Reyne Hirsch is philanthropic and well-known in Houston's social scene. She has appeared on television and traveled the world, writing books and blogs on art appraising and antique collecting.
But her busy schedule hasn't stopped her from fulfilling a childhood dream: Co-owning a cupcake shop, Icing Cupcakes, with Bea Gutierrez and Debra Hoyt.
The three women attended high school together at Stratford, although they admit that they weren't very close. They had completely lost touch until a class reunion planning committee meeting brought them together and made them recognize a common dream.
The ladies' goal has been to think outside of the box, distinguishing their product from the competition by baking unusually-flavored, gourmet cupcakes that look as homemade as they taste.
Fast forward several months to November 2010, when they successfully launched the business, selling cupcakes on a word-of-mouth basis — first in an industrial kitchen, then with a store front and now in a small, old cottage in Katy (formerly occupied by Frosted Betty of Cupcake Wars fame).
From the beginning, the ladies' goal has been to think outside of the box, distinguishing their product from the competition by baking unusually-flavored, gourmet cupcakes that look as homemade as they taste.
"It's either dry or it's good," Hirsch told CultureMap. The important thing is to make each cupcake memorable.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect, though, is that the three women have fun while doing business, often playing loud music and practical jokes in the kitchen, sitting on the floor with shots of tequila, tossing around ideas for toppings and fillings.
Icing gets national attention
In March, Icing made headlines with a story on the Huffington Post and a full day of exposure on the AOL homepage. The ladies' entrepreneurial success and heartwarming background caught the attention of the producers of American Idol, who immediately contacted Hirsch about a reality television series.
Crews will begin taping on Thursday morning, as Hirsch, Gutierrez and Hoyt bake and prepare for a Cupcakes & Cocktails for a Cure event at Roak that evening. The last-minute rush will surely make for entertaining TV — as will the event itself.
Organized by Hirsch, the event is just one fundraiser in her campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man & Woman of the Year Award. The atmosphere, she tells CultureMap, will be very "Cirque du Soleil," with stilt-walkers, drums by Don Vaughn, ladies in hoop skirts to serve cupcakes, a photo booth and bites by Mi Luna and Hendricks Pub.
And, of course, a pool provided by Roak, which will likely overflow with bikini-clad attendees.
Crews will begin taping on Thursday morning, as Hirsch, Gutierrez and Hoyt bake and prepare for a Cupcakes & Cocktails for a Cure event at Roak that evening.
The Icing ladies will share 800 of their cupcakes, including some from the "Over 21" line — Margarita, Screw Driver, Jello Shot, White Russian and Piña Colada, each incorporating its respective spirits — as well as an introductory series of "Cool Kids" cupcakes, named for and decorated in the style of selected local personalities.
When the event ends, television crews will continue to follow Hirsch, Gutierrez and Hoyt as they seek out investors and look for the perfect storefront in Houston proper. One that will serve as an anchor for future Icing franchises and stand apart from the rest of the cupcakeries in town.
Cupcakes & Cocktails for a Cure takes place on Thursday from 6:30 until 9:30 p.m. Purchase advance tickets (which include entrance, one cocktail, a light dinner and unlimited cupcakes) here for $30, or at the door for $35. One hundred percent of proceeds will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.