What: Mignon Francois, owner of Cupcake Collection in New Orleans, LA
Film by: Aaron Cohen
Editor’s Note: Film student Aaron Cohen a student at the University of New Orleans follows the founder and current workers of the award-winning bakery The Cupcake Collection through this informative interview. Founded by Mignon Francois, the Cupcake Collection has grown from a small family business, into a well-renowned bakery in New Orleans and Nashville. Francois lives by the phrase “follow your spirit,” and has applied this philosophy to her work. Through The Cupcake Collection, she hopes to pave a pathway for generational wealth in her family, and create more opportunities for her community at large.
Speaker 1 (Mignon Francois): My children’s generation is the first generation of African-American people as a collective that have access to well transference outside of an insurance policy. We, for the first time, will be passing on business and property and wealth. And so, it is important to me that we establish for those coming behind us, an opportunity. I am Mignon Francois, and I am the founder and Director of Joy at The Cupcake Collection. The reason why I decided to make all of the things that houses is because I wanted to be true to myself and who I am. So the more authentic that I am myself, the more people receive that, and they trust me to do things for them. It’s the way I fed my children, and so that’s why we do everything as straightforward as we can with as minimal ingredients as possible.
Speaker 2 (Alaina Theriot): My sister asked me; she knows I love to bake, uh, just for fun. I never thought it would be a job, but when she asked me I was like, why not? My sister asked me, and she couldn’t bake. So I’m like, if she could do it, I definitely could do it. She’s building a legacy. Once she became successful, she was like, “Why am I the only one being successful? I want my family to be successful.”
Speaker 1: I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just here getting wealthy and building wealth and watching my sister struggle. If there was something I could do to teach them how I learned to fish, so that they could fish for a lifetime, that’s what I wanted to do. Passing on what I knew so that they could also live was key for me. As a culture, we might not have generations-long of people who can say, “m\My great grandfather ran a business like this, and this is our family tradition for the past 300 years.” I want to start that tradition right now.
Speaker 3 (Aisha Faulkner): She kinda just wanted to do something for the community and help out this community, and she wanted to help out her family at the same time and build a legacy to help us be able to build a legacy for our children and our children’s children to create generational wealth. She kinda drafted me into the business after she became successful at it in Nashville. We want them to be able to own something, to instill in them to work for yourself, to create your own life.
Speaker 1: What I wanted to do was show them they could do what they believed and I wanted to open the door for opportunity in family. I think I do that with my children. We definitely want to explore opportunities to grow our business and plant it in other cities to continue to create that wealth transference across the country. But it’s definitely not something I want them to feel like they have to do it. Because this is my dream, not theirs. Our vision is to be a lighthouse in the community, to show people what good business looks like, and then to illuminate the path for other entrepreneurs so they know what they can do if they believe. Cupcakes are just the avenue or the carrier we use to bring joy to people as they go throughout their daily lives. That’s what we’re here for.