When Brittany Todd told her parents about her desire to open her own bakery after high school, they encouraged her to go to college instead.
Years later, after graduating and spending some time working as an investment banker, Todd ditched the office job to follow her dream, opening Rise Cupcakes in September 2011.
"I listened to my parents and gave it a shot but later decided I wanted to do something I was more passionate about," she said. "I've always loved to bake and cook."
Todd's decision was reinforced as the right one when success came quickly for her business. Her team of bakers found themselves completely sold out after 45 minutes on their first day, Todd said.
"We went from two employees to 10 in less than a week," she said. "The community really supported us through a lot."
The concept for the bakery was to bring a specialized service—something that could only be found in the city of Houston at the time—to a small town setting.
Todd started out baking only cupcakes but has since expanded into cakes, cookies, pies and other pastries.
"We make everything from scratch every morning," she said. "We try to use cage-free, local ingredients when we can."
The bakery offers traditional flavors, such as chocolate and red velvet, but has made a name for itself with its less conventional flavors and combination blends, including cookie butter, banana with sweet potato and butternut squash.
As her business grew, Todd sought ways to give back to the Friendswood community that had shown her so much support. She often works with the culinary programs at local schools in Friendswood, Pearland and Clear Creek ISDs.
"Students come into the bakery, and we come up with recipes," Todd said.
While she started out working 12-hour days, Todd has found more flexibility to get out in the community and experiment with new ideas as her business has grown.
She still enjoys all aspects of running her business, including coming in at
6 a.m. to start baking and working the front of the store.
"Baking is something that is so relaxing to me," she said. "I get to be creative and plan cakes for people's parties. I get to experience all [of the] joyful times of peoples' lives. I never get up and don't want to go to work."
Brittany Todd, owner of Rise Cupcakes, said her September 2013 appearance on the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" TV show opened a whole new dynamic for her store. The national spotlight brought in a new batch of customers, she said.
Todd regularly received suggestions from her clients to try out for the show. She and her team shot a quick video and sent it in, and less than two weeks later, they got a call to be on the show. Todd ended up finishing in second place.
"It was very overwhelming at the time," she said. "It was so fast-paced and something that was so outside of my box. I'm really glad I did it and might do it again someday."
In addition to staple flavors, Rise Cupcakes features four flavors that rotate every day, and new seasonal flavors that come in every month. Some seasonal flavors include:
pumpkin praline (November)
caramelized apple (November)
gingerbread with cream cheese (December)
peppermint mocha (December)
chocolate-covered strawberry (January)
In addition to working with culinary programs at local schools, Todd also works with the Clear Creek Special Olympics and Best Buddies programs for special-needs students, using her culinary skills to help with fundraisers.
907 S. Friendswood Drive, Ste. 113
Hours: Tue.–Thu. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. Noon–6 p.m., Closed Mondays