13 Oct Cupcake Collection Serving New Orleans-Inspired Treats at Roux Carré
Mignon Francois remembers how she decided to start The Cupcake Collection in her Nashville, Tennessee, home nearly 10 years ago. Now, her business is thriving, and NOLABA helped her launch a popup shop at Roux Carré food incubator. But that’s not all – the New Orleans girl from the core would love a permanent location here next year.
“NOLABA is very helpful in finding me a place where I can connect with the locals as well as just help continue that story about what makes New Orleans taste so great,” Francois said. “Our whole flavor lineup speaks to our heritage. I want to be in parts of the city that say we’re glad you came here and we need you to be part of this conversation.”
Francois wasn’t at all familiar with baking when she opened her business in November 2008. Instead, she leaned on her daughters and her own science education from Xavier University, just trying to stay afloat financially.
“When I started my business, I couldn’t bake, not even out of a box, but something inside me let me know I had what it takes to do this, and now all the recipes are mine,” she said. “A light bulb went off for me, that this is nothing but a scientific reaction. From that day forward, I could bake anything. I tell people all the time that I’m not a baker, I’m a scientist, and I learned how to be one at Xavier University.”
Her first customers were her neighbors in Nashville. When they would move in, she recalled, she’d walk over to introduce herself and bring them cupcakes to enjoy. One night she sat in the back of her house with no electricity, realizing she had a mere $5 left for her family that week, when a neighbor knocked at her door.
“She had 600 clients she wanted to give cupcakes to for the holidays,” Francois said. “So I took that $5 and that night I turned it into $60, and by the end of that week I turned that $60 into $600. Now I’ve been flipping that same $600 for 10 years. I have operated this business debt-free. Now I want to be legacy-building in New Orleans.”
Francois’ business savvy has earned her the titles of “Woman of Legend and Merit” by Tennessee State University, “Emerging Business Leader of the Year,” and Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Family Business of the Year Award.”
Francois’ sisters will help run the New Orleans location, baking fresh and flavorful cupcakes every day, including the award-winning sweet potato cupcake.
“I want people’s days to be sprinkled with joy, and if nothing else makes you happy today, then you can count on the Cupcake Collection to be that,” Francois said. “I want you to be able to come and get a dose of happiness, a dose of camaraderie and a smile, and a place to feel like ‘this is mine, and this is good.’”
Lynnette White-Colin, NOLABA Vice President of Small Business Development, said stories like Francois and The Cupcake Collection illustrate the power of New Orleans’ small business ecosystem.
“The Cupcake Collection is a great example of the small business ecosystem at work,” she said. “Mignon Francois sought assistance with financial projections from the Women’s Business Resource Center at the Urban League of Louisiana, who referred her to NOLABA for help with site selection. After reviewing several recommended listings that included the Roux Carré, we referred her to Good Work Network, the organization that operates the Roux Carré food incubator.”