Traveling on the road of success and failure is considered a risk for many, but a pair of UMHB students push forward with the challenge.
Senior business administration major Ricardo Santos and his roommate, senior visual communication major Casey Gaffney, recently started a baking service called Viva La Cupcake. The two combined talents for the business.
“I’ve always been more of a cook,” he said.
Santos prefers to be in the kitchen than at a desk. His desire for baking started in his own apartment, but school remains a top priority.
“It’s kind of at a standstill right now just cause I’m really worried about graduating more than starting my business,” he said.
About four months ago while Santos was baking, Viva La Cupcake brewed in the minds of him and his roommate.
Gaffney described what it was like to taste Santos’ cupcakes for the first time.
“I took a bite of it (and) I was like, ‘Dude we can do something with this. Why don’t we start our own cupcake business?’” he said.
Gaffney came up with the name of the business, which started out as a joke.
“We were just trying to think of something catchy and something kind of manly,” he said.
Other than creating the company name, Gaffney suggests flavors to Santos and acts as “taste man.”
He will be printing shirts with the business logo on them and selling them soon.
Viva La Cupcake offers various flavors of cupcakes, such as chocolate, dark chocolate, piña colada, pineapple and strawberry.
The entrepreneurs aim to create diverse flavors.
“We just try to stay away from the normal cupcake,” Gaffney said.
“So (we) try to mix it up a bit (and) give the customers something they haven’t tasted before.”
Santos desires to make cupcakes to his customers’ liking, which is the idea he wants to promote for his business.
A single cupcake of standard size costs $1.50, and a dozen are about $18, but Santos says prices vary depending on size and quantity.
He tries to make the prices reasonable, but he also does not want to lose money.
Senior nursing major Carly Meraviglia bought a cupcake from Santos once and believes his little cakes are “top notch” and reasonably priced.
“I think it is great that a student is stepping out and using his talents to start a creative business,” she said.
Meraviglia encourages other students to try the cupcakes.
“I hope people get the word out,” she said.
Meraviglia found out about the business through Santos’ girlfriend, Lindsay Adam, who helps by decorating cupcakes and suggesting ideas.
Santos continues working on designs and flavors. He began by using mixes out of the box but aims to eliminate this by making everything from scratch.
He plans to cater birthday parties and sell them as presents. This December, he will be catering a wedding and has projects awaiting him in the spring.
Santos showcased his products on a local television show. He believes his appearance on KCEN-TV was a good experience and great way to get the word out.
Additionally, Viva La Cupcake will remain a minor investment in the future.
“Ideally I would like to start it up in the long run … but in the meantime I’m doing small things,” he said.
After graduating, Santos intends to keep the business more of a catering service alongside a full-time job.
“Realistically speaking, I’m going to have to be paying off loans … so I think I’m just going to stay where it’s (Viva La Cupcake) at and not actually move it to a building.”
Students wanting to taste some Viva La Cupcake goodies may contact Santos and Gaffney through their Twitter account, Viva_La_Cupcake or via Facebook.
Santos said, “I’ve always loved to cook and be in the kitchen.”