You may have noticed that here at The Cupcake Bar, we’ve got lots going on these days. In addition to serving up our signature sweet treats, we’ve been busy hosting virtual cupcake decorating classes, curating corporate gift boxes, and more. Some of the things we’ve been up to lately don’t even involve cupcakes—at all!
Say what?! That’s right. And if you’d asked us a year ago whether we thought we’d ever have our very own Shipping Department...well, let’s just say we would have laughed at such a pie—er, cupcake—in-the-sky idea. And yet, here we are.
We know, we know: you’ve heard lots of people talking about the “P” word and frankly, we’ve experienced a little bit of “Pivot Fatigue”, too. It’s a buzzword that’s been around for months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we were all thrown for a loop and didn’t know which way was up (TBH, we still feel like that sometimes). And while we may be tired of hearing that word, what we can ALWAYS use more of is a little vulnerability and some honest discussions about the good, the bad, and the messy of what it means to reimagine a small business in the age of COVID-19. Those, we think, are the conversations worth listening to and joining.
So we did. Our owner and Chief Cupcake Officer, Lori Schneider, recently sat down for an interview with Linsey Lindberg, creator and host of the Emerging Texas Strong podcast, to discuss all things Pivot as it relates to small businesses here in Austin. Linsey not only talks the talk, but she walks the walk, too: as a small business owner in the local entertainment scene, she found herself trying to figure out how to make it when COVID-19 hit and decimated the events industry as we knew it. Her podcast was born out of her pivot, and she’s on a mission to “ensure small businesses in Texas make it through the economic recovery period of the pandemic.”
The conversation was a chance for us to reflect on all the changes we made to our business model last year and share how we got to where we are today (you know, running a cupcake shop with revenue streams that have nothing to do with cupcakes). Part of our approach was to maintain a laser-like focus on the practice of listening to our customers. “That’s really our goal,” Lori says. “How do we make them feel that same level of excitement as they would at an event?”
The podcast episode also features interviews with other rock star local entrepreneurs: Amelia Raley from Sweet Ritual Oliver Steck, a freelance musician, Jonathan Jow from Bootheasy Photo Booth, and Hayden Lockaby from Red Velvet. They talk about the process of soul searching, digging deep, and unearthing their North Star as a company to figure out how to stay alive and thrive during a time of so much uncertainty.
When listening to these folks talk about how they’ve pivoted to evolve their businesses, you can’t help but feel inspired and excited to see what the future holds. Take it from Linsey, who also talks about her own pivot in the episode. “I just want to say to anybody out there who is still in doom and gloom, please believe me...there are ways that you can be creative, even if you’re not excited about it. But I tell ya,” she says, “even if you get pushed to go ahead and transition into something different, there are opportunities there, and there is life and a future and changes that you could never have imagined for yourself.”
Emerging Texas Strong is available on all your favorite streaming platforms.