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Summer 2012 Sweet Spot

The Sweet Tooth Fairy extends bakery magic to franchises.

Megan Faulkner Brown has always loved to bake. “Some of my earliest memories are baking with my mom and grandma. It became a creative outlet as I grew older, and I baked for birthday parties, showers and gifts for friends and family in college,” she says. Recognizing that her day job as congressional assistant for U.S. Representative Chris Cannon might not last forever (it didn’t), she decided to get serious about her passion.

Faulkner Brown reached out to several food bloggers—one of them was CakeSpy, a popular baking blog. She sent samples of her Cakebites (small bits of iced cake dipped in chocolate), and the resulting coverage attracted the attention of the team at The Rachael Ray Show.

The Business

When Rachael Ray covered the treats, Faulkner Brown was just ramping up. “I didn’t even have the shop open yet and was still doing everything out of my own kitchen,” she says. Several months later, in January 2009, Sweet Tooth Fairy, based in American Fork, Utah, opened its first location in Provo.

A second store opened about a year later, and subsequent locations quickly popped up, with the company’s 10th store opening in Scottsdale, Arizona in March.

The bakery sells cookies, brownies, cakes, Cakebites, cupcakes and other sweet treats. Cupcakes include everything from strawberry shortcake to “Fairy Fetti,” which is filled with sprinkles, similar to Pillsbury’s “Funfetti.” Cakebites are offered in a variety of flavors including coconut, red velvet and lemon.

Since its inception, The Sweet Tooth Fairy has catered events for Disney, been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, and spotlighted on QVC—where Faulkner Brown sells the company’s Cakebites.

One of the challenges Faulkner Brown faces is clarifying the perception that Sweet Tooth Fairy only sells cupcakes. “A lot of people aren’t cake people, so we have brownies and bars and candy and ice cream, too,” she says.

The Franchise

The Sweet Tooth Fairy is in the beginning stages of franchising. Potential franchisees complete a prospective franchisee application; The Sweet Tooth Fairy provides
a franchise disclosure document.

“Once we determine that they’ve been approved, we help with the real estate selection process, provide some advice for financing and help with construction/build-out oversight,” Faulkner Brown says. The franchise owners and key employees train in an existing store for two to three weeks, and the company assists with the store’s grand opening.

Franchise fees are $20,000. In addition to that fee total costs to open a Sweet Tooth Fairy bakery range from $75,000-$200,000, depending on the location and size of the store.

Faulkner Brown says the mall market is of particular interest as the company expands, but The Sweet Tooth Fairy is taking it slow and steady when it comes to growth. “We are prospecting an outlet mall currently and have a lot of interest in the type and make-up of that clientele. We’re going to be selective where we grow, so we can make sure that we can support all the stores.”


Kristin Larson Contino

Kristin Contino is a freelance writer and copy editor based in Philadelphia. She writes for a variety of print publications and blogs, and also covers women's fiction for examiner.com.

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