimes and go run my child to this thing or that thing. It was the beauty of being in our house. And so as the business grew as a family, we had to walk out of the house. So our other locations grew out of that same family house location, and it has become a destination in Nashville. So now people come to the neighborhood to find the cupcake collection and the whole entire neighborhood has sort of been built up around this house. All of the things that were here then are pretty much gone except for the cupcake collection. On my street. There's not really any of the houses that were here it was industrial as well as residential at the same time. And so all this stuff has grown up around the cupcake collection in my house is still standing there as a lighthouse in the community to show other people what they can do if they believe, so my other locations that came still were attached to this flagship which was my home right here in downtown Nashville.

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Jamila Souffrant 30:45

When you start to look back at your journey of like how far you've come, what would you say are your own personal attributes that allows you to persevere, like the trials and tribulations

Mignon Francois 30:59

Oooh. That's really good. I think that the things I went through prepared me to get from where I was to where I want to be, if I didn't know how to persevere, if I didn't know that I could count it all joy, the things that I was going through that those trials were coming to make me stronger, I wouldn't know how to deal with adversity in the marketplace. If I had not known how to live on less, how to budget money, those things, but really more than anything, it was my transparency. I believe it was my transparency, my willingness to learn my willingness to listen, my willingness to try, those were the things that I had that are not just isolated to being in a bakery business, this would be in any business as my customers would come and give me feedback or asked me for things I would say, I don't know how to do that. But I'll try it, let me get back to you. Or if you can pay for the ingredients up front, I can go and make this big thing for you. But I can't do it without you bringing the ingredients to the table or whatever. I think that people buy from people they know, they buy from people who they view as their friends and I had a lot of friends that I was making. People saw me as friendly and a friendly face covers over a lot of challenges that you might have. And so I would say that my personality was a huge asset to growing this business, the people in the neighborhood liked me. And they wanted to see me win. And so they would bring their business here, we had one lady who was allergic to everything that was in the bakery building. But she would come there and buy the product for her whole team and take it to her team which had a building just on the other side of the bakery house. And she would buy it for the entire building, couldn't eat anything in here. As a matter of fact, somebody else would have to pick it up. But she liked us and she wanted to see us win. And so when the people would see my children working in the store, and they knew that they didn't work for money, but just they were working for their family, they would come in, put money in the tip jar, because they knew that my kids got to keep everything in the tip jar. So sometimes they just be walking in the neighborhood and come in the store and drop dollars in the tip jar and say we just want Dylan to be able to go to that basketball game tonight. And they will just drop money in there. Like those were the things that propelled me. And we were always always grateful. And we always let them know that and I think gratitude also took us a really long way.

Jamila Souffrant 33:49

Yeah, you know, this idea of being vulnerable as like a superpower and being transparent, I think is so important and gets lost when you talk about building a business. Because I worked in corporate America. And for the most part, I at least at what I did, you needed to show up polished and know what you did. That went a long way. But you still need to be honest. And if you didn't know something, you didn't know. And that also helped. But I find that in entrepreneurship. You know, there are a lot of people that are experts that present themselves as experts and have that commanding tone and content and people love it because they like being told what to do. And then there are a lot of other people who prefer like the friendly face the person who's figuring it out with them the vulnerability of you know what, I actually don't understand or know all of this yet, but I'm learning it and I'm being honest. And I just think that for anyone who's waiting on perfection or like becoming an expert, obviously you're not going to share things that are harmful to people if you don't know what you're really talking about, but to have some level of credibility but then also be vulnerable is such a key superpower in growing a business and brand that A lot of people don't lean into, which is just a shame because it works.

Mignon Francois 35:06

I would say to that my faith was a factor. It was based on what I believed. It was based on what I not only believed in God, it was based on what I believed I could do. It was based on what I believed that I read in the Bible said was mine to have, it was based on a belief that all these other people around me are successful. So that must mean that I'm supposed to be successful too. And I was willing to try and it's so funny. Just at the beginning of the pandemic, we were hit by a tornado here in Nashville, and our our neighborhood was in the eye of the storm, entire neighborhood was decimated. And the cupcake collection was one of the only houses that was standing. And my neighbor's house was in my backyard. And after her house got rebuilt, and I went over there to say hello and talk to her. She said, goes to show what I know. Because all those years ago, we all just thought you were so crazy for opening this business poor girl doesn't know, nobody's ever gonna come to Germantown for anything and they're definitely not coming to stand in line for it. And I got the last laugh. Because in the end, not only did they come, they came and they stood in line, and they told other people about it. Tours and buses come here every day. They come here every day, just to be a part of what we created here in Germantown. And I think it's a testament to how far your faith can take you. If you only believe there's a Bible verses says, according to your faith, it will be unto you. So what do you believe that you have? Or what do you believe that you can do is what you can actually do. There's another verse that says in Mark 1122, through 23, I'm paraphrasing here it says, You can have whatever you say, you can have whatever you say, if you believe. So I knew that my belief was going to be a big reason why this was going to make it because I believed in the one who told me,

Jamila Souffrant 37:21

you mentioned the pandemic, but how did the pandemic impact your business? And how did you pivot? What did you do to help sustain yourself through that?

