What It's About
Selfie culture inspires two design savvy millennials to create cupcakes with viral appeal!
Words of Wisdom
Because their products are so design-oriented, Carolina applied a design principle to her pricing, too. “When we were thinking about how much to charge for our cupcakes, we thought about the amount of time we spent designing them, and the daily rates of artists. We hand-sculpt everything, without any moulds, so we definitely think of ourselves as creating art - which is always what we set out to do.”
The world record time for eating cupcakes in the shortest time? 72 cupcakes in 6 minutes, or 12 cupcakes a minute. It was set by Pat Bertoletti of Chicago at the Second Annual World Cupcake Eating Championship in 2012. Cupcake eating is a training session we can get behind.
Notes from Chris
Side hustles come in all shapes and sizes. And now, thanks to Carolina Wang and Benny Lina, a Manhattan-based activewear designer, they come in different cupcake flavors, too. Carolina always loved the sense of unbridled potential of fashion and design. All of the colors, patterns, shapes, and textures had their own meaning—just waiting to be harnessed for a purpose. She started making her own costumes at the age of 12 and quickly fell into the East Coast anime costume convention circuit, where she frequently entered her designs (and sometimes won). This “passion for fashion” (don’t you love how that just roll off the tongue?) segued into a Bachelor's Degree in Textiles and then a career as a technical designer where she put her love into practice for brands like UnderArmour, SoulCycle, Asics, and Kenneth Cole. Her work was—and still is—incredibly fulfilling to her. But sometimes brand restrictions just don’t leave much wiggle room for the freedom she used to have as an independent designer. Carolina craved another outlet for her creativity, where she could have more fun with color and texture. Something a little sweeter than what her day-to-day life had to offer. She eventually found it, thanks to a fateful Tinder swipe that matched her with her now-boyfriend, Benny. After a few dates and long walks through Central Park (you know, typical NYC stuff), he shared with her his vision of creating a brand that combined food, art, fashion, and pop culture all wrapped into one sweet, sweet package. It was something that Carolina felt she could really take a bite out of, so they started brainstorming what they could do to set themselves apart from all of the other artisan dessert offerings of the Big Apple. And what does any brilliant millennial do when faced with a complex decision? They snap it out, of course! They got the brilliant idea of starting with a “Selfie Cupcake,” where they would use icing (along with some clever printing techniques) to make cupcakes with faces of celebrities and influencers on them. Their friends, like the good pals they are, loved them immediately. Not only did the cupcakes taste good, but they looked fantastic on their Instagram feed as well. Kind of like the post equivalent of the “100” and “fire” emojis, combined. And in this day and age, Carolina and Benny say that’s incredibly important. Younger generations aren’t just interested in food that tastes good, it has to look good and be highly photographic as well. And if it looks bomb in multiple filters, all the better! When Carolina and Benny started their business, they were bringing in around 2-to-3 orders per week, but that certainly seems bite-size in comparison to the now, 3-to-4 orders a day a mere three years later. When it comes to the content of those sales, cupcakes are still definitely their bread and butter and can cost customers anywhere between $60 for a dozen, to $180 for their specialty 3-dimensional designed dozen. These days, sell about 300 cupcakes a week, with cookies coming in hot as EatGood’s second-best seller, with around 100-200 a week. Now, three years later, Carolina and Benny have grown EatGoodNYC into one of New York City’s most unique bakeries, with features by Vogue, Refinery 29, The New Yorker, Complex Magazine, and more to their name. Their cupcakes have graced the events of clients like Nike, Adidas, Madison Square Garden, Pharrell, Kate Bosworth, and even the Queen B herself (Beyoncé). From what we’ve heard, it was for Beyoncé’s birthday in 2016, and her friends definitely got “in formation” to get their hands on these bad boys! In today’s visual culture, food isn’t just for eating and art isn’t just for museums. Carolina and Benny combined the best of both for their super sweet side hustle, and now the sky's the limit for their next move. They’re dipping into hard candy, mooncakes, and whatever else their customers suggest. No matter what, Carolina knows their next won’t be traditional—but it will look amazing on Instagram. They say success is sweet, and I’m inclined to agree.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- EatGoodNYC: Learn more about this sweet, social media success over on Carolina and Benny's website!
- Fidget Spinner Cookie Sensation Leads to Sweet Profits: A media producer receives national attention when she tries her hand at making edible fidget spinner cookies
- Southern Couple Rolls Out Sweet Profits With Family Side Hustle: A Mississippi husband-and-wife duo keeps things sweet and make $15,000/year on the side selling homemade cinnamon rolls
- “Dessert Goals” Team Creates Sweet Success: Two New York City event planners and dessert fiends create a festival series focused on their love of sugary goodness
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