Last weekend in Toronto, I had the privilege of hosting the Greek America Foundation’s National Innovation Conference. One by one, I had the honor of introducing such an amazing line up and sharing the stage with some of the world’s top innovators, entrepreneurs and game changers.
One moment stood out the most— when I looked up on the screen and saw an image of a yiayia— she could have been anyone’s grandmother. But she was Katherine Ouzas, grandmother of Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis Berman, the sister act behind the wildly popular Georgetown Cupcake brand.
Katherine and Sophie spoke about their brand and how to transform an idea into a successful company. They also spoke about their philanthropic endeavors, including their support of various breast cancer initiatives and an annual campaign they support by shipping 10,000 cupcakes to US troops in Afghanistan.
Katherine spoke about their grandmother as their biggest inspiration and how they would follow her around in the kitchen as young girls, watching her bake during the holidays and special occasions.
Not merely a cupcake shop but a chain, occupying some of the most expensive and prestigious real estate in America— Newbury Street in Boston, Georgetown in Washington DC, Beverly Hills in California and soon, Buckhead in Atlanta, the chain has also sparked a hit TV show called DC Cupcakes on TLC Channel and two New York Times best-selling cookbooks.
The sisters left careers in fashion and finance to pursue their dream— a dream that started with their grandmother— a Greek immigrant, who spent time teaching the girls how to bake. And although the recipe that is responsible for their 8 million cupcakes sold annually may not be from the village where their grandmother comes from (but who knows, maybe they were progressive Greeks and invented the cupcake too?)… the inspiration comes from her.
Yet another American mainstream brand impacted and influenced by the founders’ Greek heritage. Tweet to Georgetown Cupcake and tell them how much you appreciate everything they do in our community and how they preserve the legacy of their roots. Or Tweet Katherine and Sophie directly.