We got the opportunity to speak to Mignon Francois, the incredible owner of the delicious Germantown cupcake shop, The Cupcake Collection. We typed up some of our favorite answers, but you can watch the whole interview below. Caution: You will want cupcakes after watching this video.
Tell us about how you originally started and about those first cupcakes you made.
What a lot of people don't know is that it was the last $5 that I had and a decision to make, and that was whether I was going to feed my family that day or take that gamble that was brought to me. I was sitting in the house in the dark because we didn't have electricity on that particular day. We were what I call food insecure—not that we were going to go hungry, but we just didn't know what we would eat on a certain day.
My neighbor came over and said, 'You know that lemon crack you've been making, I want to give it away to all of my clients and so when you make some, I'll pay you.'
But she didn't know that I didn't have any money to go to the store to buy the stuff.
I said ok, and I went to the store and bought everything I could with that $5. By the end of that night, I had $60, and by the end of the week I had $600. We've done that to the tune of over $10 million in the last nine years.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
I just want people to know that it doesn't take credit and it doesn't take knowledge of your industry.
One of my favorite motivational speakers is Eric Thomas and he says that when you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.
What you think will hold you back is a lie on the inside of your head. Entrepreneurship is wanting something so bad that everyday you get up and go for it until you see that thing happen. The things that we're telling ourselves are simply excuses, but if you would test them and know that they're not real, you would be so much more successful.
Dan's Gourmet is all about the sauce. What's your secret sauce?
The icing. We're the icing on the cake. My little baby at the time—she was 10—was making mistakes in the kitchen. That was the basis for what my icing became. Our icing is not matched. We toy with whether or not we should also put that in a container and sell it, but we still want to be a destination.
What's something people don't know about Mignon?
People probably don't know that I couldn't bake before I started The Cupcake Collection. All of the recipes are mine and there's nothing out of the box. That's another testament to the fact that if you have a passion, you can do it.
Where do you want to be in five years?
I would love to see my product on the shelf in the grocery store. I also want five locations. My first franchise which will be in New Orleans is going to be my test dummy to see if it will work, and we're doing it with family.
Hopefully in five years I'm also able to travel a lot more for myself.
What's your favorite food (other than cupcakes?)
I'm the pickiest eater in the whole world! Mushrooms are my favorite food. You could fry them or sauté them, and I could even eat them raw. I love any kind, any variety, with sauce or without.
If you had to eat at one restaurant in Nashville every day for a year, where would it be?
The Garden Brunch Cafe here in Germantown. It's brunch—my favorite meal of the day. She makes a strawberry pancake that is not describable.