NFL Players enjoying a Sweet Retirement, Gigi's Cupcakes Franchise

Jan 09 2019 4 Comments Tags: Baking Business, Baking Inspiration, Cake Business, Cake Inspirations, trending, Wedding Cake Inspirations

Two NFL Players are enjoying a Sweet Retirement with the opening of their Gigi's Cupcakes Franchise.

Not that I have a ton of time for TV these days, but I happened to come across this commercial for the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 that included two NFL players talking about cupcakes.

So, after I looked up from my phone...because what else does one do when commercials are on TV, but browse their social media feed...I caught the tail end of what appeared to be a fairly entertaining mini-story about these football players who owned a cupcake shop.

I was like..."wait, what?!?" So, I Googled the commercial, and here's what I discovered. 

So, the story goes...two former Tennessee Titans along with one of there fellow University of Texas alumni teamed up to open a Gigi's Cupcakes in Bee Cave, TX, a small town Northwest of Austin.

According to, the idea to go into the baking business "all started in February 2017, when [Brian] Orakpo, [Michael] Griffin and their good friend Bryan Hynson were eating lunch in Nashville and plotting possible business ventures."

The article goes on to say that, "Griffin was out of football after a 10-year NFL career and looking for something to occupy his time. Orakpo, then 30, was looking ahead, eyeing potential interests after football. Hynson worked in banking."

Apparently Orakpo & Griffen first discovered Gigi's Cupcakes when they played together for the Nashville based Titans, and reportedly they were fans of Gigi's also a Nashville based cupcake franchise.

NFL Cupcake Commercial with Brian Orakpo & Michael Griffin open Gigi's Cupcakes, spark franchise conversation among bakers.They took their college friend Hynson on a cupcake excursion, and not long after that, they began plans to open a Gigi's Cupcake franchise in the Austin area. about a year ago...actually I looked it up...January 23, 2018 to be exact...

I hosted a training as a part of our Business Term of the Week segment for the Sugar Coin Academy where we discussed the term "Franchise". If you're an academy member, make sure to log in to watch the full episode.

However, if you haven't renewed your subscription yet, I'll give you the overview.

I explained the general definition of a franchise, and then I went on to talk about how owning a franchise might be a really great idea for some sweet peeps in the baking and sweets industry. 

Of course, everyone didn't agree, and I respect that...BUT...

I feel like for folks who (1) want to own a store front and (2) don't have experience in running a retail bakery could really benefit from the organizational and process structure of joining a successful franchise, especially if the baker or sweet maker doesn't mind owning a company that isn't their own personal brand. 

So for instance, if you've built up your brand's name over the past 5 or 10 years and every one knows you as "Sweets by Cyd." It may be hard to walk away from that brand identity and embrace owning a new brand in order to have a store front.

To me, the primary benefit of going the Franchise route is (obviously) the ability to move forward with a store front that has a "proven business model".

Basically, the main benefit of owning a Franchise is that you (should) be signing up for "business in a box" (so to speak).

Now, every Franchise wasn't made equal, and some Franchisors are more hands on and provide more support than others. However, the ideal Franchisee/Franchisor relationship is one where the Franchisor has really nailed down their business model, and it provides resources & tools that set the Franchise owner up for business success

Anyway...I could go on and on about the benefits and pitfalls of franchising, but I won't bore you with my nerdy way of thinking. I'll move on to the point of this article. 😂

This entire story excites me for three main reasons...

One. It's a pretty awesome thing to see professional athletes embrace entrepreneurship with an open mind. I mean let's be real peeps. These guys could have invested in (literally) ANY other franchise in the world! Subway. McDonald's. Shoot...Sport Clips would have even been a better option for a pair of former football players!! Instead, they decided on opening a cupcake shop because they were fans of the product. That speaks volumes!

Two. It is great to see one of our own Gigi Butler get some shine! I know some haters are going to look at her business as a "big brand", but if we're being honest Gigi is just like a lot of us. She has an entrepreneurial spirit, a talent for baking and she took a gamble on herself! I (for one) am proud to see her winning because when you have a "grind that won't stop" and a "hustle that won't quit" the only thing you can do is succeed!! If you aren't familiar with Gigi Butler, make sure to take a moment and check out her story(Oh and not to mention the first Gigi's Cupcakes was in my home state of Tennessee...but that's just a bonus!)

Three. This one is more of a selfish excitement. LOL! I love the fact that (almost one year) after I conducted that Franchise themed Business Term of the Week training, these guys are showing a perfect example of why I'm such an advocate of franchising. I know there are pluses and minuses to running any business, but for those who have the money to invest, just want to own something for themselves AND want to forgo the part of feeling like they have to figure it all out on their own...franchising just feels like a sweet deal!

Would you own a franchise?

So...with all of that said...what do you sweet peeps think about the franchise option? Would you prefer to build your own brand and get the satisfaction of figuring out (or not figuring it out) on your own?

OR...if you had the financial resources to do so, would you go the franchise route if it meant you knew that you were walking into a proven & successful business model? 

I mean...there is really no right or wrong answer.

I feel like it would be pretty cool to have a hybrid franchise arrangement. Something like, where you could purchase the business model and operations part, but you could keep your own brand name and colors. LOL! That may be wishful thinking though.

What do you peeps think (Post YOUR THOUGHTS below and let's discuss!)

UPDATE: According to ESPN, "Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Brian Orakpo officially announced his retirement from the National Football League on Monday, December 31, 2018.

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Cydni Mitchell is the owner of Sweet Fest the company that helps bakers and sweet business owners in their sweets businesses.


About the Author

Cydni N. Mitchell (aka Cyd) is the bakery and Sweet Business Coach behind Sweet Fest®. Based in Atlanta, GA, Sweet Fest® is an online company that supports the business needs of the Sweet Community in the areas of professional development, marketing and branding. By trade, Cyd is an accountant & financial analyst with a Masters from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also the Co-Founder of the Sugar Coin Academy, an online business academy for business owners in the baking and sweets industry.


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  • And GiGi’s filed chapter 11 just before your article…


    Some franchises are tried and true sure. Some are money grabbing care nothing about their owners. Others are very incorporating of their owners. My husband works for a franchise owner, and it’s an amazing set up. The cooperation cares for each business.

    Now my friend works for a different franchise and corporate doesn’t care at all about the owners or workers as long as they are profiting.

    So my opinion on franchises comes down to the integrity of the franchise itself.

    Laura on
  • First off Im a big football person. During football I saw Brian Orakpo & Michael Griffin cupcake commercial. I would like to open my cupcake shop but am struggling. I wanted to see how they did it & if they would back me.

    April Fisher on
  • LOL I did the thing too. Just saw the commercial and googled it and saw your article. It was great. Franchise sounds like the way to go to me. But you do have to have $$$$

    Terrie Howell on
  • Ha, I did the same thing! Immediately googled them after the commercial, and glad I came across your article. Thanks!!

    Jacqueline Diaz on

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