Tag : Empire

Inland Empire SBDC #small #business #grant


#small business administration

#

The Inland Empire SBDC is part of the Orange County / Inland Empire SBDC Network and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), California State University Fullerton and University Enterprise Corporation at CSUSB and extended to the public on a non- discriminatory basis. SBA, California State University Fullerton and University Enterprise Corporation at CSUSB cannot endorse any products, opinions or services of any external parties or activities.



Empire Promotional Resources Inc #best #business #to #start


#business promotional items

#

Best Selection – Great Prices – Superb Service EmpirePromos offers the largest selection on the web of the most innovative and cost effective promotional gifts for your meetings and events, product branding, and trade shows. Browse our site to find the perfect promotional product for all your marketing campaign needs or give us a call and one of our expert account reps will assist you. As one of our clients recently said, “You make things so easy and I LOVE that!”
Read More.

EmpirePromos of New York strives to set a new standard of excellence for the promotional product marketplace. Our goal is to be the most complete and user-friendly site on the web and to back it up with the best, US based service for our clients.

You will find our search to be accurate and relevant, our product images to be clear, well-sized and attractive, and our site easy to navigate. Our Special Categories make it easy to find ideas for your projects. Our product selections, from inexpensive trade show items to unique corporate gifts, meet our high standards for quality, originality and cost effectiveness. Empire has an upscale look, but if you compare our prices, youll see that from pens to computer accessories to executive toys, our prices are very competitive.

Our expert account reps are ready to help you select your promotional bags, desk items, golf gifts and more. We can help you make selections from our website or from the vast array of additional items that we can tailor to your specific needs. Try us and youll see why Ordering from Empire Promos is easy .

Client Account Management
It’s evident wherever you look. Companies have cut services so much that you can feel the difference all over. So many websites and phone systems have shifted the work to the do-it-yourself client. We all love IKEA, but for your large discount, you get to be a furniture factory worker. Many of our competitors have you creating your own virtuals and quotes on line. Our prices are very competitive with theirs, but our New York based, experienced account managers, give you a quote and determine all the variables that will affect your total price. Our US art department, right in our office, under the watchful eye of your account rep, will create your virtual.

What else makes EmpirePromos different? Implementation
We are there for you if there’s a problem while your order’s in production or even after it ships. Both our order department and your account rep will stay with it until the best solution is found. Our President, Carol Mayer, and our Vice President, Fran Korman assure that your order(s) will receive the care and attention necessary for a successful implementation.

Experience Counts
At EmpirePromos, our average staff member has been in promotional products or a related business for 15 years. So when we brainstorm about the best products to suggest, the best supplier sources for getting it done or the best solution for a challenge, there’s a lot of experience and brain power pulling for you. Our prices are very competitive, but the real added value is the expertise and dedication you get along with the products.

What’s under the hood?
Yes, the website looks nice, but there are factors that affect the execution of your order that are not evident on the surface. EmpirePromos has a 25+ year track record of prompt payments to suppliers. Your orders are never held up because of payment issues. We have cultivated long, trusting relationships with many major suppliers who will go the extra mile for us and our clients.

Inventory Issues
The past decade has seen the migration of much of America’s manufacturing to China. As a result, the prices of promotional products, have gone down significantly, reflecting the trend in retail prices.

Twenty years ago, most orders took three to four weeks to produce with logos, as the factories had to both manufacture the products and imprint them. Now, the overwhelming majority of product is made in China and shipped to our suppliers in the US. As a result, prices are lower. Also, production times are faster, as all the factory has to do is imprint the logo. They don’t have to manufacture the product. However, there has to be inventory in stock.

At EmpirePromos we feature and recommend products that have a high probability of being in stock. If there’s an unexpected surge in demand for a color or a style, inventory can sell out. Or if, as we all hope, the economy heats up, and sales are higher than anticipated, there can be inventory problems. Under such circumstances, we provide optional product choices.

Additionally, we still have manufacturers of many products that are proudly made in the USA. These suppliers are especially good for large quantity orders that have to be produced in a few weeks and cannot be made overseas due to time constraints. They are able to create products with custom features and colors in smaller quantities and faster lead times than those required for overseas production. And we are particularly pleased when that means more jobs for American workers and less of a carbon footprint due to buying locally instead of shipping container loads of merchandise around the world. Lip balm, sunscreen, sport bottles, bags, pens, sticky notes, magnets, ice scrapers, chip clips, journals and vinyl portfolios and cases are some of the fine promotional products that we can manufacture for you domestically. And please don’t forget that our EmpirePromos team is ready to serve you right from our New York office!



Real Estate Attorney Riverside – Litigation Lawyer #real #estate #attorney, #riverside #real

#

Real Estate

Looking for a Riverside real estate lawyer? Our experienced California real estate lawyers practice real estate law in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County Los Angeles courts.

