Business Monday

Small business spotlight on Misha’s Cupcakes

Misha Kuryla-Gomez runs a cupcake business called Misha's Cupcakes in Coral Gables, Florida on Monday, February 2, 2015. Misha's Cupcakes is part of the Herald's small biz spotlight.
Misha Kuryla-Gomez runs a cupcake business called Misha's Cupcakes in Coral Gables, Florida on Monday, February 2, 2015. Misha's Cupcakes is part of the Herald's small biz spotlight. MIAMI HERALD

Company: Misha’s Cupcakes

Location: 1548 S. Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables

Service: Produces and sells cupcakes, cakes, baked goods and other desserts

Years in business: Started in 2005, incorporated since 2007.

Management team: Misha Kuryla-Gomez (founder) and Gardo Gomez (CFO)

Revenues: 2010: $1.4 million; 2011: $2.4 million; 2012: $3.0 million; 2013: $3.6 million; 2014: $4.3 million

Number of employees: 85

Milestones: In 2005, Kuryla-Gomez was baking cupcakes at home while tending to her 5-month-old daughter. “The idea was to stay home,” she said. “And then it kind of took off. I did a lot of charity things, I just gave free cupcakes to everybody and so I started getting orders, wholesale orders.” As the demand for the sweets grew, the family’s house started to fill up with people picking up orders. “We made a goal,” Gomez said. “I said once we start selling $10,000 a month out of the house we got to move that business out of the house. So that was the number.”

Sure enough, in 2007 the couple found a warehouse and opened a kiosk in Dadeland mall. Initially, the warehouse was intended for pickup and wholesale orders as well as shipping goods to the kiosk. “But I found that I was selling a lot to just people walking in, walking by, word of mouth — for us the word of mouth was huge,” Kuryla-Gomez said, adding that the kiosk was great exposure for the young business.

When a Wing Zone along South Dixie Highway closed in 2008, the couple took over the spot and opened its first full-size store. “That was a good situation, because it was already set up as a restaurant,” Gomez said. “It was really easy to come in here and just open up.”

In 2010, a spot at London Square mall caught Kuryla-Gomez’s eye and the couple opened up its second store there. Two more would soon follow — one in Miami Lakes in 2011 and one in Aventura months later.

The latest addition came in 2014, when the duo expanded to Pembroke Pines with the grand opening on Jan. 30, 2015.

Keys to success: Gomez said the main reason for their success has been the product itself. “People like the flavor and the taste,” he said, adding that the small size makes people feel less guilty about indulging in the sweets. “And everyone can afford Misha’s Cupcakes. There’s not a financial barrier to it and it’s available. It’s become the brand.” The company also prides itself on the freshness of its cupcakes. “We don’t keep anything more than 24 hours,” Gomez said. “That’s huge.”

Impact: Kuryla-Gomez said that she hopes her story about a small home bakery turned successful multi-location business will inspire others to try to do the same. “I just think it’s a way for people to try it on their own,” she said. “And then it gives people that confidence to know that a normal person can be successful.” The company also emphasizes giving back to the community, working with charities that address topics like breast cancer and violence against women, and donates leftover goods to local food banks. “I find things that are close to my heart,” Kuryla-Gomez said. “It’s whatever is important to me. Because I think every business has that opportunity that they can give back in their own way that makes them feel like they’re doing something.”

Strategy for next steps: With another store scheduled to open in central Broward later this year, the business’ focus for the future is to continue expanding to population-dense markets, Gomez said, while also hiring the right people. “It’s the people who understand what it is we’re trying to do,” Gomez said. “And you lead by example.” The duo is also contemplating bringing in a capital investment group that specializes in expanding restaurants.