Photo: R.H. Boyd
“All you have is all you need to get to where you wanna be” and other lessons from the owner of The Cupcake Collection, Mignon Francois.
Mignon Francois turned the five dollars she had to feed her family into a multi-million dollar bakery. Made from Scratch is a transparent look into Mignon’s journey to success. She unpacks the positive and negative experiences that brought her to where she is. Mignon’s great success was truly made from scratch and she wants you to know it is possible for you too. Our editor had a chance to sit down with Mignon to learn more about the inspiration behind the book.
What makes this book different?
I think because I’ve gotten really transparent in this story. I always say “all you have is all you need to get to where you wanna be”. But, as somebody reading this who may be in the valley, all you have could be “nothing”. I knew I needed to pull back the curtain and show people what it looked like for me, when I was drowning in debt and brokenness, sitting in this house (now home to The Cupcake Collection) sometimes without electricity and water. There were workarounds I used in order to get me to where I wanted to be and I think people have to decide what that looks like for them. You can then take the opportunity to say yes to whatever comes your way, or no.
What do you want readers to walk away with after reading your book?
When I was writing this book, I had a person in my head that I knew I was writing this for. I was thinking about a single mom who feels alone, who feels like, what am I supposed to do now? I want them to know that they, all of us are given a measure of something, right? It reminds me of the biblical story of the widow who found herself facing losing her sons. The prophet asked “What do you have in your house?” to help her situation. She ends up gathering jars and filling them with her oil. The prophet tells her to “take what you’ve made and sell it and live.” That’s what I want people to know. All you have is all you need and I am an example of that. That is essentially how I built this business. I put faith currency and deposited that into my business first. We lived on less than what we were making and I wasn’t ever going to let the people that worked for me go without a paycheck. That’s what I want people to hear in this story. I want them to hear how I actually did it, not so that they can be in my business; but so they can be about their business.
Why was it important that you write this book and build this legacy?
As I was writing this book, I had so many aha moments. And I truly believe that everybody should write a memoir even if they’re not going to publish it. Even if it’s just for your family or for yourself. I learned so much about myself and my family and how God always had his hand on me. It’s really important sometimes to write down the things that you’ve been through so that you can look back and thank God for them. During this process, I discovered my father, who we thought was born in New Orleans at a hospital, was actually born on the sugar cane plantation where his parents were enslaved. This revelation meant we were not so far removed from slavery like we think we are as a generation. It’s very close to us.
Uncovering the legacy within my own family during this process was amazing. I believe God was redeeming my time, giving me the opportunity to work in the sugar business when my ancestors didn’t have an opportunity to have free enterprise in that same sugar industry several decades ago. Now I am able to leave something for my children’s, children.
Do you think you could have built this business anywhere other than Nashville?
No. I don’t think I could have created this business, especially at that time, outside of Nashville. I believe Nashville is the place for entrepreneurship. This is where you come in order to build a business. If you want to make it on Broadway, you go to New York; you come to Nashville if you want to build a business and we delve a lot into that within the book. I am New Orleans raised, but I was definitely Nashville made and I’m very proud to be able to say that.
It was also very important for me to publish this book with one of Nashville’s oldest African-Amercan business – R.H. Boyd. There were a lot of offers on the table for me from other major publishing houses but I chose to do this book with LaDonna Boyd because we both are daughters of an enslaved history.
You can find Made from Scratch Parnassus Books, online retailers and here.
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