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AFM Tête à Tête: Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne

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Some people can barely stand a Thanksgiving dinner with their sibling, let alone run a successful business with them. Sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne not only run one of the top cupcakeries in the nation—Georgetown Cupcake in Washington, D.C.—but they are the hilarious and relatable stars of TLC’s “DC Cupcakes.” Read on as the beautiful bakers discuss sisterly love and how their hit show came to be.

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AFM: What inspired you to leave your successful careers and open Georgetown Cupcake?
We always had a dream of opening a bakery together, ever since we were little girls baking with our grandmother in her kitchen. We always knew we wanted to do it but were too scared. Finally, in 2007, we said, ‘If we don’t do this now, we’re never going to do it.’ So, we quit our jobs and opened Georgetown Cupcake on Valentine’s Day 2008.
AFM: Yours was the first cupcakery in Washington, D.C. Why cupcakes?
We wanted to do one thing and do it really well but still have a variety on our menu. Cupcakes provided the perfect opportunity to do that.
AFM: Has baking always been a big part of your lives?
Our grandmother was from Greece, and we spent the majority of our childhood with her because our parents both worked. She was always baking from scratch in the kitchen every day. It was a huge part of our family culture, and our grandmother was a strong influence on us growing up. We loved baking with her. It was a special bond we had with her.
AFM: How did “DC Cupcakes” come to be?
We had a television producer come into our shop as a customer and witness the chaos behind the front counter—and asked us if we were related. We told him we were sisters, and he said that he thought that our lives would make a great TV show. We laughed it off at first, but before we knew it, we were filming our first season of ‘DC Cupcakes’ on TLC. Our second season just wrapped in April, and we’re starting to film new episodes this summer. The show has been a fantastic experience, and we’ve been getting such great letters from fans saying that they now want to open bakeries with their siblings.
AFM: What is it like being in business with your sister?  
It’s great because you can be completely honest with each other. The relationship you have with your sister is very special and unique and unlike any other relationship. We can get into a heated argument about a business decision, and then 10 minutes later we’re over it and grabbing lunch together. We never take anything personally. It’s very helpful when you are running a business.
AFM: What do you love most about what you do and what are the challenges?
The best part about owning a bakery is the ability to give back to the community. It’s so heartwarming to see that something as small as one cupcake can make a difference in somebody’s day and make them smile. We get to be a part of people’s special events in life and can make people happy in a tangible way every day. One of the challenges in running a bakery is that we start from scratch every day, so there is a lot of room for things to go wrong. There has never been a day where everything goes smoothly, but you learn to embrace that fact.
AFM: Discuss your charitable involvement.
We love working with women’s and children’s organizations and donating cupcakes to local and national charities. We also had an amazing opportunity to donate 10,000 cupcakes to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan this past holiday season—that was the highlight of our year. We got to bake them in the Pentagon and send them overseas on a C-17 military jet as
holiday treats for the troops.