Inspired by her love for family and community, entrepreneur Brandy Mills opened her first business: T.B.M. Smallcakes, CupCakery & Creamery, in Asheville, NC.
Brandy and her family had always been looking for an avenue to bring their community together and wanted family to be the concept of their business. As an advocate for the youth, community and education, Brandy wanted to incorporate her passion to help the youth and her community by opening a business that would provide the opportunity to reconnect families.
“Recognizing that the concept of family time together has long been redefined by the constant distractions of technology, social media and the everyday business of life. My mission is for T.B.M. Smallcakes to create the opportunity to Serve, Unify, and Support the families of our community by using the traditional love of cake and ice cream as the platform for bringing families together again to spend quality time,” said Brandy.
In February 2016, Brandy and her family made a decision to open T.B.M. Smallcakes, Cupcakery and Creamery, “TBM” standing for Tiste, her husband, Martiste, her 10-year-old song, and Brandy. But before making her business dream a reality, Brandy needed capital and technical assistance. Brandy received help from the Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC), a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund in Asheville, NC. The WWBC helped Brandy to draft a business plan along with providing capital through CSBDF’s loan fund to help her start her business.
The Mills family is comprised of Brandy, her husband Tiste, and their six children. Brandy’s business is a true family business – with two of her daughters working part-time and her husband as co-manager. Brandy also has four other employees.
We got to hear more from Brandy below!
CSBDF: What were the most difficult challenges issues you faced?
Brandy: The most difficult decision for me was to start, then find a space. Also timing and negotiating the space was really hard. But the moment I was able to pitch my business and received approval, I knew I was doing the right thing and moving in the right direction.
CSBDF: What advice would you give to someone that wants to start a small business?
Brandy: The deepest advice that I could give is to go for it, roll with every growing opportunity that comes in the development of it. If you don’t make the first step, then you’re not taking a risk anyway.
CSBDF: Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
Brandy: We would like to be well-known in the community as a business who lives its mission of “bringing families together again over cupcakes and ice cream,” active around the community with a big focus on youth.
In the next five years, I would love to have 1 to 2 additional locations spread across Western North Carolina and providing a good foundation to kids in learning the professionalism and life skills needed to get and maintain a job.
CSBDF: How do you define success in your life?
Brandy: That is one of the hardest questions for me to answer because I don’t think of success in terms of what society thinks of success. For me success is really meeting the marks of my own expectations. I don’t think about it as where I see myself in five years or ten, I see success in a day by day basis.
Success is when I live to my expectation and not to the expectancies of others.
Drop by T.B.M. Smallcakes and follow them on Facebook HERE. They are open Monday through Sunday!
“Recognizing that the concept of family time together has long been redefined by the constant distractions of technology, social media and the everyday business of life. My mission is for T.B.M. Smallcakes to create the opportunity to Serve, Unify, and Support the families of our community by using the traditional love of cake and ice cream as the platform for bringing families together again to spend quality time. ” - Brandy Mills