Candace Nelson is a wildly successful entrepreneur known for co-founding Sprinkles, purveyor of the world's first cupcake ATM, and most recently, Pizanna, a fast-growing chain of award-winning high-end pizzerias. She continues to expand her portfolio of investments with CN2 Ventures, a family office and venture studio which invests in early stage consumer companies.
But you may know her as a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Sprinkles Baking Book, co-creator and executive producer of Hulu's Best in Dough, executive producer and judge on Netflix’s Sugar Rush, and/or as a featured judge over a hundred episodes of Food Network’s hit show, Cupcake Wars.
More than all of that, she’s my friend! A mentor and inspiration to my own career, Candace is the total package – mommy, business builder, investor – not to mention, an exquisite baker.
That’s where we kick this one off, as she elects to attend pastry school instead of business school (a decision we can all be thankful for). Her entrepreneurial journey from there takes twists and turns, but always comes back to passion.
We chat about her latest book, Sweet Success, the behind-the-scenes story of building Sprinkles, from the very first cupcake through the eight years she spent scaling it across the country – and everywhere in between.
She encourages us all, and encourages me all the time, to go for our dreams, to put them out into the world and build on the positive momentum from there. If you have an idea, or even if you’re just curious about starting a business in the future, this is the podcast episode for you.
You will learn about...
Kelly and Candace’s early relationship
Deciding on pastry school instead of business school
Reinventing the cupcake a la Sprinkles
Making the call to sell stake in Sprinkles
Advice: Prove your thesis on a smaller scale, first
Getting the product and branding right
Putting your biggest dreams out into the world
What’s next? Pizzana and pivoting to other projects
Taking joy in elevating simple pleasures
The humbling nature of entrepreneurship
Why mindset is so important
She’s still got it! Going viral on TikTok
The importance of pulling the curtain back on failure
Visualizing your goals
Achieving balance (or not)
The toolbox needed to support the natural flux of life
Advice for early entrepreneurs – do it
Building intentional community and support systems
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