Ever had an itching, burning desire? One you just couldn’t get out of your head? The idea streaming your mind in endless percussion, until one day, you eventually give in?Katherine and Sophie Kallinis did.
Katherine Kallinis Berman, 34, and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, 35, knew they were passionate about baking since they were children. The duo first discovered their talent growing up in their grandmother’s kitchen, where she allowed them to make cakes out of left over batter.
When the co-founders were old enough to share their dream with their family, they were met with little encouragement, driving the sisters into finance and fashion majors when time came for college.
Jogging through the historic Georgetown neighborhood of D.C. years later, Sophie noticed a storefront that would have been the perfect fit for a bakery. Together, the sisters quit their jobs and took the plunge-but it wasn’t easy. In 2008, America was in the midst of a recession, so they were denied loans from any bank they applied to.
Katherine admits in a recent interview,
“It was the wrong time to start a business. Because we couldn’t get a bank loan, and in the end we were maxing out our life savings at the time, which wasn’t a lot, and maxing out our personal credit cards to get this thing off the ground. Because it was 2008 and the recession had just started and we thought, ‘If we don’t do this now we’re never gonna do it.’”
After the first Georgetown bakery was purchased, the next step was coming up with their company plan. Breaking up their business model into three different focal points, the sisters took into consideration the suggestions of their clients.
Acceding into these suggestions in order to keep their customers happy, Georgetown Cupcakes now allows anyone peek into the creation of these delicious treats; how they are made, where are they made, and what the process of these heaven-sent cupcakes consist of?
The sisters share their own “Cupcake Cam” with their clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online. This authentic strategy led the sisters to their very own television show; DC Cupcakes, which has been running since 2010, only two years after their very first bakery opened up shop.
“Data-Driven Decision Making,” or DDDM, is another essential part of running a successful business. Analyzing, strategizing, comparing numbers, reaching weekly or monthly goals is a must.
When asked how to maximize potential business earnings, Sophie offers a piece of advice,
“You need to analyze the data. We had data showing us where we were shipping our cupcakes across the United States. We saw where the demand was, and we let this information guide our expansion plans.”
The sisters are active on all current forms of social media, including Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and of course their own television show. With new technology created every day, keeping up with the latest inventions can be overwhelming.
Finding what works best for your business should be a primary goal. As we see with Georgetown Cupcakes, technology is what helps a business build a personal relationship with it’s clients. Constantly keeping up with suggestions allowed Georgetown to expand into several stores nationwide, including New York and Los Angeles.
By utilizing these resources, these business owners were able to more than just their businesses, but their careers as well. Katherine and Sophie are now on the New York Times Bestseller list for two of their novels, The Cupcake Diaries and Sweet Celebrations.
Their cupcakes have even been featured on sites like Oprah.com, sharing a few of their recipes with the world. Eventually, Georgetown Cupcakes became so popular, the sisters executed a shipping system, so they were able to sell their cupcakes on a larger scale.
Soon, the cupcakes will be available to order through a mobile app. If we’ve learned anything from Georgetown Cupcakes’ success, it’s that adapting to change, listening to your clients, and constantly looking for new ways to improve will ensure the growth of any potential business.