25-year-old opens cupcake bakery amid recession

Katie Thompson

It all began when Santa Claus brought Katie Thompson a pink KitchenAid mixer when she was a little girl. Best. Present. Ever. It struck a passion for baking in her. And the rest... Well, you know.

The 25-year-old, impossibly nice blonde owns Cupkates, a cupcake bakery and delivery company in Las Vegas. It was clearly meant to be, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t take elbow grease—and plenty of it.

After graduating from UNR in 2008, Thompson, like so many of her peers, couldn’t find work. The Great Recession was heating up, and she says she felt “stuck.”

“I was definitely a little bookworm in college,” she says, adding that she was a double major in marketing and business. “When I graduated, I was told I was either overqualified or needed more experience for everything I applied for.”

She took matters into her own hands and opened Cupkates in 2009 with help from her dad, an initial investor. Since then, she’s hired limited staff, starting in late 2010.

Despite opening during such turbulent economic times in Vegas, Thompson says her business has grown every month. That’s due, in part, to her company’s unique offerings, she says.

“Our main product is a cupcake bouquet of flowers you can eat,” she says, which can be customized with flavors you like or specific holidays. “We deliver everywhere from Anthem to North Las Vegas.”

Her company also specializes in mini cupcakes, perfect for people who want to treat themselves to something little, she says. Her favorite cupcake flavor is “The Tutu,” a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting. “I’m definitely a pink kind of girl,” she says.

Having studied marketing in college, she sure knows how to begin building brand recognition. She delivers all of the cupcakes herself. And her car? A VW bug with the license plate “Cupk8.”

“There’s, like, a million miles on it,” she says, laughing.

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  1. I love cupcakes but don't forget what happened to Krispy Kreme. People are already too fat (Especially in Nevada). Cupcakes are in fashion now and that won't last long so cash in on them while you can. I will definitely try a few.

  2. I wonder if they make sugar-free cupcakes for the 11% of the population that are diabetics. All of the cupcake places I've seen in Vegas do not. Along with Freed's who are voted best bakery in Vegas yet they make nothing sugar free nor do they make a crumb of bread.