Looking at photos of Tia Antoine, anyone could be forgiven for thinking she was a model… perfectly coifed hair, flawless complexion, curves in all the right places, a keen sense of fashion… But this glamour-puss has not just launched her own line of clothing or not-so-fragrant perfume – she has launched her cup cake business!
The 27-year-old was born and raised in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; having attended the Kingstown Preparatory School, Girls’ High School and the SVG Community College. She migrated to the U.S to pursue a university education, and graduated in 2005 from State University of New York.
Tia, who has been self-employed since graduating, said that the idea for starting her cup cake venture came to her after an extended period of inactivity, career-wise.
“I was spending way too much time at home doing nothing… I’d had enough. So I decided to start a business.
“At first I thought catering… then one day I was going through my last birthday party pictures, and saw a gift one of my friends had given me – half a dozen cupcakes from Crumbs. Cupcakes!”
That was Tia’s proverbial ‘light bulb’ moment…
After much hard work and tears, figuring out start up costs and sourcing recipes, Tia officially launched CupQuakes on January 28, 2011.
So far, business is looking bright. Launched just in time for the Valentine’s Day rush, CupQuakes has received enough orders to keep Tia busy until the end of March… and the orders are still rolling in. Like any normal person, she admits that sometime she doubts her ability to please the customers.
“I can be hard on myself… I get nervous at times… [but] so far everyone is singing praises, so I know I’m doing something right!
“My main mission is to have customers LOVE CupQuakes and keep coming back.”
The Brooklyn resident said that she hopes the business will be so successful that she can start shipping nationally, and open a shop front within the first year of operation.
Tia also explained that she believes in self reliance, and encourages others to pursue self-employment.
“If you have talent/skill, capital, and there’s a demand for whatever you want to do – and you’re willing to take the risk – go for it!
“Just know that the road isn’t a smooth one. Keep encouraging yourself, and make sure to have a positive circle of people around you. You will need them.”
In the long term, Tia is planning to open a restaurant in St. Vincent by 2019.
“That is my ultimate dream. My dad had two restaurants before he died. In some way, I’m doing this for him. I want his memory to live on through me.”
Tia took the opportunity to thanks her friend, Devon Smith, who challenged her to start her own business; and all her friends and family – especially her mother, who resides in St. Vincent.
“No matter how grandiose my dreams are, she is behind me 100%.”
She also thanked God for blessing her with the talent and zeal needed to enable her plans to come together.
- favourite dish is curried chicken
- favourite author is Amy Tan
- has an eclectic taste in music
- maintains a blog, and writes restaurant reviews on Life of the City
- self-confessed “home body”