One-on-One with LaKisa Taylor, owner of Pretty Girl Cupcakery
Pretty Girl Cupcakery is the place on Baltimore Avenue for where owner LaKisa Taylor says customers can buy, “the best cupcakes in the Washington, D.C./Prince George’s area.” The cupcakery is located in the art district of Hyattsville where the D.C. line and popular restaurant Busboys and Poets are less than one minute away. Taylor wears many hats as the owner of Pretty Girl Cupcakery despite having four to five retail associates—she serves as operations, marketing, delivery driver, decorator, wedding and party planner. Despite her busy schedule, the gracious and multi-talented Taylor made room for an interview with Alexis A. Goring, lifestyle reporter for The Sentinel.
Goring: Share the story behind the name “Pretty Girl Cupcakery.”
Taylor: The name Pretty Girl Cupcakery pulls from a few different places. One being a long time resident of “PG County” and I wanted to establish a business here. The other being that it’s something my grandmother used to say to me based on having inner beauty and confidence, not necessarily about looking good, but looking good is always important.
Goring: When did you open shop in Hyattsville and why did you choose that location?
Taylor: We opened in May of 2012. I sought this area out initially for my real estate associates and I. We were a small team, but I really liked the area because of the “Arts District approach.” I knew that I would branch off and do something of my own.
Goring: Your brand is Pretty Girl Cupcakery but what is your slogan?
Taylor: The slogan for the shop is ‘Where a Cupcake is a Smile’s Best Friend’.
Goring: What are the different flavors you offer?
Taylor: We offer more than 100 flavors. Our Strawberry Ruby is very popular. Red Velvet of course, is very popular. In the summertime, Strawberry Champagne and Peach Cobbler are very popular. Sweet Potato is one of my favorites and the mini-sized cupcakes are very popular because I know a lot of people are food-conscious, health-conscious, sweet conscious.
Goring: What is your demographic?
Taylor: It’s 25 to about 55. We’re the Cosmopolitan girls, the Sex in the City girls, the Girlfriend girls…Women who are into fashion but moving forward into lifestyle, health, beauty, fitness, that type of thing. But also women who are on the move…I’m thinking of women who are in their late 20s, 30s, 40s…Sort of boutique girls. I feel like everybody wants to be a boutique girl at heart…A lot of people look at me and think I’m a girly girl type of girl but I’m so into sports and like the girl next door, that’s what a Boutique Girl is—the New Girl Next Door. Just kind of about love, life, happiness, trying to make ends meet. We shop at Marshall’s because we want the looks for less. We go to Home Goods because we like to decorate and make things pretty. It’s just all about happiness and love and positivity.
Goring: How many customers do you average per day?
Taylor: Our busiest days are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are still kind of slow. But I would say we average maybe about 25 to 30 customers on our busiest days. When there’s a festival, we average about 40 to 50 people. We’re closed on Sundays and Mondays. But we are returning to our Simple Sunday Brunch which we will do once-a-month.
Goring: Your business is not a bakery; it’s a cupcakery, right? What’s the difference?
Taylor: Yes. We are a retail shop. We do not bake on-site. We also promote products that are gift-centered like our minis, celebration tins, cupcakes in a jar, cake pops, specialty pops. We put things together to make a nice presentation. We are gift-oriented and about presentation. We have a baking team. Our off-site kitchen is about 40-45 minutes away. It’s a commercial facility.
Goring: Tell me more about a day at the cupcakery.
Taylor: At the cupcakery, we’re about customer service. People can eat in. It’s almost like going to Starbucks or any other coffee shop. We offer full services. You can come in, relax, be in a great environment, waited on by pretty girls.
Goring: Do you have to be pretty to work here?
Taylor: People ask me that all the time. But I just feel like if you’re confident, if you have inner beauty, if you’re nice to people it just shows on the outside. I’ve had different ages, sizes, skin color, races—everything—work here.
Goring: You have a beautiful store. What would you say is your theme?
Taylor: Modern, pretty girl…When I first began baking, I had banana-based cupcakes with pink frosting.
Goring: So that explains the banana yellow and passion pink painted walls. How do you want your customers to feel when they walk into your shop?
Taylor: I want them to feel happy. I want them to feel great about today. It’s cupcakes. It’s food…It’s a luxury treat. Our cupcakes cost three dollars. So nowadays maybe you can’t afford to get that designer bag that you want but you can get your cupcake and have your guilty pleasure for the day.
Goring: What do you hope your customers will get out of paying a visit to Pretty Girl Cupcakery?
Taylor: Great customer service, quality product, amazing desserts and overall a special experience. I want everyone to feel special when they walk in the door.