Owning and developing real estate in the Inland Empire is no simple task. In such a fast growing and developing part of Southern California, the development of real estate surrounds us at every corner of our lives, from our homes, our businesses and our public spaces.

Real estate is anything but an inexpensive part of our economy and our community, and legal conflicts are bound to arise when so much capital is at stake. That’s why Reid Hellyer is committed to cost-efficient and dedicated service for our clients when they occur, and experienced attorneys knowledgeable in the principles of real estate are required.

No one property owner can keep up with the multitude of planning codes and regulations that vary from city to city and county to county. In such a complex legal field filled with permits, exemptions and the intricacies of planning principles, Reid Hellyer is there to help our clients as they make the most out of their property’s potential or protect it from the land use impacts of neighbors close by or far away.

No other law firm is more experienced on real estate litigation in the Inland Empire than Reid Hellyer. The Inland Empire has grown by leaps and bounds over recent generations and Reid Hellyer has called the region home the whole time. We have served the Inland Empire for over 100 years and have played a pivotal role in its growth, giving Reid Hellyer an impeccable knowledge of local real estate laws and regulations.

Our real estate litigation attorney practices include the following areas:

Our clients include buyers, sellers, owners, co-owners, landlords, tenants, escrow companies, brokers, agents, title insurers, banks, mortgage lenders, hard money lenders, contractors, developers, homeowners insurers and more.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your litigation and business law needs.

Riverside / San Bernardino Office
3880 Lemon Street, Fifth Floor
Riverside, CA 92501
Phone: (951) 682-1771 Temecula Office
41955 Fourth Street, Ste. 210
Temecula, CA 92590
Phone: (951) 695-8700 Orange County Office
Mission Viejo Business Center
27281 Las Ramblas, Suite 200
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Phone: (951) 682-1771



One Woman Built A Cupcake Empire With Just $33 #business #lenders


#cupcake business

#

How One Woman Built A Multimillion-Dollar Cupcake Business With Just $33 To Her Name

Gigi Butler was a cleaning lady with just $33 to her name when she opened her first cupcake shop in Nashville, Tennessee, almost seven years ago.

“People thought I was crazy, and they laughed at the idea,” she told Business Insider. “But I just had this feeling that I had to do it.”

After securing a location, whipping up a few recipes, and hiring two employees off the street, Butler opened the doors of Gigi’s Cupcakes on February 21, 2008.

“I had no investors and literally not a cent to spend on advertising,” she says. “So I just hoped and prayed people would come.”

Today there are 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes locations in 23 states, and this year she expects $35 million in annual sales across all stores. I t’s safe to say Butler’s bank account balance is no longer in the double-digits.

“I’m so happy with how things have turned out, but I never thought my success would stem from cupcakes,” she tells us. “I always thought it would be music.”

Butler was born in Oklahoma and grew up on a farm in a small desert town in California, about an hour outside of Los Angeles. Since age 7, she dreamed of becoming a country singer. “Nothing else was even an option. I was going to be a country star, end of story,” she says.

But at 15 she needed a job, and she really wasn’t interested in working for anyone else. “I decided to buy some mops and buckets, and I went from door to door, ringing doorbells, offering to clean people’s homes.”

That’s how Gigi’s Cleaning Company was born.

She cleaned homes, offices, and construction sites (and sang in a band on the side) in California for five years before deciding she was ready to take the next step in her music career.

So, in 1994, she dropped out of college and moved to Nashville with $500, no job, no friends, and no place to live.

“When I got there, I continued cleaning. So I’d do that all day, then come home and nap, then I’d go sing at bars at night until 3 a.m. – and do it all over again the next day,” she says. “But when I turned 31, I got tired of getting my butt pinched and passing the tip jar around. I felt like I was failing since my dream was to sing. But I knew it just wasn’t working anymore.”

After giving up her dream of becoming a country star in 2005, Butler focused on building her cleaning business in Nashville.

“I was making pretty good money and learning how to be a boss, manage a team, and run a business, all without having to be in the corporate world, which was great since I never really wanted to sit in front of a computer screen in high heels, pantyhose, and a skirt,” she says.

Though content, Butler said she knew she wasn’t being challenged enough, “and something was still missing.”

In 2007, while cleaning a bathroom in a client’s home, Butler got a call from her brother.

“He was in New York for Labor Day Weekend and said, ‘You won’t believe this, but people are waiting in line for hours for cupcakes. And they’re not even as good as yours.”

Butler grew up surrounded by bakers. Her aunts, grandmothers, and mother were all talented in the kitchen – and she “inherited the gene.”

