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Name: Mary Allstead

Business: Mix Cupcake Co., a hand-made cupcake bakery

Industry: Food & Beverage

Location: Reno, Nevada, U.S.

Reason for starting: When I started I knew nothing about baking or running a business but I started this business because I love growing something from nothing to something huge.

How do you define success? I define success as the feeling I get when I know my business is growing. It’s a rush! Success to me isn’t about the money, it’s about what I get to do everyday. Even though I still don’t make a lot of money, when I listen to my friends complain about their jobs, I consider myself very lucky that after 4 1/2 years, I am still excited about going in to the bakery and coming up with new ideas. I love the challenge. Success is being named #26 of the Best 101 Cupcakes in America by the I just love what I do. I love being a business owner and I would never want to go back to a normal job.

Related: Read about another mompreneur going into the food industry here. 

Biggest Success: My biggest success is still seeing my business grow every single month. I get a thrill because it makes me feel like I’m doing all of the right things.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge so far has been managing my cash flow. I’m a single mom and have been since the beginning. My boys and I have sacrificed a lot financially (sometimes going without heat at home during the winter for a few days), but I never considered giving up on the business. I addressed it in two ways. 1. Getting a loan and 2. Learning to manage cash flow. For about 3 years, I honestly didn’t even know what “cash flow” was until I finally took the initiative to start studying up on how I could manage it better. Ever since then, things have been much better.

I was also in a long term relationship when I first started my business. After only 6 months of being in business, we broke up. I had to make the decision whether I was going to continue on as a single mother making very little money, or go back to a regular 9 to 5 job. I decided to stick with the business. And I believe that it has changed me.

Related: Read about another foodie entrepreneur here.

Who is your most important role model? My dad. When I was growing up, my dad owned two flower shops in my town. I started working for him when I was about 9 and continued to work there through college. Now my dad is retired, but just lives a few blocks from my bakery. He regularly stops in with articles he’s cut out from the paper on business topics. He and I meet on a monthly basis to discuss my numbers and where I’m going. He has always supported me and my dreams. Even when I told him I wanted to start a cupcake bakery…knowing that I had never baked from scratch in my life! Even then, he was supportive. He believes in me, he always has. And I know that he knows the ins and outs of being a business owner, having owned two successful shops for 25 years.

Twitter   @mixcupcake

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Edited by The Story Exchange