Here is the final of three storytellers who were chosen to share their tales of success with me and my community LIVE at Journey to Success 2014, a charity networking event that happened to coincide with my business anniversary. Enjoy!
I am Ruth Scott, Cupcake Queen of Cupcakes by Ruth! I wasn’t always the Cupcake Queen. My journey to Cupcake Queen has a story and like all good stories, my story begins with, “Once upon a time…”
Once upon a time, there was a little girl in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the youngest of 5 children and definitely the best surprise that her mother ever got (because my mother told me that all the time, and I’m sure it was true). She also told me that I was her favorite and I believe that, too. Because I was the youngest, I spent a lot of time with my mom. My siblings were doing teenage stuff that they probably shouldn’t have been doing; they were in high school and college and I was the only one at home. My mom had a home business; she was a pastry chef. The pastry chef-ing turned into a catering business which turned into a restaurant. But before all that happened, I used to frequent the library with her (yes, way back then, when people would go to the library to check out books and use the Dewey Decimal System). We would pull stacks and stacks of books from the shelves and she would take copious amounts of notes. Then she would scratch things out and make her own recipes and I would look at the pictures (what else was I gonna do? I couldn’t read yet!). So that is how I spent a lot of time with my mom.
So, I learned about “chef-ing” from my mom. I also learned from her that to feed 5 growing children and take care of a house and my dad and everything that was going on, to pack us into the blue Volkswagen van with the white top (you know the one – it’s a classic now!) took a lot of determination and a lot of love. I learned many lessons from my mom without even realizing it.
Fast forward a few chapters and I found myself no longer in Louisville, Kentucky but Cherry Hill, NJ (by way of Pittsburgh, PA). I found myself all of a sudden, in NJ, in a place I never thought I would be. Not only in Cherry Hill, but single. Single…with a daughter…in a town I’d only known for a couple of years. I didn’t even have a work “family”, those people you meet and bond with at work. My world was my family at home. I was the cupcake mom. I helped my daughter get acclimated and make friends and if there was something that the PTA needed, I baked cupcakes.
When I found myself in this new place as a single mom, I was a little depressed. It’s like…you land somewhere and you didn’t think you were gonna land there and how the hell did you get there? I don’t know about you, but my mom is gone and when I’m feeling sad or sick or pissed off or happy or whatever, I miss my mom and I want to talk to her. So I started baking. Not because my daughter needed stuff at school but because it made me feel like my mom was with me. Plus, when my daughter came home, the house smelled good. Bonus!
Fast forward another couple of chapters; I was baking a lot and sharing with my friends. They’d come over and check on me and we’d have coffee. And cupcakes. And, oh, the craziest flavors of cupcakes. I mean WHACKY flavors. Like Earl Grey & Honey. Who does that in a cupcake? I did. Because I like Earl Grey tea. At some point, one of my girlfriends said to me, “You know there’s this food competition and you should really go.” And I said, “Oh, you’re crazy. I just bake for my kid and I just do it for fun and …okay fine, I’ll try it.”
So I went and there was another cupcake business there. And they had been on Cupcake Wars. That was sooooo scary that I almost packed up and left (because I was not who I am today). I have one really good girlfriend who doesn’t accept nonsense form me. Everybody should have somebody like that in their life, someone who will not let you turn around and leave. So, I unpacked 300 mini Margarita Mama™ cupcakes (which was a lotta tequila, lemme tell ya). And I won. I beat those people that were on Cupcake Wars…by a lot. So I thought, “Maybe I have something here.” Sure enough, out of that competition, somebody wanted to buy cupcakes from me.
Next thing you know, someone says to me, “You know, you really need to network.” And I said, “What the heck is networking? I have no clue what you’re talking about. I don’t know how to do that, I’ve never heard of it, it can’t be a real thing.” But I went on the internet (not to the library) and did some research. I found a networking meeting I thought sounded good. I almost didn’t go a gazillion times, but THAT girlfriend was on the phone with me, saying, “You really need to go, you really need to go. Are you going? Are you in the car? Are you almost there yet?” I was so nervous I had sweat running down my back. And I walked in and it was the nicest group of complete strangers I’ve ever met. These women helped me and now I’ve begun this chapter where I’m writing a whole new story. One of the people there was Bonny (Your Web Chick). She, in particular, saw something in me and in what I was doing and became like my business big sister. So all of this love you see in my story goes into my cupcakes (oh, and a little bit of crazy, too!). It’s what makes them so darn good.
So these are the lessons I really want to share with you on your Journey to Success:
- You can accomplish some amazing things with a lot of determination and a lot of love.
- The scariest things sometimes turn out to be the most rewarding.
- Put yourself out there – you never know where you’re gonna land, where you’re gonna find amazing support and who’s gonna wind up in your story with you!
Ruth Scott is the owner, operator and resident Cupcake Queen at Cupcakes by Ruth! based in Cherry Hill, NJ. In addition to an extensive line of exclusive flavors of cupcakes (along with the classics), Ruth offers Better Choice Bars™, mini muffins, cookie bites and biscotti. In every mouthwatering creation, her secret ingredient is always love.