7 Start-up Success Stories

Johnny Earle, Johnny Cupcakes
Courtesy Company
2 of 7

Johnny Earle, founder of Johnny Cupcakes

COMPANY: Johnny Cupcakes
FOUNDER: Johnny Earle, 27
LOCATION: Hull, Massachusetts
2008 REVENUE: $3.8 million
EMPLOYEES: 30
START-UP YEAR: 2001
START-UP COSTS: Roughly $6,700 for T-shirts and printing until 2003, when Earle committed to the business full time.
BREAKEVEN: Five years out on sales of $1.2 million
BIGGEST EXPENSE: $10,000 for a trade show
QUALIFICATIONS: As a kid, Earle was a master out-of-the-backpack retailer, selling candy and practical jokes.
RED TAPE: Piracy is rampant. Once Earle got serious about the business, he trademarked his logo and began copyrighting designs.