What's sweeter than a cupcake? While I let you ponder that question (really, it gets more complicated the more you think about it), why not read this sweet interview with Craig McDougall, co-owner of Frosting Cupcakery in Langley, BC?
CakeSpy: What made you decide to start a cupcake shop?
Craig McDougall: My wife Melanie was an at home mom taking care of our 2 little boys Dylan and Cade while I worked for a software company. During the past 8-10 years she has been baking cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and a variety of treats for just about every friend or event we've been asked to attend. Time and time again she would receive words of praise from everyone like "Oh, those are the best..." or "You should sell these...." to our favorite one we kept hearing was "Those are so much better than the ones you can buy at ...". We knew eventually we wanted to open our own business, and the more this kept happening the business idea slowly changed from a cake supply store, to a cake store, to finally a Cupcake Store that we also do custom cakes at.
CS: When people walk into your shop, what is the ideal experience you'd hope for them to have?
CM: When we designed our store, it was important for us to make sure that when people walk into our store they find it fun, cute, exciting, and a little bit trendy. We elected to go with Pink Stripes, Mint Green, and Chocolate Brown for our colors, and when you first walk into our store it reminds people of one of those fun candy stores you walk into down at Disneyland. Just about every response we receive when people walk in is "Oh my goodness, smell those cupcakes. You have such a wonderful shop we love coming here" The ideal experience we hope for is customers to feel welcomed, comfortable, and part of our family. Our motto is a friendly place where you will always find a smile and we truly make sure that every customers requests are met to the best of our ability.
CS: Be honest--has owning a cupcake shop made you tired of eating them?
CM: Yes and no. When you make cupcakes every day it's like anything you are around all the time you don't necessarily crave them daily. That being said, when we first opened we had about 20 flavors and now we are up to over 50 different flavors. So daily we experiment with new flavors and designs so we are always having fun tasting new things and with flavors like Neapolitan, Love Potion, Island Coconut, Berry Explosion, Chocolate Explosion, to name a few the flavors are more than just a vanilla or chocolate cupcake and it would take you forever to try all of them.
CS: Melanie comes from Nanaimo--so please, give me a good reason why I don't see a Nanaimo Bar Cupcake on your menu?
CM: LOL - we here this all the time. We had so many ideas to run with when we first opened the store but we were unsure if it would be a small little mom and pop store, or go big. We went so big when we launched that we now have 6 additional employees that work for us, we've been named the #1 cupcake in Vancouver, we've had celebrities like Greg Neufeld play at our store, and it's been a whirl wind so the only good reason we have at this time is things took off faster than we thought and a lot of our ideas are waiting to be brought to fruition.
CS: What is your most popular flavor?
CM: Our current most popular flavor is Neapolitan as this is the cupcake that we won the awards for. It has been posted and talked about on just about every food magazine and internet site up in Vancouver since we won the cupcake challenge so that's what most people ask for. That being said we have a lot of seasonal cupcake the generate popularity during that time. For example we do a spiders web and boo-nilla around Halloween, raspberry vanilla and berry explosion in the summer when fresh berries are out, and the list goes on and on.
CS: Do you find that men and women prefer different cupcake flavors?
CM: I don't know that I've seen that men or women like different cupcakes per say, but what I do find in our store anyways is couples will come in all the time and buy an assortment of different cupcakes "Look at this one, I'm getting one of those. Oh yeah, grab one of those too..." and then they sit down and do taste testing and share all the flavors together. It's a lot of fun and since we also have mini versions of our cupcakes in our store daily too, it creates even more fun.
CS: What is your response to those who say that cupcakes are a passing fad?
CM: So is the internet, the walkman, and wedding cakes. I personally like to answer that question because a passing fad is ones vision of an item that is stagnant. The walkman has evolved to a diskman, then to an mp3 player, and now the iPod. Anything in life, if you let it go stagnant, becomes a passing fad but if you keep it exciting and fun and continue to evolve as it does, then it can last a life time. There will always be cupcakes, and we work very hard at keeping it fun and fresh. As an example we just launched our ice cream flavor line up of cupcakes Neapolitan, Tiger Tail, Cookies and Cream. The important thing to remember is to always have something new for customers to crave...
CS: What is next for Frosting Cupcakery?
CM: Conquer the world! No, just kidding, but we do plan to open up multiple locations though. We have been asked by several parties if we were interested in franchising but we found some of the local companies around our area are doing that and their product quality has suffered immensely so we do have plans to have multiple locations but they would be an extension of our existing company. We also have a few other tricks up our sleeve that I would rather not let out of the bag quite yet to keep things fun and exciting.
Want more sweetness? Check them out at frostingcupcakery.com.