Mignon Francois 37:31

That's a good question. Again, I look to the past and for my future, because we were maintaining as a debt free company, we actually grew during the pandemic. So because we were a family that essentially live together, we sent out those people who were afraid or had reason to say I gotta protect my family, and we set them up in our houses, and they began to feel calls from home and deliver cupcakes out. And so because we had been hit by a tornado and the pandemic, we had just gone out and asked for five different people to help us do a pop up shop, because we had lost business for 10 days. And we needed to gain those 10 days back, someone heard my story, what I was asking for who had been helping in North Nashville to send food their way during the 10 days that we didn't have electricity and things like that people didn't have insurance, they didn't know how they were going to make it. And a friend in the business heard that I needed to have a pop up shop and said, you can come and do a pop up shop with me. And you can do it until you get tired. And so it went from a five day ask to a two year partnership. And we stay together in that business with them as their dessert for the next two years. And we increase their bottom line by 166%. And so this little bitty Engine that Could who was looking to be helped by someone else, just to give me a place to put my business ends up helping the business that opened up his hand to help us. And I think that it showed me that collaboration is the new competition that works for you will be for you. And you don't have to worry about who will take that from you. But clip collaboration is key. And that's how we got through the hardest times of the pandemic and essentially our business exploded during that time we just grew.

Jamila Souffrant 39:43

And it's continuing to do well. So I don't know much about the baking or cupcake business but what allows your business to stand out like what are the differentiating factors that you're able to use that you've been around for so long? But yet still while there might be other people who, you know, create the businesses and are doing okay, what allows you to kind of have that market edge?

Mignon Francois 40:06

I think it's actually has to do with what I said earlier that people buy from people that they like, you know, they buy from people who they see as their friends. They know my family, my face is out there. I'm out there encouraging other people to know what they can do if they believe. And I wish that I could say, Oh, it's this pinpointed thing. I think everyone has a measure of something that they can use. For me, it's, I believe it's mostly based in my personality. I think that's been the thing that made us different. I think when we first got started, it was right in at the height of cupcakes showing up on every corner everywhere. And I thought, oh, no, I've been working for two years, like it was a business that was open before my doors ever even open. When another cupcake place opened before me with all of the things in the midst of a commercial area where all the people could drive by and see it. And it was like, immediately hit with, you know, lines and all this stuff. And I started to cry. And my five year old said to me, mommy, there's room for cupcakes, which let me know that if they're on the other side of town, and I'm in this part of town, if I was the only one I couldn't serve all the people that wanted to be served with cupcakes anyway. And just because they're first doesn't mean that will be the best meaning that what they have to offer is not what you do. And the way that you approach it is not the way that they approach it. So just do you the way that you do it and show up to being you the best way you can and it will pay off. And that's been how we did it.

Jamila Souffrant 41:52

Yes, it's sad to know probably how many people don't start something or don't follow through with a dream because they're like, Oh, someone else already just came out with that. Or someone else has a podcast talking about this topic or you know, a blog or business and but you're so right that, you know, you cannot one business within an industry or vertical cannot serve all the customers like there are so many look how many of like fast food burger places, there are? No. And there are people who still go to all of them.

Mignon Francois 42:22

Right across from each other.

Jamila Souffrant 42:25

Right? And they still do very well. I love what you said in the beginning, you are the answer to someone's question or problem. That is so key because there are so many people in the world. And all you need is a few of them to like or support or buy what you do.

Mignon Francois 42:41

Yeah, you don't need all of them. You just need your tribe of them. And you know, for me, this was a choice for life. This was a choice to live my life abundantly. And building this business from scratch was about saying, Okay, what God do I have that I can use to get my family out of debt. This was about speaking what I seek until I see what I've said that I could do this, that I could make something that people will want to experience. It's not for everybody. And that's okay. But I have the tribe of people that are mine that I have served that belong to me that want to even see more of it, which has caused us to even move our business now on to New Orleans. So we have a location in New Orleans where we're from. And we're opening up two locations. Now in Nashville, we were the first desert food truck in our city, only the second does only the second food truck in our city. But the first dessert truck in our city back in 2009. I think that was about nine or 10. And it's just continued to blossom and thrive from there. And what I hope people will know is it's according to what you believe you can have and achieve those things.

Jamila Souffrant 44:10

How have you translated the success of your business into personal wealth insecurity coming from where you started? I'm sure it's a big difference. So what does that look like for you? What does your personal financial wealth story look like today? How are you capturing that wealth? Because I know a lot of business owners, you know, a lot of times it can be very successful the business but they don't always translate it into making sure they're still financially. Okay and secure.

