What do you get when you cross dog treats with cupcakes? Why, Pupcakes, of course. And Pupcakes are the brainchild of Renee
Diaz (née King), founder of The Queen's Cups, a custom cupcake shop and bakery that specializes in cupcakes of all kinds, but especially those for your beloved pets. So, you're probably wondering how all this came about . . .
The Queen's Cups Story
Fresh out of college with a
psychology degree, Renee founded The
Queen's Cups seven years ago when she was only 23 years old. It
is a Worcester, MA, bakery specializing in cupcakes. And Renee has
been selling Pupcakes for the past five years.
It came about like this . . .
After graduating from college,
Renee found herself doing a lot of baking in her parents' kitchen
because she had both a love and a talent for it. "She began
showcasing her products on social media and, before she knew it, had
quite the following. With the help of her parents, she opened a small
shop in Millbury, MA. However, during this time business exploded,
and The Queen's Cups moved to its new location in Worcester where
they bake delicious desserts, hold events, host amazing musicians and
more. The Queen's Cups has become a destination for visitors from
across the country."
Despite success and explosive
growth, The Queen's Cups remains a family affair. Renee's father,
Paul King, is one of the baker's and originator of the Pupcakes
recipe, and her mother, Barbara King, takes care of a multitude of
business-related tasks. And then there's the name – The Queen's
Cups – which is an obvious play on the family surname, King.
Today, The Queen's Cups sells
well over 250 Pupcakes, as well as hundreds of other cupcakes of all
kinds, every week. And that's in addition to their other many baked
goods – cookies, brownies, whoopie pies, cinnamon rolls, and more –
as well as their in-demand catering services and the special events
Renee's advice to aspiring
entrepreneurs like herself? "[F]ollow your passions and work
hard. The rest will find a way of taking care of itself."
If Renee's success is any
measure, that's sound advice.
The Genesis of Pupcakes
Dog lover's are . . . well . .
. let's say "enthusiastic" about their beloved pets.
Spending on pet food and pet treats passed the $32-billion mark in
2018. And "the majority of pet owners consider their pets to be
family members and are willing to go the extra mile to make sure
their furry friends are well pampered" (American
Veterinarian). "In 2004, 77.2% pf dog-owning households
purchased treats for their pets," and in 2015 17% of dog owners
spent more than $30 a month on dog treats (Pet
Still, some of the team at The
Queen's Cups had some doubts about Pupcakes in the beginning . . .
They were having a
conversation one day and batting around the idea of dog treats,
especially cupcakes for dogs. Renee's dad, Paul, said no one would
buy such a thing. Nevertheless, he said he'd research it and see what
he could come up with. So Paul came up with a recipe, and they got to
were unleashed on the world . . .
In short order, Pupcakes
became one of Queen's Cups' top sellers. It was their most-sold
cupcake in the first tally of sales results. Now, Pupcakes maintain a
position among the top five best selling cupcakes, usually holding a
spot around number four.
What Are "Pupcakes"?
just what is a
Pupcake," you ask. Well, it's a cupcake for dogs, as the name
suggests. But, really, it's more than that.
a pupcake is a human-edible cupcake with a Milk Bone-like dog treat
placed on top. It is made with healthy ingredients like peanut
butter, honey, oats, and carrots and made to look appealing to pets
and their owners. You can eat them if you want, but then your pups
won't get theirs.
dog owners buy their pets Pupcakes to celebrate their birthdays and
other special occasions. And many people come in daily to get their
dog a Pupcake because . . . well, just because. In addition, the
popularity of Pupcakes has resulted in some well received spin-off
dog treats such as big sellers like the Nutella cookies and chocolate
a look at these examples . . .
The Dog-Friendly Bakery and Bandanas
As should be plain by now, The
Queen's Cups isn't your typical cupcake-producing bakery. Nope, not
in the least. Because the Queen's Cups is a dog-friendly bakery, it
has that special, added dimension that is so rare.
For example, Barbara told us,
a woman who tutors brings her student to The Queen's Cups for the
tutoring sessions. And the student brings along his dog. So while the
woman tutors and the student learns, the dog spends his time happily
It was only natural, then,
that they would get involved in the hottest trend in pet accessories
bandanas. They thought it would be a nifty marketing idea, but on
mentioning it to customers, they were surprised at the response.
Customers said they wanted the
dog bandanas and would buy them. So now dog bandanas bearing The
Queen's Cups logo are in the works and will soon be available. Soon,
you can go to The Queen's Cups, get yourself a sweet treat, get your
dog a Pupcake, and set your pet up with some cool new pet attire.
The Bandana Source
To keep customers happy and
their pets fetchingly attired, the folks at Queen's Cup had to get
their bandanas somewhere. So as the idea for dog bandanas took shape,
they (naturally) Googled "dog bandanas." And one of the top
results they got was for Wholesale
for Everyone. They ordered some, and that clinched the deal.
When asked why Queen's Cups
now gets all their dog
bandanas from Wholesale For Everyone, Barbara King (Renee's
Mother and second in command) had a ready answer: "Price and
awesome customer service. They are," she said, "very easy
to work with."
Here's an example . . .
Renee first ordered 60
bandanas from Wholesale For Everyone – without knowing that an
order of 72 would get her significant savings. So Dan Weaver at
Wholesale For Everyone called her up and advised her to wait a bit on
the order. He added another 12 bandanas to the first order so that
Renee could get them at a much cheaper price. And another time, Renee
placed an order for larger bandanas. So, again, Dan called and
advised ordering a variety of sizes so that they could try them out
and see what worked best – instead of ordering a large quantity of
a single size that might not work.
Barbara summed it up like
this: "Dan at Wholesale
For Everyone was looking out for our best interests."
Charitable Work of Queen's
Renee and The Queen's Cups
team are also deeply involved with local charities. In fact, they
discourage tips to for staff and encourage customers, instead of
tipping, to donate that money to local charities.
So every month, The Queen's
Cups chooses a different charity to support. For April it is the
Worcester Animal Rescue League (WARL).
Founded in 1912, the WARL is
"dedicated to the care of the animals who provide so much for
their human companions." Originally founded to "save
overworked and abused farm horses," the organization has
"expanded and changed to protect, care, and love our cats and
dogs throughout Central Massachusetts. Our staff and volunteers are
dedicated champions to this cause and act as caretakers for the
animals and educators to their human counterparts."
Good food and the support of
good causes at The Queen's Cups – what could be a better
Going Above and Beyond
Why have Renee and The Queen's
Cups been so successful so fast? It's simple really.
Of course, tasty, quality products that keep people coming back is an important ingredient in the recipe. More important, though,
is the fact that Renee is more
than just an entrepreneur and The Queen's Cups is more than a mere
business. Giving back to and supporting the community is the key
Among many other awards, Renee
was just selected this March by the SBA as the 2019 Young
Entrepreneur of the Year in Massachusetts. The selection criteria for
this award include community support and involvement – not just
business acumen. "I am so grateful," Renee said, "to
be recognized for the work I have tried to do with my staff and
community. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way."
You can contact Renee and the
team at The Queen's Cups by emailing email@example.com
or by filling out the
form. Or check out their Facebook
page for news, events, and tons of photos of both goodies and