“It’s in my blood, but I never thought about pursuing it as a career or a business.”

She hung up the phone and looked at herself in the mirror and thought, I’m not afraid to fail, so I’m going to do this. I am going to open a cupcake shop.

A month later she was in Texas visiting her great aunt Bennie who owned a bakery. “I had no idea what I was doing, so I went there to learn.”

When she got back to Tennessee, she went to the bank to ask for a loan. “I had great credit and no debt, but they literally laughed in my face and said, ‘Seriously? A cupcake shop?'”

So, instead, she took $100,000 in cash advance loans from her credit cards.

After finding a location for the store – which she refers to as “the sweet spot,” since it’s near three universities, six hospitals, and right off Music Row – Butler’s parents came out to help her launch her new business. “My mom helped me develop recipes, and my dad did the store design. They also gave me some money, which I really needed.”

Before opening the shop, Butler used up all of the $100,000 in loans, plus the money her parents gifted her, and all of her savings – and she still had $6,500 in bills to pay ($4,500 in rent; $1,000 for ingredients; and $1,000 for her first two employees). She had just $33 in her bank account.

“I literally cleaned three houses the day before we opened the store to pay the plumber,” she says. “And then that same day, my contractor came in with a $15,000 dry wall bill he ‘forgot’ to give me. I literally fell to the floor and had a melt down.”

Butler had exactly one week to pay the $6,500 to her landlord, food supplier, and two employees – and told the contractor she’d need some time to pay off his bill.

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she tells Business Insider. “I remember looking up, saying, ‘Please, just let the people come. Make them like my cupcakes. They have to like my cupcakes.'”

They didn’t like them; they loved them, she says.

Butler recalls an encounter with one customer that first week. “I was walking around greeting people, and one woman said, ‘I’m going to order a Scarlett’s Red Velvet flavor cupcake.’ So I told her we didn’t have that particular flavor that day, and she started screaming at me, ‘I’ve been waiting in line for that cupcake! You’re telling me you don’t have it. Are you some kind of idiot ?’ And you’d think I’d be offended, but I walked away and thought to myself, ‘Oh my god, people are yelling over my cupcakes because they want them! Cha-ching!'”

By March 1, 2008, a week after opening, Butler was able to pay off the $6,500 in bills. “And I still had $300 left,” she says proudly.

A few months later, Butler’s landlord, Alan Thompson, suggested she franchise her concept. “I said, ‘What’s franchising?'”

So together with Thompson, her parents, and her brother Randall, who was eventually appointed as chief operating officer of the company, Butler began franchising the Gigi’s Cupcakes brand in November 2008.

“I thought I’d open one shop and make $50,000 a year, and that’s it,” she says. “In fact, I didn’t even stop cleaning until I had 15 franchises.”

Today, 90 of the 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes stores are owned by franchisees.

She believes her brand has had so much success because the products – cupcakes, cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, and other baked goods – are “delicious and unique. Each flavor has a story,” she explains.

The other reason: “I was never afraid to fail, so I gave it my all.”

Butler, a single mom to her 3-year-old daughter, says her biggest challenge has been accepting the fact that she “no longer wears all the hats.”

“At the beginning, I did a little bit of everything. I’d be whipping up a batch of frosting, then have to run to a meeting, and then do paperwork. Now we have a great team to do all of those jobs, and my role is to be the face of the brand. But I still want to be everywhere, all at once, making sure everything is perfect, because this business is my baby – it has my name on it.”

Butler says she plans to grow the business to 250 stores by 2019.

“But no matter how big we get, I’ll always make time to put on my apron and whip up a batch of frosting, because that’s what I love to do.”

SEE ALSO: Here’s Why One CEO Asks New Hires To Sing Their Favorite Song In Front Of The Entire Office



One Woman Built A Cupcake Empire With Just $33 #best #online #business

#cupcake business

#

How One Woman Built A Multimillion-Dollar Cupcake Business With Just $33 To Her Name

Gigi Butler was a cleaning lady with just $33 to her name when she opened her first cupcake shop in Nashville, Tennessee, almost seven years ago.

“People thought I was crazy, and they laughed at the idea,” she told Business Insider. “But I just had this feeling that I had to do it.”

After securing a location, whipping up a few recipes, and hiring two employees off the street, Butler opened the doors of Gigi’s Cupcakes on February 21, 2008.

“I had no investors and literally not a cent to spend on advertising,” she says. “So I just hoped and prayed people would come.”

Today there are 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes locations in 23 states, and this year she expects $35 million in annual sales across all stores. I t’s safe to say Butler’s bank account balance is no longer in the double-digits.

“I’m so happy with how things have turned out, but I never thought my success would stem from cupcakes,” she tells us. “I always thought it would be music.”

