Tell us about your business.I knew in Law School that wanted to have my own business, however, I expected to practice for a while and raise capital before opening a store front. The web however, allowed me to dip my toe into it before working on it full time. Brownies had always been my signature recipe that everyone wanted--but I refused to share. I had been perfecting my recipe since I was nine years old and took a cooking class. Although, my business has gotten much bigger our process is essentially the same and really no different from baking at home. Our brownies are all natural and made in small batches. Everything is packaged by hand and beautifully and carefully packaged. I hope the business continues to grow and becomes a house hold name--but I do not want our attention to detail and quality to ever change.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.Our bakery is fairly new as we moved the business recently from Hood River, Oregon where it was born back to where I was born near Chicago. It is a fairly bare bones space--but adequate. We have a few upgrades from our old space--like a big walk-in cooler--which is wonderful! I hope to keep investing in it to make it better and better--Air conditioning would be nice! Oh, and a Dishwasher--instead of just a three compartment sink. It is a work in progress.
What inspires you?My business is pretty personal to me and it is hard to separate out the two. For instance, our Coconut Brownies were launched after I had my first Mounds Bar on a trip to Mexico. Our German Chocolate Brownie and all of its butteriness was really something I created to please my brother and as a throwback to the days when he would baby sit me and we would eat as much chocolate chip cookie dough as we could manage. Currently, I am working on Xs and Os shaped chocolate dipped brownies in honor of my parents 50th anniversary. So it is all pretty personal.
What makes your business stand out?First our brownies are very, very fudgy. If you like cake brownies--these are not for you. But, we also have spent a great deal of time and attention on the packaging. It is really important to us that the entire experience is beautiful--hence our goal of elevating the humble brownie to a luxurious treat. We allow our customers to add fresh flowers such as a gardenia to any of our gift boxes so all of one's senses can be delighted. In addition, our customer service has always been really important. We will do whatever it takes to get it right and to accommodate.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Don't "dip your toe in it" like I did. If I ever launch another business I am going to go for it full fledged from the beginning and respect it as such. And go after capital right away!
What does American Made mean to you?Well, when you actually think of the term American Made it can have a lot of different connotations. On one hand it can suggest mass produced and created for a profit. That said, I appreciate these awards because it is a way of reclaiming the notion and what it stands for. I think American Made can stand for products that are made with a really deep caring and passion. And products that are both utilitarian and beautiful--or at least innovative. I think it also means that the products come with the backing of the owners of the small American Businesses. People who deeply, deeply care more about the products that they are creating than the profit that they create. People who lie awake at night worrying about if a shipment they sent out was received in perfect condition.
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONS ENDAug. 31, 2015
Final day for entering the Audience Choice Award competition.
VOTING ENDSOct. 19, 2015
Final day to cast your vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City. Tickets are available now.Discover the American Made Summit