Chef and Cupcake Stylist Talks Changing Lanes

Goodbye Corporate, Hello Cupcakes: Entrepreneur’s Life is as Sweet as It Looks

Trina Monique (Image: Tres Chic Cupcakes)

“When I went to culinary school, it would really take my mind off of things and help me deal with the most difficult chapter in my life. Never in a million years did I imagine it would lead to where I am now.”

–Trina Monique, Owner, Tres Chic Cupcakes

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Having the ability to roll out of bed and do what you love for a living, is undoubtedly a gift that most entrepreneurs receive every morning but many of them, like celebrity chef Trina Monique, who owns Trés Chic Cupcakes, had no idea that they would ever be the recipients of such great pleasure.

As lead cupcake stylist of her brand, Chef Trina worked diligently to put herself through college, and twice as hard to provide a stable life for she and her daughter. Determined to succeed, she found herself climbing the banking industry’s corporate ladder, eventually earning the title of  assistant vice president—a position she held for six years. But in the prime of Trina’s career, tragedy struck, and she was faced with the untimely death of her mother, a reality she’d never anticipated.

That’s when everything changed.

“I’ve always had a passion for the culinary industry. I started to cook at the age of five. My mother and I would create dishes together. After my mother’s untimely death, my love for the culinary arts grew even more, reminding me of the happy time we spent in the kitchen together,” said Chef Trina.  “When I went to culinary school it was really take my mind off of things and help me deal with the most difficult chapter in my life.  Never in a million years did I imagine it would lead to where I am now.”

Since becoming a chef and focusing on her “cupcakery” full time, the 37-year-old entrepreneur’s been called on to create specialty custom treats for high-profile clients including Donna Karan, Serena Williams, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Common, Big Sean, Kyle Lowry and more.

Black Enterprise caught up with Chef Trina Monique to talk faith over fear, her customized cupcakes, and how she stumbled into, what we like to  call, “the good life”.

What were your reservations about transitioning from corporate to cupcakes?

My biggest reservations about making the transition were losing the stability of my guaranteed income and the fear of facing the unknown. Whether I went to work, was out sick or was on vacation I would receive a paycheck on the 15th and 31st of every month.  As a single parent and the sole provider stability became a very vital part of my decision making process. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I knew it was the perfect time to make the transition from side hobby to empire.

What kept you motivated during your transition?

My faith has been very instrumental in keeping me motivated during my transition. No matter how many obstacles and challenges come before me, I have faith that I will never be faced with more than I can handle.  My very close friends and family have also kept me motivated on this journey.  My mother always instilled in me at an early age, there wasn’t anything I could not accomplish.  She always said things may not happen when you want them to but God is always on time. Also I have confidence in my product and my God given talent.   I strongly believe everyone has been blessed with a talent, it is extremely critical to identify, feed and hone that talent.

Read more about how Chef Trina was able to transition into entrepreneurship from working in banking on the next page …