Butler was born in Oklahoma and grew up on a farm in a small desert town in California, about an hour outside of Los Angeles. Since age 7, she dreamed of becoming a country singer. “Nothing else was even an option. I was going to be a country star, end of story,” she says.

But at 15 she needed a job, and she really wasn’t interested in working for anyone else. “I decided to buy some mops and buckets, and I went from door to door, ringing doorbells, offering to clean people’s homes.”

That’s how Gigi’s Cleaning Company was born.

She cleaned homes, offices, and construction sites (and sang in a band on the side) in California for five years before deciding she was ready to take the next step in her music career.

So, in 1994, she dropped out of college and moved to Nashville with $500, no job, no friends, and no place to live.

“When I got there, I continued cleaning. So I’d do that all day, then come home and nap, then I’d go sing at bars at night until 3 a.m. – and do it all over again the next day,” she says. “But when I turned 31, I got tired of getting my butt pinched and passing the tip jar around. I felt like I was failing since my dream was to sing. But I knew it just wasn’t working anymore.”

After giving up her dream of becoming a country star in 2005, Butler focused on building her cleaning business in Nashville.

“I was making pretty good money and learning how to be a boss, manage a team, and run a business, all without having to be in the corporate world, which was great since I never really wanted to sit in front of a computer screen in high heels, pantyhose, and a skirt,” she says.

Though content, Butler said she knew she wasn’t being challenged enough, “and something was still missing.”

In 2007, while cleaning a bathroom in a client’s home, Butler got a call from her brother.

“He was in New York for Labor Day Weekend and said, ‘You won’t believe this, but people are waiting in line for hours for cupcakes. And they’re not even as good as yours.”

Butler grew up surrounded by bakers. Her aunts, grandmothers, and mother were all talented in the kitchen – and she “inherited the gene.”

“It’s in my blood, but I never thought about pursuing it as a career or a business.”

She hung up the phone and looked at herself in the mirror and thought, I’m not afraid to fail, so I’m going to do this. I am going to open a cupcake shop.

A month later she was in Texas visiting her great aunt Bennie who owned a bakery. “I had no idea what I was doing, so I went there to learn.”

When she got back to Tennessee, she went to the bank to ask for a loan. “I had great credit and no debt, but they literally laughed in my face and said, ‘Seriously? A cupcake shop?'”

So, instead, she took $100,000 in cash advance loans from her credit cards.

After finding a location for the store – which she refers to as “the sweet spot,” since it’s near three universities, six hospitals, and right off Music Row – Butler’s parents came out to help her launch her new business. “My mom helped me develop recipes, and my dad did the store design. They also gave me some money, which I really needed.”

Before opening the shop, Butler used up all of the $100,000 in loans, plus the money her parents gifted her, and all of her savings – and she still had $6,500 in bills to pay ($4,500 in rent; $1,000 for ingredients; and $1,000 for her first two employees). She had just $33 in her bank account.

“I literally cleaned three houses the day before we opened the store to pay the plumber,” she says. “And then that same day, my contractor came in with a $15,000 dry wall bill he ‘forgot’ to give me. I literally fell to the floor and had a melt down.”

Butler had exactly one week to pay the $6,500 to her landlord, food supplier, and two employees – and told the contractor she’d need some time to pay off his bill.

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she tells Business Insider. “I remember looking up, saying, ‘Please, just let the people come. Make them like my cupcakes. They have to like my cupcakes.'”

They didn’t like them; they loved them, she says.

Butler recalls an encounter with one customer that first week. “I was walking around greeting people, and one woman said, ‘I’m going to order a Scarlett’s Red Velvet flavor cupcake.’ So I told her we didn’t have that particular flavor that day, and she started screaming at me, ‘I’ve been waiting in line for that cupcake! You’re telling me you don’t have it. Are you some kind of idiot ?’ And you’d think I’d be offended, but I walked away and thought to myself, ‘Oh my god, people are yelling over my cupcakes because they want them! Cha-ching!'”

By March 1, 2008, a week after opening, Butler was able to pay off the $6,500 in bills. “And I still had $300 left,” she says proudly.

A few months later, Butler’s landlord, Alan Thompson, suggested she franchise her concept. “I said, ‘What’s franchising?'”

So together with Thompson, her parents, and her brother Randall, who was eventually appointed as chief operating officer of the company, Butler began franchising the Gigi’s Cupcakes brand in November 2008.

“I thought I’d open one shop and make $50,000 a year, and that’s it,” she says. “In fact, I didn’t even stop cleaning until I had 15 franchises.”

Today, 90 of the 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes stores are owned by franchisees.

She believes her brand has had so much success because the products – cupcakes, cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, and other baked goods – are “delicious and unique. Each flavor has a story,” she explains.

