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Ten years ago, Monique Milenkovic was working as a HR Manager and never dreamed she would be running a budding cupcake empire. With the likes of Fifi Box, Danni Minogue and Chrissy Swan obsessed with her cupcakes, Monique went on to found one of Melbourne’s top destinations for cupcakes.
Monique started The Cupcake Queens in 2005 after trying to find the perfect cupcakes for her wedding. “I’ve always had a passion for all things cupcakes but I just couldn’t find what I was looking for,” she recalls. So, I really wanted to find the perfect ones. My friend and I searched everywhere and thought we couldn’t possibly be the only ones looking for cupcakes in Melbourne. And that’s how it all began.”
Monique decided to ditch her job and open up a cupcake shop. She now juggles The Cupcake Queens along with four children aged one, two, three and six. Her husband decided to jump on the bandwagon and quit his role in the finance industry to help Monique run her (rapidly growing) small business.
Building her dream didn’t come with an easy recipe and Monique started The Cupcake Queens with just $100. “The business was entirely self-funded,” she says. “We purchased only second-hand appliances to make the cupcakes. Essentially, we only started with a $100 to make our first batch of cupcakes.”
“I’ve always had a passion for all things cupcakes.” – Monique
Now, The Cupcake Queens has an online store where people can order until 1pm for same day delivery. “It definitely keeps our teams busy. We have a total of around 60 employees across all our 10 stores including full time, part time and casual staff.” With the help of Vend’s POS, Monique was able to successfully scale her business from two stores to 10.
Taking on the role of being a business owner isn’t always easy. “I never realised how much I actually accomplished with Cupcake Queens,” Monique says. “It’s very important to acknowledge your achievement every step of the way. It’s so easy to get carried away with things that steer of the path of being focused and resilient.”
Resilience and focus are the two most important factors Monique has learned from running a successful business. “Beware of jumping ahead of yourself,” she warns. “When I started Cupcake Queens, I used only $100. I didn’t think about the business branching out to 10 stores at the time. I just took one step at a time.”
Monique is planning to open an eleventh Cupcake Queens
“It’s incredible watching it develop into something as the business grows,” she says. “Running a successful business is also about having loyal customers who remain true to you and your business. At the end of the day it comes down to your product and what you make of it.”
Currently, she operates 10 stores in locations from Albert Park to Armadale. Monique also has plans to open an eleventh store. She adds happily, “We want to be the one-stop-shop for everything cupcakes.”
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