Mignon Francois
Mignon Francois founded the Cupcake Collection in 2008. @thecupcakecollection via Instagram

"All I had was five dollars to my name, said Mignon Francois, the founder of the Cupcake Collection.

Based in Nashville, US, Francois launched her business in 2008 in the "midst of an economic downturn."

"I had heard the man on the radio say that you could get out of debt by having a bake sale or a garage sale," the Cupcake Collection founder explained. "I didn't know how to bake, not even out of a box."

In a bid to "finally be debt free", with just five dollars in the bank and a single mother to six children, Francois said that she learned her craft and delivered cupcakes to her neighbours.

After a neighbour asked her to make 600 cupcakes for each client, the Cupcake collection said: "I bought all the ingredients that I could with those five dollars, and I turned it into 60 that day."

"I had flipped 60 into 600 by the end of the week, and I have been flipping that same money for the last 17 years."

Mignon Francois
Mignon Francois released her first book in 2023. @Mignon.Francois via Instagram

Francois said she has since generated "over ten million dollars in cupcakes."

"Over five million cupcakes have been sold and counting. We have done that with no debt, no experience, no knowledge of the business [and] no loans because I believe that all you need is all to get you from where you are to where you want to be."

According to Francois, despite the five-dollar start-up costs, the cake shop produces thousands of cupcakes daily for walk-in customers and orders placed online.

The Cupcake Collection boasts 11 unique flavours, with each cupcake sold for less than four dollars. The distinctive flavours include sweet potato, birthday cake, café mocha, sweet lemonade and campfire S'mores.

To market her business, the founder noted that "word of mouth is the thing that we are still using today."

"I think word of mouth is worth its weight in gold."

When she first launched the Cupcake Collection, Francois said she couldn't afford a commercial lease for a business space away from her home.

"Using my home was the best place to start," the founder explained, revealing that her "business took over" and she was forced to relocate her home.

The Cupcake Collection currently has locations in Nashville, Hendersonville and Lenox Village. The cupcake company's success can also be seen in its demand for a food truck store, which was opened last year.

With a team of family members and friends regarding the Cupcake Collection's profit margins, the founder said that her staff are "very involved in how we price the product."

"They are rewarded for ways in which they save money... I'm not just taking everything home for myself; I'm making sure that they get a benefit out of what it is they're saving for the company."

To encourage other entrepreneurs to start their businesses, Francois told them to "look at what you already have."

Francois launched her book "Made from Scratch: Finding Success without a Recipe" in May last year.

The biography follows Francois' turbulent journey as an entrepreneur and reveals tales from her past as a single mother struggling financially.

According to the founder, the book aims to inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs to build a business that allows them to achieve financial freedom.