We're excited to announce MyDomaine's Second Life podcast, a series spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief innovation officer at MyDomaine's parent company, Clique Brands, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields.
Few people are credited with starting a national food craze like Candace Nelson did. The pastry chef and entrepreneur sparked America's cupcake obsession when she opened Sprinkles Cupcakes in 2005, the first of its kind in the world. In the second episode of our podcast, Second Life, Nelson explains the surreal experience that catapulted her business to success.
"Oprah's producer called and said we need 350 cupcakes tomorrow in our studio in Chicago," she recalls of when the company was in its infancy stage. "So we baked our hearts out and took the red-eye to Chicago to hand-carry cupcakes to Oprah so that they would be perfect." Afterward, a Harpo Studios producer casually mentioned she might need to hire more staff—little did they know, it was the start of their cupcake empire.
When the business catapulted to national fame, Nelson quickly learned to be discerning about new opportunities. "One of the most important things I learned early on was the power of no," she tells our podcast host, Hillary Kerr. "You spend all this time developing this business and dreaming up what it could be … and then you realize that once it is successful, the opportunities come at you like crazy."
Unsure whether to franchise and chase rapid expansion, she returned to her company's mission statement to find clarity. "I was able to return to those guidelines and remind myself what the spirit of Sprinkles [was] from the very beginning. It was to grow ourselves, not to franchise."
One of Nelson's most profound lessons didn't arise from starting a business—it bubbled to the fore when she worked as a financial analyst after college. An economics major, she started her career in corporate finance and quickly learned that work without passion isn't fulfilling. "It just became so clear to me. … We spend so many hours of our day working. Why would I do something that I don't love?" And the rest, as they say, is history.
Head to iTunes to download this episode and subscribe to Second Life.