This Tuesday, Nov. 13, Johnny Earle, better known as Johnny Cupcakes, will give a lecture and open a pop-up shop at 6 p.m. in the Rat.
The popular Johnny Cupcakes is famous for his clothing brand: T-shirts, sweatshirts, headwear and other accessories, all the while incorporating cupcakes into its designs. In addition to its online store, Johnny Cupcakes has bakery-themed stores in Boston, Los Angeles and London.
Earle founded Johnny Cupcakes in 2001, while touring the country as a member of a heavy metal band. He sold his self-designed T-shirts at concerts and built what he has described in interviews as a “cult following.” Johnny Cupcakes’ first store opened in 2005 in Earle’s hometown of Hull, MA.
“This is our marquee event for the year. This was my number one goal. I said, ‘We’re getting Johnny, I don’t care what has to happen, we’re going to make it happen,'” Andrew Veneziano, CSOM ’14, said enthusiastically about booking Earle to come to BC. Veneziano is the president of the Boston College Marketing Academy, which is hosting the event free of charge for BC students.
“Obviously the product is really cool, and it’s the only major clothing brand out there that really has something more to the shirt. You see someone on the street, you see Johnny Cupcakes, you get a conversation going," Veneziano said about the Johnny Cupcakes marketing strategies. The Marketing Academy wanted to book Earle as a lecturer specifically for his company’s “brand experience” strategy.
Veneziano singled out Johnny Cupcakes’ “There’s Something in the Cupcake Mix” event as an example of how the company differentiates itself. Traditionally, the week before Halloween, Earle and his staff don horror-themed costumes and unveil the company’s Halloween product line. In the past, loyal customers have lined up in front of the store more than 12 hours prior to the event’s start in order to get their hands on the clothing, with each piece of apparel limited to 200 in quantity.
This year, the company replaced its “There’s Something in the Cupcake Mix” event with “Cupcakes from the Crypt: Johnny Cupcakes Coffin Tour 2012.” The lecture at BC “is not his first rodeo,” Veneziano said.
The Marketing Academy’s goal is to have 400 students in attendance for the event, which will begin with a lecture from Earle, followed by a question-and-answer session and conclude with a pop-up shop, at which students will have the opportunity to buy limited edition Johnny Cupcakes lecture series clothes unavailable in any retail outlets or online, according to Veneziano.
“Come by, come early, and if you hate it, leave,” Veneziano said. “But you won’t hate it. He started when he was our age, so he knows where we are right now. He has a lot of really, really good advice. I guarantee this will be the best lecture you’ve ever attended at BC.”