Last night’s preview party for “DC Cupcakes” was filled with pink boxes, votive candles, delicious mini cupcakes, champagne and a fantastic look out at the trials, tribulations and success of locally owned and operated Georgetown Cupcake.
The first episode of the six-part series premieres this Friday at 10pm on TLC and opens on Valentine’s Day, the busiest day of the year, where the cupcakery must meet a demand increase of 500% (the shop usually sells 5,000 cupcakes a day, so we’re talking 25,000 cupcakes here,) AND tackle a last minute challenge for a good cause. Like every small business, and reality TV show, there are bumps in the road, conflicts, mishaps, lovable characters (look for comic relief from head baker Andrew and shop staffer Yasmin) and late nights. Also, be prepared for a blast from the past, as the episode contains Snopocalyspe covered streetscapes. SnOMG!
While some might argued that the cupcake craze has jumped the shark, there’s something sweet (pun intended,) charming and inspirational about two sisters quitting their finance and fashion industry jobs to join forces and simply bake cupcakes. According to co-owner Sophie LaMontagne, the two sisters originally defined success as “making the rent and baking with their mom at their side.” LaMontagne exuberantly added “I get to come to work in sweatpants and make cupcakes!” Got to admit that sure beats pantyhose.
When I asked the two sisters about filming in DC, they had only praises for their customers and DC residents. There was “lots of excitement and a great reaction to filming” said co-owner and Sophie’s sister, Katherine Kallinis, “We really feel proud to be a small business in DC and we hope our success brings more small businesses to DC.” The sisters also noted that DCites seem really proud of Georgetown Cupcake. Proud enough to include it in their list of locally bred, small businesses like Five Guys, Ben’s Chili Bowl, etc.
During the beginning few days of filming, the cast found it difficult to run the M Street shop while allowing the film crew to get the right shots for the series. Although filming may have made a few customers wait a little longer than normal, everyone was understanding and non-complaining. However, Producer Doug from Big Fish in Bethesda, MD told me that while the crew loved filming in Georgetown and loved all the free cupcakes, logistics were a complete nightmare. Apparently, parking tickets and tow jobs were rampant.
Although prior to last night’s preview neither sister had seen an episode of the series, they told me there would be plenty of DC centric challenges and locales, including episodes featuring the DCFD, non-profits and local organizations. The show is set in both the original shop, now turned factory on Potomac Street, NW and the cafe-styled M Street location. Unfortunately, the Bethesda location does not make a showing. Sorry MD, but the title of the show is “DC Cupcakes.”
After watching the first episode, I came away with two key takeaways. One, the owners and staff of Georgetown Cupcake take immense pride in their end product. They will not let a single cupcake out of the factory, unless it meets their high quality standards. Even if it means throwing out entire batches, they’re focused on providing the best product out there, and I have to say their end product shows that dedication. Two, these two sisters truly love what they’re doing. Yes, they take on orders that are semi-impossible. Yes, there are long, late nights. Yes, their mom may occasionally mess up the ovens, creating additional work. But at the end of the day, after the conflicts, the cocoa powder explosions, the red velvet insanity, they love what they do and they love the city they’re doing it in.