Associated Students of the University of La Verne hosted its first lecture of the semester with guest speaker Johnny Cupcakes.
Cupcakes – the professional name of entrepreneur Johnny Earle – is the owner and creator of Johnny Cupcakes, what he calls an unordinary bake shop. His bake shop is a clothing store that has expanded from different states to countries.
Earle’s passion for business began at an early age. He started off with lemonade stands, yard sales, candy and whoopee cushions that he would sell in between classes.
He loved magic tricks, and at one point, started offering magic shows – he was always looking for ways to make money even with a learning disability.
“I like entertaining people and seeing people’s reactions,” Earle said.
After graduating high school and dropping out of college, he began making t-shirts for a band he joined, and thought it would be funny to print some out with his name. People began asking him about them and he began selling them out of his car.
Earle later launched an online store which eventually led to the opening of his stores in Boston, Los Angeles, London and Martha’s Vineyard.
During the lecture, he offered tips for students who wanted to launch their own business with little to no startup money. Earle advised those with no money to take pre-orders, manage their time, offer an incentive and approach the right people.
“Managing my time has been one of the reasons for my success. Put that extra time into something you are passionate about,” Earle said.
He spoke about the importance of networking, and at that moment, asked audience members to high-five the closest stranger to them. He said that if someone wants their business to grow, they have to step outside of their social circle and meet new people.
“It’s nice that Johnny goes out to talk to the community. I learned that networking is a huge thing – it can break you or make you,” sophomore Melissa Rosales said.
He stressed the importance of details. He packages his products in strange oversized food containers. People love the concept, according to Earle.
“My main goal is to make every customer feel like it’s their birthday when they purchase a product,” Earle said.
He has done little to no advertising and believes that it due to the details he puts into his company.
“Strange is good. It sets you apart from the rest and it gets people talking,” Earle said.
He told the students their business cards, websites and resumes were all extensions of their personalities, and that they should make sure they pay attention to all the details.
“Johnny Cupcakes motivates students to pursue their dreams and not give up on their ideas,” Adriana Covarrubias, the ASULV senator of the College of Business and Management who set up the event, said. “I hope these students go forward with their dreams.”
As the lecture came to an end, Earle let everyone know he had placed treats for them under their chair and that there was a pop-up store where they could purchase discounted t-shirts.
“If I can do this with a learning disability, you guys can do anything with all the resources on campus,” Earle said. “Luck has nothing to do with it.”
Alejandra Aguilar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.