Owning a business can be an exhilarating yet frustrating experience all wrapped up together. That bitter-sweet dynamic that is business ownership takes a lot of ingenuity and courage to persevere through but I would not trade it for the world.
When I think about business I immediately think about two facets, the entrepreneurship side and the restaurant industry side. My mother’s family have been business owners for over 35 years owning a successful paving company based out of Chicago, Illinois. My father’s family have been in the restaurant/catering industry for approximately 25 years where my grandmother owned a catering company. Along with those experiences my parents owned several restaurants for years. So there is no doubt my professional career was paved for me - no pun intended. It is not only a blessing but destiny that I would own a business in the food industry. Starting my Marshmallow business really does honor my parents and grandparents so that I can continue a great legacy.
FROM THE BEGINNING
The start of Harper House of sweets being the Home of the Gourmet Marshmallow took a lot of out of the box thinking particularly when it came to how we were going to distribute our product. We began attending small local craft shows and farmers markets. Those 5 months that we went back and forth in the rain, snow, and heat were grueling and it really did not give us the best return on our investment. There were more times where we spent long hours just to come in contact with 10 to 12 people. These 5 months made us quickly reevaluate our model and we began to look at different ways to not only introduce our product but make money also. The question that we had to ask ourselves was ‘What could we do to make sure that we worked smarter and not necessarily harder?’
Our out-of-the-box thinking paid off. We found that there are a lot of local restaurants and even franchises who believe in the small business owner and are willing to entertain the thought of promoting a new product to their audience. My Dad helped me a lot by introducing me to business owners that he knew and that laid the foundation for my gourmet marshmallows being made available to consumers. Having our product in restaurants provides a personalized experience to excite and engage customers. It also gives them an easy accessible way to experience products that they ordinarily would not know are available. We are seeking to strategically collaborate with entities who have a great reputation, solid audience, and complimentary product to continue to introduce consumers to gourmet marshmallows.
COLLABORATION CREATES COOPERATION
Relationships in Business is imperative. My Dad always says that “building good, honest business relationships is the key to having a successful business.” I believe that is really true, because as my Dad has mentored me and introduced me to various business owners and I have built a separate relationship with them I have seen the synergy that we have developed. Harper House of Sweets’ Gourmet Marshmallows are available in Raymond’s Pizza in Liberty Township, OH and because we’ve developed a good business relationship Raymond referred me to another business that I am obtaining a purchase order from. I met the owner of Little Sprouts Boutique and she has been a great inspiration to how I want my business run and gave me the opportunity to sell my gourmet marshmallows in her store. My gourmet marshmallows are being sold in Karma in the Kitchen in West Chester, OH and she helped me with my packaging, referred me to a chocolatiering school along with some other helpful business tips. In return I have promoted their businesses on my Facebook page, website, Instagram, and word of mouth. So, I have experienced first hand the usefulness and power of collaborating and cooperating with one another. It is great to be able to have the freedom to strategically develop the Harper House of Sweets brand Home of the Gourmet Marshmallow and be able to introduce our product abroad on a local and national level.
SATISFACTION OF COLLABORATION
One thing that I have truly learned owning my own business is that it is not just about me. I realize how what I do affects more than me which is why collaborating with other business owners is important. Being in restaurants/stores give us a way to make our presence known to our community. I get to work with incredible people who own local businesses and we get to cross promote each other. It really is the best of both worlds. Getting to have a built in consumer really tests how the people view our product. This model has been the key to our success thus far.
The success of our collaborations has inspired us to do a 6-month business blitz. We want to see in six months how many more businesses can we look to promote and collaborate effectively within our community. We want to not only grow our business but help others to do the same.
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