The other reason: “I was never afraid to fail, so I gave it my all.”

Butler, a single mom to her 3-year-old daughter, says her biggest challenge has been accepting the fact that she “no longer wears all the hats.”

“At the beginning, I did a little bit of everything. I’d be whipping up a batch of frosting, then have to run to a meeting, and then do paperwork. Now we have a great team to do all of those jobs, and my role is to be the face of the brand. But I still want to be everywhere, all at once, making sure everything is perfect, because this business is my baby – it has my name on it.”

Butler says she plans to grow the business to 250 stores by 2019.

“But no matter how big we get, I’ll always make time to put on my apron and whip up a batch of frosting, because that’s what I love to do.”

SEE ALSO: Here’s Why One CEO Asks New Hires To Sing Their Favorite Song In Front Of The Entire Office



Inland Empire SBDC #business #advertising


#small business administration

#

The Inland Empire SBDC is part of the Orange County / Inland Empire SBDC Network and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), California State University Fullerton and University Enterprise Corporation at CSUSB and extended to the public on a non- discriminatory basis. SBA, California State University Fullerton and University Enterprise Corporation at CSUSB cannot endorse any products, opinions or services of any external parties or activities.



One Woman Built A Cupcake Empire With Just $33 #small #business #loan


#cupcake business

#

How One Woman Built A Multimillion-Dollar Cupcake Business With Just $33 To Her Name

Gigi Butler was a cleaning lady with just $33 to her name when she opened her first cupcake shop in Nashville, Tennessee, almost seven years ago.

“People thought I was crazy, and they laughed at the idea,” she told Business Insider. “But I just had this feeling that I had to do it.”

After securing a location, whipping up a few recipes, and hiring two employees off the street, Butler opened the doors of Gigi’s Cupcakes on February 21, 2008.

“I had no investors and literally not a cent to spend on advertising,” she says. “So I just hoped and prayed people would come.”

Today there are 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes locations in 23 states, and this year she expects $35 million in annual sales across all stores. I t’s safe to say Butler’s bank account balance is no longer in the double-digits.

“I’m so happy with how things have turned out, but I never thought my success would stem from cupcakes,” she tells us. “I always thought it would be music.”

Butler was born in Oklahoma and grew up on a farm in a small desert town in California, about an hour outside of Los Angeles. Since age 7, she dreamed of becoming a country singer. “Nothing else was even an option. I was going to be a country star, end of story,” she says.

But at 15 she needed a job, and she really wasn’t interested in working for anyone else. “I decided to buy some mops and buckets, and I went from door to door, ringing doorbells, offering to clean people’s homes.”

That’s how Gigi’s Cleaning Company was born.

She cleaned homes, offices, and construction sites (and sang in a band on the side) in California for five years before deciding she was ready to take the next step in her music career.

So, in 1994, she dropped out of college and moved to Nashville with $500, no job, no friends, and no place to live.

“When I got there, I continued cleaning. So I’d do that all day, then come home and nap, then I’d go sing at bars at night until 3 a.m. – and do it all over again the next day,” she says. “But when I turned 31, I got tired of getting my butt pinched and passing the tip jar around. I felt like I was failing since my dream was to sing. But I knew it just wasn’t working anymore.”

After giving up her dream of becoming a country star in 2005, Butler focused on building her cleaning business in Nashville.

“I was making pretty good money and learning how to be a boss, manage a team, and run a business, all without having to be in the corporate world, which was great since I never really wanted to sit in front of a computer screen in high heels, pantyhose, and a skirt,” she says.

Though content, Butler said she knew she wasn’t being challenged enough, “and something was still missing.”

In 2007, while cleaning a bathroom in a client’s home, Butler got a call from her brother.

“He was in New York for Labor Day Weekend and said, ‘You won’t believe this, but people are waiting in line for hours for cupcakes. And they’re not even as good as yours.”

Butler grew up surrounded by bakers. Her aunts, grandmothers, and mother were all talented in the kitchen – and she “inherited the gene.”

“It’s in my blood, but I never thought about pursuing it as a career or a business.”

She hung up the phone and looked at herself in the mirror and thought, I’m not afraid to fail, so I’m going to do this. I am going to open a cupcake shop.

A month later she was in Texas visiting her great aunt Bennie who owned a bakery. “I had no idea what I was doing, so I went there to learn.”

When she got back to Tennessee, she went to the bank to ask for a loan. “I had great credit and no debt, but they literally laughed in my face and said, ‘Seriously? A cupcake shop?'”

So, instead, she took $100,000 in cash advance loans from her credit cards.

After finding a location for the store – which she refers to as “the sweet spot,” since it’s near three universities, six hospitals, and right off Music Row – Butler’s parents came out to help her launch her new business. “My mom helped me develop recipes, and my dad did the store design. They also gave me some money, which I really needed.”

