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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sweet Tooth Entrepreneurs

Orakpo inside his Gigi’s cupcakes location in Austin. (Photo via @Rak98)

Being national champions and going to the NFL is not something we can all relate to, but a sweet tooth and a passion for entrepreneurship is something most of us can get behind.

For former Texas Longhorns teammates Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin, it’s the latter that has them opening a Gigi’s cupcakes location in Austin, Texas.

Introduced to the franchise after he signed with the Titans, Orakpo was hooked on the product and the brand from the first time he interacted with it.

“I first heard of Gigi’s cupcakes when I signed with the Tennessee Titans. Once I signed on the dotted line of my new contract, I was introduced to a dozen of them from my team and I fell in love.”

“Myself, with a couple other of my teammates and one other friend of mine, always talked about entrepreneurship. I know it’s a bit unorthodox for a football player to go into the cupcake business, but it actually worked out perfect since this company originated in Nashville, TN. I built up a really good relationship with the people from corporate and it really took off from there.” – Brian Orakpo

Like many athletes of today, Orakpo has turned to endeavors off the field knowing that at some point his playing career will come to an end.

“It has always been something I loved to do and had a passion for. Obviously, football is my first love, but you have to start thinking about your second career once you’re done. I cannot play this game forever, everyone knows that and you have to start preparing yourself,” said Orakpo when discussing why Gigi’s cupcakes made sense for him as an investment in his future.

Orakpo, who still lives in Austin during the offseason, knew that Gigi’s would be a hit for the community just based off of his own experience in the city when it came to trying to find cakes for his kids.

“It’s very important, it’s something I wanted to do and also I saw that this area that I live in there wasn’t any type of specialty cupcake, birthday cake type places to go to, especially with my son. All my kids birthdays are in the summer and it is always tough to find gourmet cakes and things of that nature in the area and so we always struggled with it, so I felt this was the perfect opportunity to bring a place like Gigi’s cupcakes in this area, not only for myself, but for surrounding neighborhoods and the community,” said Orakpo.

Although the sweet tooth is there for Orakpo, he understands you cannot just invest massive amounts of money into a business without doing the legwork that is required to be successful.

“Honestly, I am just a sweet tooth guy in general. It made my decision a lot easier. Also, it was a small investment that I wanted to do. When you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to do things you have a passion for, you don’t want to take that much risk unless you get the knowledge. I wanted to get the knowledge first, start off with something very small and just learn the industry. What better way than to get into a business with locations all around the nation.”

“We had a dream and we wanted to bring it to Austin, TX, and this is our first step to getting our feet wet in the business.” – Brian Orakpo

For someone who is used to being in the trenches on the field, Orakpo plans to find himself inside the shop and involved in everything from making the cupcakes to serving customers.

“I plan on having a lot of guest appearances in the shop and being involved. We already have a schedule where you will see myself serving and doing things to bring crowds and to bring a lot of excitement to our business. I will definitely have an apron on and be in the back whipping up some stuff for our customers,” he said.

As for what the two have planned for collaborating with Longhorns due to fact that the shop is in Austin, Orakpo didn’t want to give away all of their secrets just yet.

“We have all sorts of ideas involving the University of Texas, around our brand and what we have done for the city. There are definitely some marketing plans for the future,” said Orakpo with a smile.

One thing is for sure, athletes are utilizing their platforms outside of the game more than we have ever seen before and they are reaping the benefits. Gigi’s continues to expand and like many businesses, the use of an athlete with their product can present a huge opportunity.

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