When Torya Blanchard was a child, she was caught shoplifting from a local store on the eve of a family trip to Paris. Given the timing of the transgression, her immediate grounding was all the more painful. Only good girls get to go to Paris, her mother told her. Crushed, Torya quickly cleaned up her act, but never forgot Paris.
As an adult, she took a job at a Detroit public school where she taught French for five years until her passion for Paris and its cuisine, sparked years before by her mother's slap on the wrist, finally bubbled to the surface.
Blanchard quit her job in 2008 at the age of 31. She cashed out her 401(k) and, without any business or restaurant experience, used the $20,000 to open up a tiny creperie in downtown Detroit. In the spirit of her mother's motto, Ms. Blanchard named it Good Girls Go To Paris.
Good Girls was born during a bad time in Detroit -- amidst abandoned factories, vacant commercial buildings, and homes that were either boarded up or bulldozed. The median home price in the city fell to $7,500 in December 2008 while the jobless rate jumped to nearly 50 percent over the next year.
Weak demand in the Motor City's sputtering real estate market enabled Blanchard to rent out space on the cheap. And her risky bet that the neighborhood would buy low-cost, high-quality crepes, a dish she says most locals had never even heard of, has paid off. Today, business is booming. Good Girls offers 40 different types of crepes, has expanded to a midtown location, and is about to open another spot.
"When I started out, [Good Girls] was 48 square feet and it's moved to 1,000 square feet. I have more employees, I'm able to give employees that want it insurance -- and I'm able to insure myself," Ms. Blanchard told Huff Post.
In the first installment of The Huffington Post's new video series on individuals who dove into entrepreneurship after losing or leaving their nine to five, we give you the story of Torya Blanchard and her Detroit creperie, Good Girls Go To Paris.
Watch the story below:
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more