Johnny "Cupcakes" Earle came to Ball State to speak in the Excellence in Leadership series on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Pruis Hall. Earle grew up with a learning disability and started a t-shirt business with the shirts he originally designed for his metal band. Ball State EIL Speaker Series // Photo Courtesy
Johnny 'Cupcakes' Earle first of EIL speakers to visit campus
Growing up with a learning disability didn’t stop Johnny "Cupcakes" Earle from his dream. Johnny Cupcakes, Earle's T-shirt brand, started as a joke within his band and turned into a multi-million dollar business.
As part of the Excellence in Leadership Speaker Series, Earle will be coming to campus Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Pruis Hall to talk about his story of his business and growing up with a learning disability.
At 19, Earle took a break from college to start up a metal band and designed T-shirts for the band to sell at shows. He realized the potential for a T-shirt company and quit the band and job.
What: Johnny "Cupcakes" Earle in "Kickstarter: Empowering Entrepreneurs"
When: Oct. 3
Where: Pruis Hall
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Earle sold T-shirts out of his ‘89 Toyota Camry and online. His family helped him design and ship the shirts to customers.
The next step for Earle was to open a retail store. He designed the store to look like an old fashioned bakery, with baking racks and industrial refrigerators. The stores even have an aroma of frosting and each shirt is packaged in a pastry box.
Earle is able to create an experience for customers who go to his stores to buy the limited-edition shirts.
After creating a successful business, Earle wants to inspire future entrepreneurs with this event, titled "Kickstarter: Empowering Entrepreneurs."
Brie Ryan, a junior marketing major, is excited about Earle coming to campus.
“Earle was able to create his ‘Johnny Cupcakes’ brand that people are very familiar with," Ryan said. “As a marketing major, that is something I will need to do in my future career. I am hoping that he will tell us what everyone can do with their goals and dreams.”