PROVO — Megan Faulkner Brown, known to most people who buy her gourmet cupcakes as the Sweet Tooth Fairy, says hard work puts the frosting on her inspiration.
Speaking to other entrepreneurs and an audience of young women at a Women and Education Conference focused on "Confronting the Supermom Stereotype, Balancing Womanhood, Worship and Work" at BYU on March 8, Brown said she followed a feeling that led to opening her first store.
"It's the Spirit talking to us," she said. "I was baking, doing it at home, and I had a feeling. I had two kids, was pregnant with our third. My husband was about to lose his job in the housing market. My mom thought I was super crazy, but I couldn't let the feeling go."
Brown acted on that inspiration and told her grandmother her "business plan."
She wanted to make cupcakes and cookies and sell them. Her grandmother lent her $20,000 and she took the plunge, opening her first store in 2009 in Provo. On the first day, she sold sweets to more than a thousand customers.
"My passion is baking and connecting with people," she said. "I didn't know what (I was doing) but I knew why (I was doing this)."
She forged ahead, surrounding herself with good people and relying on her husband for the business decisions.
She and her husband now have nine more Sweet Tooth Fairy stores in Utah, Arizona, Texas and California and are looking at creating a national franchise.
She sold 36,000 cake bites in seven minutes on the QVC network.
Her cake bites were the featured "Snack of the Day" on the "Rachael Ray Show."
She won a $10,000 prize on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars "Rock of Ages" episode in 2012 with a Cranberry Wine & Brie Cheesecake cupcake and a Sweet Potato Pie cupcake.
And she's the mother of four young children as well as an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where she serves as a Young Women leader in her Lehi ward.
Brown related her story with humor and tears, describing an instance where listening to the Spirit saved the life of her first baby and pushed her to start a now-successful business in a tanking economy.
"It's not super-professional to cry," she said, "but we are at BYU, and a lot of tender experiences have helped me along the journey.
"I love our business, love that it's growing, but it's a crazy amount of work," she said. "You try to balance your divine role and your calling and socially what we think we're supposed to be and do. It's a tough struggle.
"The most important thing is to seek for stillness. Listen to yourself in a place with no clutter, no distractions. That's something that's hard to do. That's super challenging because we tend to put everything ahead of ourselves."
Brown advised those with dreams to follow those dreams and "shove negative thoughts out of the way."
"Heavenly Father has blessed us with so many gifts. We're all so talented. We're nurturers. We all have the capacity to work hard.
"Do whatever you need to do," she said.
Brown said there will be sacrifices and choices that have to be made. "You sacrifice time and money, but it's worth it," she said.
"Listen no matter what!" she said. "Again, follow your dreams."
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.