Reality television competitions have become an increasing trend in the entertainment industry. With a lot of work and dedication, entrepreneurs can enter these competitions to receive prizes and gain awareness for the business. Fashion designers can utilize their skills in Project Runway to receive $100,000 to start his/her own line and a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel. Chefs can cook their way to victory on Top Chef, where winners have been awarded $125,000 to $200,000. Makeup artists can dazzle the judges in Blush for a chance to win $100,000. Cupcake Wars winners recieve a cash prize and an opportunity to be featured during an event. These competitions, among several others, are a way for entrepreneurs to secure prizes that will benefit their business ventures.
About Cupcake Wars
Cupcake Wars is a weekly televised competition between four of the country’s top cupcake bakers. The bakers are put through three elimination challenges for the chance to win $10,000 and the opportunity to have their winning cupcakes in a selected event. Some of the events include the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary, SeaWorld Birthday Bash, and Cirque du Soleil celebration. Winning cupcakes have been concoctions such as, cinnamon graham sugar, popcorn and peanut, lemon kiwi, and even plantain cake with avocado buttercream. Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes, Florian Bellanger, co-owner of Mad-Mac, and a rotating judge determine who the winners are each week.
Competitions such as Cupcake Wars are no simple task. It takes a lot of time and preparation to do well in these types of competitions. Cupcake Wars winner and owner of Nadia Cakes, Abby Jimenez, can tell you first hand from her experience on the reality television series, featured on the Food Network.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you started Nadia Cakes?
A: I started Nadia Cakes as a home’s based business in 2007. We opened up a retail shop in 2009.
Q: When did you decide to enter into Cupcake Wars and why?
A: The producers from Cupcake Wars worked with us on the show we filmed on TLC, Fabulous Cakes. They fell in love with our cupcakes and asked us to be on the show back in season 2. We were unable to participate due to our contract with TLC however, the show called us asking to participate every season until our contract was up in season 4. When we were finally free, we jumped right on the chance!
Q: How did you prepare for the competition?
A: My assistant Randi and I spend hours practicing different flavor combinations under a time limit in anticipation for the show. We didn’t know what we were going to be asked to do but we did know we’d have to do it quickly.
Q: What was it like competing in Cupcake Wars?
A: Stressful. Extremely stressful. Filming starts at 5:30 in the morning and goes until 8:30 at night. The clock never stops for any reason and the threat of going home is always in the back of your mind. It’s a hard day!
Q: What was going through your head when you found out you were the winner?
A: When I found out I won, I literally couldn’t believe it. It’s incredible being invited to the show. Its incredible stepping foot in the Food Network kitchen and winning is just unbelievable. I know we have a good product and I believe that it’s the best out there. But to have that validated by Candace Nelson and Florian Bellanger, one of the world’s greatest pastry chefs, is just amazing.
Q: As we know, the cash prize was a total of $10,000. What are you planning on using the winnings on?
A: The winnings are going towards shop #2, which is under construction in MN.
Q: How much has business grown since Cupcake Wars?
A: The real prize after Cupcake Wars is not the $10,000 winnings. It’s the increase in business. It has literally quadrupled. We thought that after a few weeks it would settle down but honestly, this last week was just as busy as the week the show aired.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you learned when competing in Cupcake Wars?
A: You never know what the judges are going to say.
Q: We know that Nadia Cakes is expanding to Minnesota, but what other future plans do you have for the business?
A: We are looking to open 3-5 more stores over the next few years, mostly in the MN area.
Q: Do you plan on competing in other competitions if the opportunity presents itself?
A: I will and I’ve already been invited. I want to make sure whatever show I do is the right one for our business.
Q: What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs about competing in similar competitions?
A: Go all in. Hoping is not a strategy and you have to plan as best you can.
Abby Jimenez took advantage of the opportunity to enter into a competition that would benefit her business, Nadia Cakes. Her hard work and dedication, ultimately helped her win $10,000. If you want to expand your business, like Mrs. Jimenez did, then entering a reality television competition could be worth the effort.