Gigi's May Be Poised to Live Up to Her Story
Gina Butler was featured on the cover of Franchise Times in January 2015.
It’s been just over a year since I interviewed Gina Butler, the founder of Gigi’s Cupcakes, and shared her country music-singing, cleaning company-founding, Bible-believing story on the cover of Franchise Times. Not much has really changed since then, but the brand has a chance to break out this year.
On the first day of the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas today, she radiated the same homespun energy. “I didn’t go to an Ivy League university. I do not have elite culinary training. But what I do have? Passion. Passion to be the best brand, the best in customer service and the best bakery. You don’t just eat at Gigi’s Cupcakes. You experience it,” she said.
And then she signed off: “So do I gamble? You bet your ass I do. Every day.”
One other thing hasn’t changed either, since that interview: Gigi’s still sits at about 100 units, the same as more than a year ago, but Chad Fitzhugh, the CFO, told the audience they have put some important elements in place to get the growth going.
The biggest change: they’ve brought in outside capital from investors for the first time, which should help. They’ve also added a much deeper management team. “Quite frankly, two years ago” when they presented at this conference, “we did not have the proper infrastructure and we were undercapitalized,” he said.
Butler herself is now completely focused on being brand ambassador, and she was very excited about her stint on "Undercover Boss" last year. “What I found out, we were consistently inconsistent,” she said. I’ll be watching to see whether the rhetoric turns into reality over the next year. Butler says she is looking to get to 250 stores in the next five years, and that will take more than a well-worn tale.
The Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference continues through Wednesday noon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, featuring more than 30 franchise execs presenting their brand stories to an audience of financiers, lenders and operators.