Before opening the shop, Butler used up all of the $100,000 in loans, plus the money her parents gifted her, and all of her savings – and she still had $6,500 in bills to pay ($4,500 in rent; $1,000 for ingredients; and $1,000 for her first two employees). She had just $33 in her bank account.

“I literally cleaned three houses the day before we opened the store to pay the plumber,” she says. “And then that same day, my contractor came in with a $15,000 dry wall bill he ‘forgot’ to give me. I literally fell to the floor and had a melt down.”

Butler had exactly one week to pay the $6,500 to her landlord, food supplier, and two employees – and told the contractor she’d need some time to pay off his bill.

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she tells Business Insider. “I remember looking up, saying, ‘Please, just let the people come. Make them like my cupcakes. They have to like my cupcakes.'”

They didn’t like them; they loved them, she says.

Butler recalls an encounter with one customer that first week. “I was walking around greeting people, and one woman said, ‘I’m going to order a Scarlett’s Red Velvet flavor cupcake.’ So I told her we didn’t have that particular flavor that day, and she started screaming at me, ‘I’ve been waiting in line for that cupcake! You’re telling me you don’t have it. Are you some kind of idiot ?’ And you’d think I’d be offended, but I walked away and thought to myself, ‘Oh my god, people are yelling over my cupcakes because they want them! Cha-ching!'”

By March 1, 2008, a week after opening, Butler was able to pay off the $6,500 in bills. “And I still had $300 left,” she says proudly.

A few months later, Butler’s landlord, Alan Thompson, suggested she franchise her concept. “I said, ‘What’s franchising?'”

So together with Thompson, her parents, and her brother Randall, who was eventually appointed as chief operating officer of the company, Butler began franchising the Gigi’s Cupcakes brand in November 2008.

“I thought I’d open one shop and make $50,000 a year, and that’s it,” she says. “In fact, I didn’t even stop cleaning until I had 15 franchises.”

Today, 90 of the 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes stores are owned by franchisees.

She believes her brand has had so much success because the products – cupcakes, cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, and other baked goods – are “delicious and unique. Each flavor has a story,” she explains.

The other reason: “I was never afraid to fail, so I gave it my all.”

Butler, a single mom to her 3-year-old daughter, says her biggest challenge has been accepting the fact that she “no longer wears all the hats.”

“At the beginning, I did a little bit of everything. I’d be whipping up a batch of frosting, then have to run to a meeting, and then do paperwork. Now we have a great team to do all of those jobs, and my role is to be the face of the brand. But I still want to be everywhere, all at once, making sure everything is perfect, because this business is my baby – it has my name on it.”

Butler says she plans to grow the business to 250 stores by 2019.

“But no matter how big we get, I’ll always make time to put on my apron and whip up a batch of frosting, because that’s what I love to do.”

SEE ALSO: Here’s Why One CEO Asks New Hires To Sing Their Favorite Song In Front Of The Entire Office



Empire Promotional Resources Inc #women #in #business


#business promotional items

#

Best Selection – Great Prices – Superb Service EmpirePromos offers the largest selection on the web of the most innovative and cost effective promotional gifts for your meetings and events, product branding, and trade shows. Browse our site to find the perfect promotional product for all your marketing campaign needs or give us a call and one of our expert account reps will assist you. As one of our clients recently said, “You make things so easy and I LOVE that!”
Read More.

EmpirePromos of New York strives to set a new standard of excellence for the promotional product marketplace. Our goal is to be the most complete and user-friendly site on the web and to back it up with the best, US based service for our clients.

You will find our search to be accurate and relevant, our product images to be clear, well-sized and attractive, and our site easy to navigate. Our Special Categories make it easy to find ideas for your projects. Our product selections, from inexpensive trade show items to unique corporate gifts, meet our high standards for quality, originality and cost effectiveness. Empire has an upscale look, but if you compare our prices, youll see that from pens to computer accessories to executive toys, our prices are very competitive.

Our expert account reps are ready to help you select your promotional bags, desk items, golf gifts and more. We can help you make selections from our website or from the vast array of additional items that we can tailor to your specific needs. Try us and youll see why Ordering from Empire Promos is easy .

Client Account Management
It’s evident wherever you look. Companies have cut services so much that you can feel the difference all over. So many websites and phone systems have shifted the work to the do-it-yourself client. We all love IKEA, but for your large discount, you get to be a furniture factory worker. Many of our competitors have you creating your own virtuals and quotes on line. Our prices are very competitive with theirs, but our New York based, experienced account managers, give you a quote and determine all the variables that will affect your total price. Our US art department, right in our office, under the watchful eye of your account rep, will create your virtual.

