cupcakes, dirt roads, and mommas
After winning Cupcake Wars, I felt unstoppable. I had this talent- this raw, unbridled passion that I couldn’t contain to myself anymore than I could have contained a wildfire. So I kept baking, and I kept creating. My hard work once again came to fruition when I opened The Cupcake Cowgirls. Some wonder, why cowgirls? What is a cowgirl?
She is full of grit and determination. She is me.
We were a hit. My product spoke for itself because people know when they find the real thing and my cupcakes are certainly that. Their popularity was, like me, unstoppable.
And just like a wildfire doesn’t go unnoticed, the popularity of The Cupcake Cowgirls didn’t either. It took no time at all after my first shop opened before I was approached about franchising. The growing demand for my product was undeniable, and the idea of sharing my passion with an ever-widening spread of people was something that excited me, to say the least. I said yes, plans moved forward, and before I knew it, The Cupcake Cowgirls was a franchise.
It was a disaster.
They say “oil and water don’t mix”, but I know this to be a false statement when it comes to baking. You need both, and it’s ok that they are two different substances because they each work in their own way to make the end result perfect.
I quickly learned that franchising is not like baking. “Oil and water” is the perfect way to explain the relationships that unfolded, and it was not smooth sailing to say the least. I picked the wrong people. Some were vengeful, some weren’t a good fit, and some were just plain cheaters. Worse than all of these things, however, was that the integrity of the cupcakes suffered. I had hired experienced bakers and on paper they had everything they needed to make a product fit for The Cupcake Cowgirls. But they weren’t me.
In the end, I realized that no one would do it like I would. It wasn’t just about being good at baking. It wasn’t just mixing the right ingredients, reading the recipe correctly, or being creative enough. It was about love. A love that was instilled in me as a little girl after it was passed down from my grandmother to my mother, and then to me. Love that shows in each and every cupcake I create. I realized that no one could possibly pour the kind of love that I do into my product. Love makes my cupcakes what they are, and nothing can substitute for that.
So maybe for a while the greatest thing I could have imagined was to have cute cupcake shops all over Texas. Now, maybe not. While that dream was big and exciting, it also sucked all of my time and energy away from more important things.
I lost my wonderful, sweet momma on April 1st, 2015. The loss left me heartbroken, something I still feel daily. I look back and regret the time I spent trying to build a cupcake empire, time that could have been spent with her. She was proud of me, of course, extremely proud. Proud of my talent, proud of my passion, and proud of all the things I was accomplishing- franchises included. But maybe the time I spent with those people would have been better spent with her. After all, she was the one who taught me how to do this amazing thing that other people wanted to share in without fully understanding what it takes.
I miss my mom every minute of every day, and yet I know her legacy has not ended because she is alive and well in the creativity that is in me, the creativity that we once shared. I feel her presence with me every time I create- every time I pour my love into another batch of happiness.
It took a disastrous attempt at franchising my store and my product for me to adjust my priorities. So now I drive the cupcake van down a dirt road every day (and the van sure looks like a cowgirl drives it-pardon all the dust!) This dirt road leads me to amazing things, things no cupcake empire could have ever provided. It leads me to my husband, a man I had always dreamed of and who my momma sure loved. It leads me to happiness. It leads me to love.
I am changed. I am happy with the little things and I focus my time on what matters most: my sweet husband, our amazing children and grandchildren, our lovely dirt road, memories of my sweet momma, and, of course, cupcakes.