Cupcake creations: Local 10-year-old starts her own business

Lauren Crawford, owner of Notta Cupcakes, works at her stand at the North Naples Green Market. Meghan Easterly/Special to the Daily News

Photo by MEGHAN EASTERLY // Buy this photo

Lauren Crawford, owner of Notta Cupcakes, works at her stand at the North Naples Green Market. Meghan Easterly/Special to the Daily News

Detail of a Notta Cupcake kit that includes mix, chocolate chips, icing and instructions all packaged in a microwave/dishwasher safe mug. Meghan Easterly/Special to the Daily News

Photo by MEGHAN EASTERLY // Buy this photo

Detail of a Notta Cupcake kit that includes mix, chocolate chips, icing and instructions all packaged in a microwave/dishwasher safe mug. Meghan Easterly/Special to the Daily News

Notta Cupcakes is available for purchase online at nottacupcake.com.

The products will also be featured at Bay 170 in the Venetian Village starting in October.

— Some kids are born sports stars, while others have a passion for music.

But one local girl was born an entrepreneur.

Many people may have seen 10-year-old Lauren Crawford last season at the North Naples Green Market where she was set up with her business Notta Cupcake.

Her stand is cheerful in tones of brown and pink with flowers and polka dots and her product is unforgettable.

She has created a 5-minute cake in a cup that anyone can make and she sells her creations, Notta Cupcakes, online.

“Notta Cupcake is a three minute chocolate cake you can make in the microwave,” Crawford says. “It’s so simple and easy and if you have a chocolate craving at night you can just get up and make it, it’s simple, fast and easy.”

The business began last summer when Lauren was looking for summer camps.

“She loves to bake and her hero is Buddy from Cake Boss,” Lauren’s mom Pat Crawford said. “So when we were looking for camps last summer Cook-O-Nomics at the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs was on the top of her list.”

In the Cook-O-Nomics camp, instructor Amy Jensen taught students recipes that they could make themselves. When Lauren learned how to make cake in a microwave, her entrepreneurial spirit took over and she began brainstorming ideas to make the product her own. She and her mom began experimenting with recipes. They wanted to make the cupcakes as organic as possible in order to be healthier, and they also wanted to offer a gluten-free option.

When it came to names Lauren said, “But, you know Mommy, it’s not a cupcake.”

At that comment, Notta Cupcake was born. Mom and daughter set out to find a microwave and dishwasher safe cup that was nontoxic, made in the USA and reusable. They settled on a brown ceramic cup with their pink logo. The cup has a spoon attached for easy cake making. The entire product is branded with a matching website, business cards and even gift wrap.

Lauren and her mom work in their commissary kitchen putting the Notta Cupcake kits together. Each kit contains cake mix, chocolate chips, icing and instructions. They create the mix from scratch and measure it into packages. Then they put all of the packaged ingredients into the cup and wrap it up.

When they sell their product in the Green Market Lauren helps set up, makes the sales and makes change for customers. She knows every aspect of the business and tells each customer all about the product.

“She is learning something really important, which is the value of work,” Pat Crawford said. “She gets paid each time we sell at the Green Market for her sales and in help stetting up and she is definitely connecting the value of her work output to the fact that it earns her a payday. A solid work ethic is valuable and I hope it will help her through her life to understand what one has in life is connected to ones initiative and work values.”

The remaining earnings go into a Roth IRA for Lauren.

“It’s very fun,” Lauren says. “My favorite part is selling and having fun and meeting new people.”

Soon the business will be moved in Pat Crawford’s new store called Bay 170 that will open in October in the shops at Venetian Village. A corner called Junior Geniuses will be set up where Lauren and her friend will be selling their creations.

“My friends have all been very supportive,” Lauren says. “It’s fun to work with my mom. She says I’m an entrepreneur.”

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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