Sisters risk it all... for cupcakes

Sisters turn childhood passion into baking empire
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(CNN)When sisters Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne left their lucrative jobs to start a cupcake shop, their parents were "dismayed."

"Our family thought we were crazy!" admits LaMontagne, who was a venture capitalist before she started Georgetown Cupcakes in Washington, D.C. with Berman, who similarly left a cushy job at Gucci.
"We didn't have much money and we didn't want to ask our friends and family for help. It was at the beginning of the recession," LaMontagne recalls.
    "We ended up maxing out our own credit cards."

    Well worth the risk

    Yet it was a gamble that seems to have paid off. The first day they opened, on Valentine's Day 2008, LaMontagne recalls that lines formed down the block.
    "I think it was because we were baking cupcakes from scratch and people could smell them being baked. We were using really good ingredients," she says.
    Georgetown Cupcakes has 18 different varieties of cake, some seasonal. Their most popular flavors to date are lava fudge and springtime lavender.
    "I think people can really tell if an owner has a passion for what they do," notes LaMontagne
    Today, the sisters bake over 25,000 cupcakes per day across six locations. The confections are shipped all over the country, and the sisters have not only published two cookbooks, but scored a reality show on TLC.

    Thanks to grandma

    Berman recalls the many weekends spent in their grandmother's kitchen while their parents were working. A Greek immigrant, she taught the pair how to make a range of sugary treats.
    "She was a huge influence on our lives growing up," recalls Berman, who laments that her grandmother passed away before she could see their enterprise take off.
    "Every time we're in here, we think of her, because she really is the reason why we started."