Everybody loves cupcakes.

Well, maybe not everybody, but most of us do, which is just one of the reasons why IVY invited Melissa Ben-Ishay, the founder of New York’s beloved Baked by Melissa handcrafted cupcake company, to share her experience with our members.

With Melissa at the helm, we enjoyed an evening of delicious baked goods and big ideas, and learned “How to Succeed in Business Using Creativity & Color.” Together, we discovered how to harness our inner artist and unleash our creativity to succeed in life and the marketplace.

To help you appreciate the evening in full color (pun intended), and to give you a better idea of the evening’s insights, we’ve included six inspiring quotes from Melissa’s presentation. This was an intimate, standing-room-only affair, and we’re pleased to share its key takeaways with you.

Life’s too Precious to Waste

“I wasn’t passionate about my job, and I didn’t know what I needed to do to succeed.”

Do what you love, and the rest will follow. That may seem a tired maxim at this point, but Melissa’s journey offers compelling evidence to the contrary. Prior to launching her bakery, Melissa was deeply dissatisfied, and in turn, at a loss for what was necessary to achieve. The message? Seize the day!

Blessing in Disguise

“I got fired, called my brother, and he said it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Life’s a journey, filled with ups and downs, accelerators and speed bumps, and always a surprise around the corner. It’s not always easy to see what lies ahead, but whatever happens, you should embrace change and be prepared for anything. You never know when a seeming curse is really an opportunity in disguise.

Take Control

“I did what made my happy instead of feeling sorry for myself.”

It wasn’t long after being fired that Melissa pursued an alternative course of action. Most of us would need at least a few days to lick our wounds after a job loss, but within 24 hours, Melissa was already at work building her company. With over a dozen locations, and a goal of selling 100 million cupcakes by 2020 (you read that right), clearly Melissa doesn’t believe in wasting time.

Fake it ’til you Make it

“In one week, we created the Baked by Melissa website using PayPal and my Ikea table with a white bed sheet to display our cupcakes.”

Melissa’s entrepreneurial origins follow the storied tradition of founders’ past. Apple was famously founded in a garage, just as Richard Branson used the word “Virgin” to denote his inexperience in business. Whatever the industry, and despite the odds, the secret is to launching a successful business is to take yourself and your product seriously until everyone else does the same.

Using a color palette inspired by Melissa’s cupcakes, of course!

Dream Team

“We have an extremely talented, hardworking group of like-minded people who truly love coming to work everyday…I love coming to work everyday, and it’s because of my team.”

Melissa credits the bulk of her success to others — to loved ones, supporters, and her outstanding team. Here, the takeaway is obvious. Hire brilliant people who share your vision, and thrive together in the work.

Think (or Bake) Outside the Box

“Bake outside the box.”

Anyone who has enjoyed a delicious Baked by Melissa cupcake knows that each is handcrafted with love and care. Melissa and her team are constantly innovating, always searching for exciting new flavors and ways to delight customers. The bottom line is to never stop aspiring to new heights. Keep challenging yourself to climb to new heights, or in Melissa’s case, to never stop imagining ways returning for more cupcakes.