“For a little tiny idea, from my ‘little bitty town’ to make it all the way to HSN…it’s a dream come true, says Elizabeth Crouch of The Cupcake Rack.“It is truly the American Dream.”
In five years since Elizabeth founded her small business, she and her family have endured more adversity than most families face in a lifetime. The barn where she stores her inventory burned down. The debt bills piled up – including a $20,000 loan from her own 401K. And just as she was about to reach her dream, her nine-month own grandson was nearly killed.
Yet, through it all, she never lost hope. “There were times, I was tempted to give in to the adversity I faced, but then my family would tell me not to give up … and I never did,” she recalls.
Now, Elizabeth is selling her products on Amazon, Etsy, and through her own website, The Cupcake Rack.
And starting on April 9th, Elizabeth will be featured on HSN, where she’ll have the opportunity to showcase her business to the more than 91M homes reached via multiple networks and platforms. Elizabeth’s break with HSN came as part of HSN’s American Dreams initiative and our partnership with MSNBC’s show Your Business, the only cable news show dedicated to small businesses and entrepreneurship.
Elizabeth, along with several other lucky entrepreneurs, will be featured on Your Business with host JJ Ramberg in the coming weeks to pitch their product to HSN judges for the chance to be selected to sell live on HSN.
Elizabeth’s story is not only a tale about some fabulous cupcake bouquets that are so simple anyone can assemble them – it’s also an inspirational story that reminds entrepreneurs about the power of resiliency.
Tune in to HSN on Monday, April 9th at 7:00 pm ET to hear Elizabeth talk about her story live on air and sell her product.
We’re sure that you’ll be as moved by Elizabeth’s story as we are!
Elizabeth’s dream began while she was a stay at home mom in the small community in Oregon. And while she spent most of her free time volunteering at a local community theater, as her kids grew older, she decided to re-enter the workforce. Elizabeth started first at a local big-box store and later at a local casino where she spent ten years as an Auditor and Corporate Finance executive.
It was during this time at that a coworker brought in a beautiful – and tasty – bouquet to work that was made entirely of cupcakes. “There’s no way I could do that,” Elizabeth thought to herself.
But when it came time to plan a baby shower for her daughter Shannon, she couldn’t get that beautiful cupcake bouquet out of her mind. Elizabeth considered making her own. The only problem? As she had suspected, making a cupcake bouquet proved really, really difficult to do!
That’s when Elizabeth had her big idea; her lightbulb moment. What if there were a product that allowed you to easily create deliciously adorable, cupcake bouquets by simply inserting 19 homemade or store-board cupcakes in a versatile durable, and affordable cupcake rack?
Parties and baking would never be the same!
For the first two years of cupcake rack history, Elizabeth kept her day job at the casino. Finally, she decided to take the plunge and go off on her own. Then, a few months later, tragedy struck.
A mere two weeks before her distributor finalized her very first order, tragedy struck. Elizabeth’s young grandson, Roy was brutally assaulted by her daughter’s then boyfriend. He was not expected to survive the helicopter flight to the hospital.
As Elizabeth and her family prayed for the baby’s survival and recovery, her manufacturer in China became like a surrogate member of her family, keeping her updated and making sure those Cupcake Racks would arrive on schedule. “He took care of everything and emailed me every day without expecting a reply. He prayed for us and even sent Little Roy a silver bracelet with the Chinese characters of peace, love, and prosperity,” she recalls. “As time moved on, he continued to send words of comfort and support to me regularly. You can now see why I call him my beloved John Tu!”
After five weeks and a number of surgeries, Roy made it home. And soon after, Elizabeth’s first shipment of Cupcake Rack’s arrived from China. Elizabeth was so excited that she drove to the port in Astoria, Oregon to literally watch her ship come in.
A few short years later, Elizabeth would travel to Tampa, Florida to participate in HSN’s American Dreams Academy. Put on by HSN and the University of Tampa, the event combined classroom learning and hands-on experience for new or budding entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their business. Sponsored by Quirky, the event followed a similar academy that HSN and the University of Tampa held in Washington, D.C. in November 2017 to coincide with National Entrepreneurs Month.
“I learned so much valuable information for entrepreneurs,” reflects Elizabeth. “I also learned how much HSN truly cares about giving back and helping entrepreneurs like me.”
For more than four decades, we at HSN have been on the lookout for entrepreneurs like Elizabeth who Dream, Dare, and Do. When we find promising innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs, we give them a platform to showcase their products and businesses and provide them with guidance and partnership.
On April 9th, Elizabeth shares her story with the world. We hope you tune in and join us!