I first heard about Gigi Butler when I was a music agent at a talent agency located on Nashville’s infamous Music Row. Someone brought her cupcakes to the office one day. A couple of months; maybe it was only weeks later someone else brought some in for a meeting. After that, I began to hear even more people talking about them. I can’t say that I “loved” her cupcakes. I actually prefer a little less icing with mine so that I can better enjoy the cupcake itself. But after several months, I did know that there was a growing “buzz” about her new shop, Gigi’s Cupcakes.
I switched jobs less than a year after she launched her company, and was no longer working at the same location, so as I continued to hear more about these cupcakes in other places, I realized it was no longer just another Music Row bakery shop.
Fast forward seven years to 2015, with several articles read about her company’s growth, and biographical information I’d come across, I was one of many who tuned in to the Undercover Boss TV show she was featured in to see how she would handle her own employees and franchisees’ feedback about the cupcakes, and the company as a whole. I found the episode very interesting, because she actually seemed more surprised by what she learned than many of other company CEOs and executives who I have seen on the show.
So when I learned she would be coming to the university where I teach, I made it a point of inviting myself to join the Business School students who were present during last year’s Entrepreneurship Week. I must say that I expected there would be more students in attendance. It still blows my mind that there are so many free opportunities for students to learn from people who are doing what they say they want to do; who they would never get a private meeting with, and yet so few, proportionately speaking, ever attend. I thought this was just an issue in my department. But that’s another story.
As I sat in that auditorium listening to Gigi tell her story, I was taking mental notes, keying in on things that probably went right past others listening. I wasn’t interested in starting my own cupcake company, but I was interested in hearing about her entrepreneurial journey. And while I had read about much of it online and in various articles, I wanted to hear her tell the story of how as a teenager she started a small business to raise enough money to come to Nashville to pursue a music career. I wanted to hear from her how she built that first company into a success, made the move to Nashville, but struggled to make it in the music industry.
I listened intently about how she struggled financially, not making enough money playing the shows she was able to get (which is not that unusual for those seeking stardom in the music city), but still wanting to continue her pursuit of becoming an artist. And then she said it…
She talked about how she took on other jobs, and then decided to start up her former business again — a cleaning service. Gigi cleaned houses during the day, waited tables at night, and performed when she could.
Why did that interest me so much? Because I’m impressed with people who don’t allow their circumstances to consume them, but rather, will do what they can, what they need to do to keep moving forward. Gigi’s dream was to become a music artist. Her reality was that the years were passing by, and she had monthly bills to pay in order to survive.
She had to adjust her life to her new normal.
Too often we allow pride to get in the way of making the necessary adjustments in our lives when things aren’t going the we planned or things happen that we didn’t expect. Sometimes when our plans get altered, we get so bogged down in what we want to do, that we lose sight of what we need to do.
Of course, the rest of her story is obviously the bigger story that everyone focuses on. While coming to the realization that her original dreams were fading, she gave something else a try; something she had never anticipated being a part of her life, but it was the one thing that brought her the fame that perhaps she was seeking, and certainly more money than she could have imagined. Instead of building a singing career, she went on to build a cupcake empire.
If you’re curious for more information about Gigi Butler and Gigi’s Cupcakes, visit her website at: https://gigiscupcakesusa.com/about/gigis-story/
For now, I leave you with Gigi’s closing comments from that site, because they line up with words I would have shared with you as well.
“If I can convey just one idea to someone reading my story, it would be to believe in yourself, walk with integrity, work hard and trust in God. And maybe your life won’t turn out exactly how you were expecting or hoping it to be; but maybe, just maybe, it will be so much better than you could have ever imagined!
With God, all things are possible!