Career Alternatives, Cars, Food, Money

Is a Lawyer Turned Cupcake Baker Raking in the Dough?

A few weeks ago we wrote about Kate Carrara, who left the law to launch Buttercream, a “mobile cupcake shop” — i.e., a cupcake truck — in Philadelphia. As we mentioned in our post, a surprising number of attorneys have launched cake-baking businesses. One of the most famous and successful, whom we forgot to mention in our earlier post, is Warren Brown of CakeLove in D.C.

Speaking of D.C. and lawyers turned cupcake makers, Carrara was recently interviewed by the Washington Post about her business. The snobs among you might scoff at the idea of leaving the law to drive around dispensing baked goods. But would your scoffing stop if you were to learn, as Carrara reveals in the Post interview, that this is a six-figure business?

Carrara walks the WaPo through the finances of Buttercream. She outlines the following costs:

For the first year of operation, start-up costs were about $50,000. The truck alone was $20,000, and the vendor’s license was about $5,000. The rest depends on rent and salaries. I have five employees, whom I have to pay a good wage.

Is Buttercream making money? Check out this exchange from the interview:

Is the business profitable?

In the first year, we made $100,000, but we’re putting a lot of that back into the business now. I’m starting to look into retail and wholesale outlets. I’d like to open some kiosks.

Non-responsive? If this were a deposition, one might want to press Carrara on her answer. “[W]e made $100,000″ — what does that exactly mean? Is that revenue or profit? Have the start-up costs been recouped already? What kind of salary does Carrara draw? The response raises more questions than it answers.

Perhaps it’s profit, since it might be too low for annual revenue. Carrara claims that she sells about 500 cupcakes a day for $2 each, which would yield $1,000 a day. Multiply $1,000 by the number of days (or even weekdays) in a year, and you end up with a number significantly higher than $100,000.

(On the other hand, Carrara states that 500 a day is what they “aim for,” so they aren’t moving 500 cupcakes every single day. She also notes that things are “a little slower in the summer, when the students are away.” And it’s possible that it took a while to reach the current level of selling 500 cupcakes a day; presumably sales were lower when they were first starting out.)

Regardless of how much she’s making, Kate Carrara doesn’t miss her past life as a lawyer, which wasn’t much fun:

Everyone in my family is a lawyer — my father’s a lawyer; my grandfather’s a lawyer. So I went to law school and spent six years working as a trial lawyer for my family’s firm. Then I did coding for two years at another law firm, which was insanely boring.

One common complaint about lawyers is that lawyers don’t make anything. In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia:

[L]awyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table….

Well, nowadays Kate Carrara is producing something — namely, delicious cupcakes. She is most definitely putting food on the table — or at least in people’s hands. We wish her the best of luck in this delectable endeavor.

You can read the rest of the interview — which covers such topics as how Carrara raised the start-up capital for her business, and how she got the idea for a cupcake truck (maybe from reading this ATL post?) — over here.

Ingredients for success in following your career dreams: Passion and foresight
[Washington Post via ABA Journal]

Earlier: Ex-Lawyer of the Day: Cupcake Queen Is Not Above the Law

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