Monday, June 02, 2014

With Love and Quiches

I read an awesome and inspirational book by Susan Axelrod - With Love and Quiches - A Long Island Housewife's Surprising Journey from Kitchen to Boardroom.  

Susan calls herself and "accidental success".  She simply had some time on her hands and started reading recipe books and gourmet magazine.  And she cooked and baked.  And she shared some of what she made with friends who complimented her.  So she baked some more.

She joined a gourmet cooking club.   She started to teach some cooking as a volunteer and then paid.

The book starts with her childhood and works all through her life from there.  It tells of her marriage.  Where she lived and the life she lead.

She had a friend, Jill, who she talked to and they decided "lets start a food business".  So they did.  They started making quiches and quickly moved to desserts like cheesecake.  Her company name - Love and Quiches.

Part of what makes the book interesting are the many of the stories tell of early selling  and baking catastrophes.  The naivety that made for interesting times.  The huge order she got then trying to fill the order.

Susan is obviously a determined sales person.  She would successfully call on restaurants and pedal her wares.  And she also started selling to airlines.

All was going well and business was growing bit by bit.  Then 9/11.  People stopped eating out.  Airlines did not fly.  Economic hard times hit and most of what she sold was "optional".  So the business almost went bankrupt.  It tells of her fighting through that and re-establishing and growing again.  Exciting.

I am always inspired by people who build great businesses from scratch.  I am doubly inspired that Susan built her business in a time when few other women were doing this.   I like stories of success against odds.

The book reminded me that business plans are good but often just listening to customers also works.

I know Susan and have toured her company and heard her speak.  She is modest and even slightly shy about her success.  For example, when I was moderating a panel at a Golden Seeds event, I asked her in front of the audience if she could share some statistics like "how much flour do you buy or how many cheesecakes do you make".  Her response was "we are a private company and do not share our details".  I thought the audience would have liked to know she buys by the train car and stores it in silos etc.

Great read.  Exciting, entertaining and inspirational.

1 Comments:

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspiring!

 

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