Speaker Johnny Cupcakes’ Key Accomplishments Include…
If you dream of inspiring cult-like brand loyalty—the kind that involves mile-long queues and even permanent tattoos—Johnny Cupcakes is for you. The founder of the world-renowned tee-shirt brand Johnny Cupcakes, Johnny’s known for helping other people create blueprints for building brand loyalty, creating memorable experiences, and inspiring innovation.
With global store openings, thousands of customers with his logo tattooed on themselves, people who camp out for his products, and high-profile collaborations with giants such as The Simpsons, Power Rangers, and Nickelodeon, Johnny was named America’s #1 Young Entrepreneur by Business Week, Top Innovator in Retail by The Boston Globe, and featured in INC magazine as the CEO of one of the world’s fastest growing independent businesses.
Despite being in one of the most difficult product categories to stand-out in, and a founder of a brand when he was just 19 years old, Johnny’s solution to his business challenges was to create such a unique brand experience that his customers would loyally line-up around the block, time and time again, just to be able to sport his logo on their clothing.
Since then, through his talks and creative consulting, Johnny has shared his strategies with clients that include Apple, L’Oreal, Disney, IBM, Audi, Harvard University, Wieden+Kennedy, Marriott, and P&G.
Also a TEDx speaker, Johnny has been featured in media such as MTV, NPR, Forbes, WIRED, Newsweek, and as a case study in several branding and business books.
More About Johnny “Cupcakes” Earle:
In 2001, Earle dropped out of music college after just two weeks. On a lark, he made a T-shirt with an image of a cupcake atop a pair of cross bones. The trenchantly iconic design got noticed and people started asking to buy his tees. Earle began selling them out of the trunk of his ’89 Camry and later at what he calls his “cupperware parties” and trade shows. “Guys think it’s funny and girls think it’s cute,” he says.
Today Earle has three Boston-area retail stores, a headquarters in Weymouth MA, and a fourth retail outlet on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. His limited-edition shirts and accessories are also sold in select stores in Paris, The Netherlands, Canada, and Scotland.
Earle, who hired his mother as his accountant, insists on using only high quality shirts manufactured in the U.S. and refuses to advertise or sell in chain stores, preferring to focus on his own stores. “I always turn down offers from investors and retail stores; some people say I’m crazy.” In 2008 Businessweek wrote, “His shops look like Willy Wonka-inspired bakeries, with vintage ovens serving as shelves that shoot fake steam. Instead of bags, purchases are put into bakery-style boxes. Earle says 600 people lined up for his Melrose store opening and he sold $29,000 in goods that day.” In 2011, the store’s revenue was $5.2 million.