Scott Noonan is the COO of Wicked Good Cupcakes. He’s married to Tracey Noonan, CEO, who is equally, if not more interesting than Scott. 🙂 After having dinner with Scott a few weeks ago it occurred to me that the story of Wicked Good Cupcakes is ripe with digital and CX learnings – he graciously agreed to let me interview him.
Scott and I have known each other since we worked together at a Boston-based interactive firm years ago. From the start I took an immediate liking to Scott. Anyone can ascertain that within minutes of meeting him, working with Scott is going to be special and meaningful. That feeling is even more significant when you count him as a friend.
Jason Fields: I wonder if you could give me a brief history of how Wicked Good Cupcakes came about, I know this was a home-grown, or rather a home-baked idea. Pardon the pun.
Scott Noonan: Yeah it really was. Just to give you a little background, my wife Tracey and her daughter Danielle are very close. Danielle had recently finished a 2-year program for graphic design and had moved out of the house. As a mother, it was a “last one leaving the nest” situation, and was tough for Tracey. Being artistic, she began to think of creative ways to do something together, so it could give her a reason to see her daughter once a week. At the time, she was a big fan of a show called “Ace of Cakes” about really ornate beautifully decorated cakes. So they found a cake decorating class they could take, once a week, make a couple cakes, have some drinks and be mother-daughter for a couple hours.
They enrolled, and our sharing society being what it is, they started to post some of their work on social media, Facebook etcetera, and people started to respond well to it. Responses like, ‘could you do something for my daughter’s birthday?’ ‘Could you do something for this wedding shower?’ So it started a discussion about the viability of this being more than a hobby. At the time, Danielle was open to trying new things and Tracey was looking for her next great gig. She’s had a few very successful companies in the past that she originated and then moved on from. So, it was a natural progression of ‘why don’t we take a look at what a baking endeavor might look like?’ Maybe it’s something we can turn into a business that we could both run together. And that was really the inception of it.
JF: So, after the formalization of a business, they moved from friends and family, the communities they both had. Tracey is a natural entrepreneur in her own right, but there was an event that allowed for national if not global exposure, what was that?
SN: So if you know anything about Tracey, she wakes up every morning and the world is one big flat place with no hills, walls, barriers, nothing. When we wanted to ship cupcakes across country, Tracey opted to put them in mason jars so they wouldn’t go stale, which became a product differentiator for us. We had been fans of the show ‘Shark Tank’ since it began. She woke up one morning and said she’d like to apply to be on ‘Shark Tank’ and get the cupcake jars invested in by ‘Shark Tank’. And of course knowing her the way that I do, I just nodded my head and said ‘sure, go for it’. And she did.
She went online, researched the application process and answered three or four questions through a web form. Within 24-hours she had a call from the producers; they really liked the story and product. They liked what she was doing, and the whole ‘Wicked Good’ branding. They believed that it was an interesting take on an age-old product that was trending heavily in the F&B markets. From there we went through several weeks of non-disclosures, lawyers, background checks, talking about the product, figuring out whether it would be good for the show or not, and of course, good for our brand. Within two months of the first call Tracey and Danielle flew to LA to film ‘Shark Tank’. What happened was a deal with Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful). They filmed in July of 2012, the show aired in April of 2013, and business, as you can imagine, just took off.