What else makes EmpirePromos different? Implementation
We are there for you if there’s a problem while your order’s in production or even after it ships. Both our order department and your account rep will stay with it until the best solution is found. Our President, Carol Mayer, and our Vice President, Fran Korman assure that your order(s) will receive the care and attention necessary for a successful implementation.

Experience Counts
At EmpirePromos, our average staff member has been in promotional products or a related business for 15 years. So when we brainstorm about the best products to suggest, the best supplier sources for getting it done or the best solution for a challenge, there’s a lot of experience and brain power pulling for you. Our prices are very competitive, but the real added value is the expertise and dedication you get along with the products.

What’s under the hood?
Yes, the website looks nice, but there are factors that affect the execution of your order that are not evident on the surface. EmpirePromos has a 25+ year track record of prompt payments to suppliers. Your orders are never held up because of payment issues. We have cultivated long, trusting relationships with many major suppliers who will go the extra mile for us and our clients.

Inventory Issues
The past decade has seen the migration of much of America’s manufacturing to China. As a result, the prices of promotional products, have gone down significantly, reflecting the trend in retail prices.

Twenty years ago, most orders took three to four weeks to produce with logos, as the factories had to both manufacture the products and imprint them. Now, the overwhelming majority of product is made in China and shipped to our suppliers in the US. As a result, prices are lower. Also, production times are faster, as all the factory has to do is imprint the logo. They don’t have to manufacture the product. However, there has to be inventory in stock.

At EmpirePromos we feature and recommend products that have a high probability of being in stock. If there’s an unexpected surge in demand for a color or a style, inventory can sell out. Or if, as we all hope, the economy heats up, and sales are higher than anticipated, there can be inventory problems. Under such circumstances, we provide optional product choices.

Additionally, we still have manufacturers of many products that are proudly made in the USA. These suppliers are especially good for large quantity orders that have to be produced in a few weeks and cannot be made overseas due to time constraints. They are able to create products with custom features and colors in smaller quantities and faster lead times than those required for overseas production. And we are particularly pleased when that means more jobs for American workers and less of a carbon footprint due to buying locally instead of shipping container loads of merchandise around the world. Lip balm, sunscreen, sport bottles, bags, pens, sticky notes, magnets, ice scrapers, chip clips, journals and vinyl portfolios and cases are some of the fine promotional products that we can manufacture for you domestically. And please don’t forget that our EmpirePromos team is ready to serve you right from our New York office!



One Woman Built A Cupcake Empire With Just $33 #business #promotional #items


#cupcake business

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How One Woman Built A Multimillion-Dollar Cupcake Business With Just $33 To Her Name

Gigi Butler was a cleaning lady with just $33 to her name when she opened her first cupcake shop in Nashville, Tennessee, almost seven years ago.

“People thought I was crazy, and they laughed at the idea,” she told Business Insider. “But I just had this feeling that I had to do it.”

After securing a location, whipping up a few recipes, and hiring two employees off the street, Butler opened the doors of Gigi’s Cupcakes on February 21, 2008.

“I had no investors and literally not a cent to spend on advertising,” she says. “So I just hoped and prayed people would come.”

Today there are 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes locations in 23 states, and this year she expects $35 million in annual sales across all stores. I t’s safe to say Butler’s bank account balance is no longer in the double-digits.

“I’m so happy with how things have turned out, but I never thought my success would stem from cupcakes,” she tells us. “I always thought it would be music.”

Butler was born in Oklahoma and grew up on a farm in a small desert town in California, about an hour outside of Los Angeles. Since age 7, she dreamed of becoming a country singer. “Nothing else was even an option. I was going to be a country star, end of story,” she says.

But at 15 she needed a job, and she really wasn’t interested in working for anyone else. “I decided to buy some mops and buckets, and I went from door to door, ringing doorbells, offering to clean people’s homes.”

That’s how Gigi’s Cleaning Company was born.

She cleaned homes, offices, and construction sites (and sang in a band on the side) in California for five years before deciding she was ready to take the next step in her music career.

So, in 1994, she dropped out of college and moved to Nashville with $500, no job, no friends, and no place to live.

“When I got there, I continued cleaning. So I’d do that all day, then come home and nap, then I’d go sing at bars at night until 3 a.m. – and do it all over again the next day,” she says. “But when I turned 31, I got tired of getting my butt pinched and passing the tip jar around. I felt like I was failing since my dream was to sing. But I knew it just wasn’t working anymore.”

After giving up her dream of becoming a country star in 2005, Butler focused on building her cleaning business in Nashville.

“I was making pretty good money and learning how to be a boss, manage a team, and run a business, all without having to be in the corporate world, which was great since I never really wanted to sit in front of a computer screen in high heels, pantyhose, and a skirt,” she says.