Mignon Francois 44:39

Yeah, I follow the, you know, I'm a very obedient student. I follow the lead. Now the business is run by my children, and I'm getting a chance to go off and tell others about what they can do if they believe and that's how I'm spending my time mostly. But I will say I own the property that We were losing on the day that we opened the cupcake collection. So on the day that we opened this business, we knew that the we were losing our home in the following month. And so now I own that building that the cupcake collection is in. So that's why we've been able to stay there and not we own our we own our stuff. So we've we've not been affected by the inflation, or the uncertainty of the markets and things like that, because we own the things that we're a part of. So that's one way I would say that I've been able to secure my, my future, at the same time to I've got a financial advisor that tells me mignon, we need to be thinking about this or that we need to be, you know, looking towards your retirement plan, and which I never plan to retire. But you know, when maybe when I want to slow down a little bit, and, you know, we created an insurance policy for me. And we learned about things like key man insurance, where, you know, we have an insurance policy on the key individuals in case something should happen, how will the bakery continue to be able to go on. And so being involved in other like programs that were put on by the Entrepreneur Center here have been key for me, as I was educating myself on business. So while I didn't start out in that place, I grew up in that area. So I began to learn about why the business was doing well, how was I going to make it a healthy business, not just something that was flying by the seat of its pants all the time?

Jamila Souffrant 46:43

That makes great sense. You said that your kids are helping within the business by chance to order your oldest daughter, I think you said you're more You said she said she was like I'm out of here like this is not for me, does she now helping the business?

Mignon Francois 46:56

Well, so she helps with training every now and then in the New Orleans location. But my my other daughter, who she was working with is the director of operations here. One of my son's is the CEO of the business, he's being trained to take over my position at the company, this little baby right here that you see, he is our production and facilities manager, he handles all of the ways that the product is produced and how we put that out to the different store. So different ones of my children have different responsibilities. So that one daughter was like listed. This is not for me, she's she was grown to be a stay at home mom herself, and she just enjoys taking care of her daughter. But she also goes around the country, helping feed soldiers and refugees and things like that she works with a team of people. She's a chef on a team. So they've all taken this stuff that they learned in the four walls of our home, out into the world, and they're doing their own thing.

Jamila Souffrant 48:03

And you know, what a gift that you're able to provide like there's generational wealth and security for them. Because there's a business and they see their mom like how she's got you built it. And they can you know, opt in to participate as much as possible. But talk about like a safety net of, there's a place to land should I ever need something or want to change my mind and just how amazing when you start something, you do something for yourself, and for just the survival of your family, that ultimately that becomes their safety net, their launchpad to do something else sort of work within the business, whatever they choose. I just love that.

Mignon Francois 48:40

That was the way we designed it. I didn't even realize how quick that next generation was going to come. Because you know, you're on the grind. You got your head down, this life is just lifing, right? And then all of a sudden, my children are grown and they're graduating from college and they're moving on and they're getting married and having children and my granddaughters work at the cupcake collection. You know, one of them is eight years old. She expertly knows how to scoop cupcakes, she's learning how to decorate cakes. She has her own little YouTube channel where she's like showing people how she's made a cake where her mom, and then the oldest one, she's 11 she's learning how to run the cash register. It's making them better at math. They know how to serve people, they understand inventory, all these things from little bitty kids.

Jamila Souffrant 49:29

I love that. Can you tell us more about what's next for you, the company and then of course where we can find out more about you and where we should visit.

Mignon Francois 49:40

You have what's next for me at the cupcake collection. We're we're expanding our brand. Our goal is to take our brand into other cities. And so we're currently on an expansion plan doing that. We have two new stores coming in Nashville but for Mignon personally, I've just written this book made from scratch, finding success without a recipe. And it is my memoir. It's my story of faith and how you can create what you want to be a part of, regardless of what it looks like, if only you believe I promise God, that if he would make me successful, I will tell anybody who will listen about what they can do if they believe. So I'm working on the course I've just started back doing Mondays on IG live, I do something called moments with Mignon where we just where I'm teaching other people about what they can also do. So a lot of people are afraid because, you know, you just come out of a pandemic, now we're, we have new leadership in our country, and people are talking about a recession, and how am I supposed to survive with the high cost of living and the low the low amount of income, and I'm just talking to them about faith and how we can overcome our fear with our faith. And so I that's one thing that I enjoyed doing, but more than that writing, maybe a masterclass or a course, you know, for other people so that they can take this and run with it and also do the same.

Jamila Souffrant 51:05

Yes, now share your website and then start where you are on social media.

Mignon Francois 51:11

So we ship our cupcakes nationwide, on the cupcake Through our partnership with FedEx, they can also find me on Instagram, that's Mignon dot Francoise mi g n o n dot F r a n C O I S, that's my favorite place to be. But we're on all social. So there's Facebook, and we are cupcake tweets on Twitter.

Jamila Souffrant 51:36

Okay, I will make sure to link all of that in the episode shownotes thank you so much again, Ming Yang for coming on the show.

Mignon Francois 51:44

Thanks for having me.

Outro 51:46

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