From Our Editors
Gigi of Gigi's Cupcakes has been a self-starter since she was 15. That's when she began her first business—a cleaning company—because she "didn't want to work for anyone else." What began as a youthful whim blossomed into a business philosophy that, along with waiting tables and singing professionally, carried Gigi into her 30s.
Then, one day, her brother suggested making a career out of her passion for baking. That hobby had been born in her childhood, when Gigi often spent time with her mother and grandmother as they baked and bonded. Amid seemingly insurmountable financial constraints, Gigi unveiled Gigi's Cupcakes in 2008 and, within weeks, had more than covered her bills. Today, the franchise boasts more than 90 locations in the 25 states that haven't outlawed dessert.
Each bakery crafts its cupcakes daily with fresh ingredients, and updates the menu according to day of the week and season. Traditional summer flavors such as Scarlett's Red Velvet, chocolate-chip-cookie dough, and Birthday Surprise have recently met their culinary match in new mini cheesecakes that masquerade as cupcakes.