Though content, Butler said she knew she wasn’t being challenged enough, “and something was still missing.”

In 2007, while cleaning a bathroom in a client’s home, Butler got a call from her brother.

“He was in New York for Labor Day Weekend and said, ‘You won’t believe this, but people are waiting in line for hours for cupcakes. And they’re not even as good as yours.”

Butler grew up surrounded by bakers. Her aunts, grandmothers, and mother were all talented in the kitchen – and she “inherited the gene.”

“It’s in my blood, but I never thought about pursuing it as a career or a business.”

She hung up the phone and looked at herself in the mirror and thought, I’m not afraid to fail, so I’m going to do this. I am going to open a cupcake shop.

A month later she was in Texas visiting her great aunt Bennie who owned a bakery. “I had no idea what I was doing, so I went there to learn.”

When she got back to Tennessee, she went to the bank to ask for a loan. “I had great credit and no debt, but they literally laughed in my face and said, ‘Seriously? A cupcake shop?'”

So, instead, she took $100,000 in cash advance loans from her credit cards.

After finding a location for the store – which she refers to as “the sweet spot,” since it’s near three universities, six hospitals, and right off Music Row – Butler’s parents came out to help her launch her new business. “My mom helped me develop recipes, and my dad did the store design. They also gave me some money, which I really needed.”

Before opening the shop, Butler used up all of the $100,000 in loans, plus the money her parents gifted her, and all of her savings – and she still had $6,500 in bills to pay ($4,500 in rent; $1,000 for ingredients; and $1,000 for her first two employees). She had just $33 in her bank account.

“I literally cleaned three houses the day before we opened the store to pay the plumber,” she says. “And then that same day, my contractor came in with a $15,000 dry wall bill he ‘forgot’ to give me. I literally fell to the floor and had a melt down.”

Butler had exactly one week to pay the $6,500 to her landlord, food supplier, and two employees – and told the contractor she’d need some time to pay off his bill.

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she tells Business Insider. “I remember looking up, saying, ‘Please, just let the people come. Make them like my cupcakes. They have to like my cupcakes.'”

They didn’t like them; they loved them, she says.

Butler recalls an encounter with one customer that first week. “I was walking around greeting people, and one woman said, ‘I’m going to order a Scarlett’s Red Velvet flavor cupcake.’ So I told her we didn’t have that particular flavor that day, and she started screaming at me, ‘I’ve been waiting in line for that cupcake! You’re telling me you don’t have it. Are you some kind of idiot ?’ And you’d think I’d be offended, but I walked away and thought to myself, ‘Oh my god, people are yelling over my cupcakes because they want them! Cha-ching!'”

By March 1, 2008, a week after opening, Butler was able to pay off the $6,500 in bills. “And I still had $300 left,” she says proudly.

A few months later, Butler’s landlord, Alan Thompson, suggested she franchise her concept. “I said, ‘What’s franchising?'”

So together with Thompson, her parents, and her brother Randall, who was eventually appointed as chief operating officer of the company, Butler began franchising the Gigi’s Cupcakes brand in November 2008.

“I thought I’d open one shop and make $50,000 a year, and that’s it,” she says. “In fact, I didn’t even stop cleaning until I had 15 franchises.”

Today, 90 of the 92 Gigi’s Cupcakes stores are owned by franchisees.

She believes her brand has had so much success because the products – cupcakes, cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, and other baked goods – are “delicious and unique. Each flavor has a story,” she explains.

The other reason: “I was never afraid to fail, so I gave it my all.”

Butler, a single mom to her 3-year-old daughter, says her biggest challenge has been accepting the fact that she “no longer wears all the hats.”

“At the beginning, I did a little bit of everything. I’d be whipping up a batch of frosting, then have to run to a meeting, and then do paperwork. Now we have a great team to do all of those jobs, and my role is to be the face of the brand. But I still want to be everywhere, all at once, making sure everything is perfect, because this business is my baby – it has my name on it.”

Butler says she plans to grow the business to 250 stores by 2019.

“But no matter how big we get, I’ll always make time to put on my apron and whip up a batch of frosting, because that’s what I love to do.”

SEE ALSO: Here’s Why One CEO Asks New Hires To Sing Their Favorite Song In Front Of The Entire Office



Inland Empire SBDC #business #simulation #games


#small business administration

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The Inland Empire SBDC is part of the Orange County / Inland Empire SBDC Network and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), California State University Fullerton and University Enterprise Corporation at CSUSB and extended to the public on a non- discriminatory basis. SBA, California State University Fullerton and University Enterprise Corporation at CSUSB cannot endorse any products, opinions or services of any external parties or activities.