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Every year, Young Americans hosts a free business competition for youth ages 6 to 21. We encourage anyone with a business, whether it be mowing lawns, walking dogs, designing greeting cards, or crafting jewelry, to enter the competition. In 2012, the winner of our 12-15 age group was Lyla Padden of Flour Gal. She won $1,000 and was matched with a business mentor to support her cupcake business.
It’s always a thrill to see these young business owners succeed on any scale — in a sale, a new product, and especially our competition. However, the success Lyla has seen recently has been phenomenal!
A talent for baking
Lyla, now 13, began baking cupcakes when she was 10 after learning recipes from her grandmother and namesake, Lyla. Since starting her company, she has developed her own unique recipes, like the “MexiCali” which has salsa inside and jalapeno frosting on top.
In early February, Lyla decided to apply to The Today’s Show‘s “Stars of Tomorrow”, a talent competition for youth. A few weeks went by and she completely forgot about the application. However, one day Lyla was home sick from school and her mother, Monica, got a phone call – Lyla had WON! She was one of four winners and would be flown out to New York City to appear live on The Today Show to showcase her baking talent.
The media frenzy begins
Her appearance was scheduled for Friday, March 15, but Denver’s local news stations got wind of her success first. Monday, March 11, Lyla chatted with Gregg Moss on 9News about her upcoming appearance. You can watch that video here:
On Thursday, March 14, Lyla flew with her mom, Monica, to New York. She had never been before, so the entire trip was a lot of fun new experiences. They went to Carlos’ Bakery, from “The Cake Boss”, her favorite TV show, and even got a tour and met the family members. They also took the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. However, they first had to do a national TV interview.
“When we got to New York on Thursday, we met with the TV representative and they told us how the interview would go and gave us suggestions for what to say. We had a rehearsal where the producer asked us questions that would probably be asked by Al Roker.”
Early Friday morning, Lyla and Monica went to the studio to get their hair and makeup done.
“I was so nervous about messing up on national TV. The night before I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep, but when we got there it was really hectic and things just started going!”
Around 8:00 a.m., Lyla went on TV live with Al Roker. Lyla was so natural talking with Mr. Roker and showing him how she makes her “Lyla Originals” cupcakes. Watch the complete interview here:
Coming back to school on Monday after her adventurous weekend was fun.
“Everyong was hugging me when I got back to school. My entire school had watched the interview live during morning announcements, and some of the teachers even showed it again in their classes. I have a friend who said she saw it three times in one day. Everyone just wanted to talk about it a lot.”
Even though Lyla is back to doing homework and mixing cupcake batter, the Denver media interest hasn’t slow up. On Tuesday, March 20, Lyla was once again showing a new anchor how to make her “Lyla Originals,” this time with Tom Green on Channel 2′ Daybreak. Watch the fun interview here:
For now, Lyla plans to lay low over Spring Break However, come summer, she is planning to continue to bake a lot of cupcakes and explore renting some commercial kitchen space.
Lyla says that the best lesson she learned from her national TV exposure is that her business is “not just about cupcakes. It’s about me, too.”
If you were a news anchor, what would YOU ask Lyla? Tell us below!