When Jen Olbrys told me that one of the stores selling her granola called with a complaint, I remembered back to my early days of wholesaling my eggshell jewelry and hearing a criticism from a vendor.
“We’ve taken it off the shelf until it’s resolved,” the shop’s proprietor told her. A customer had found a strand of Jen’s hair in the package she’d bought.
It could happen to anyone, right? My bad memory was a boutique I’d sold an order to who said the quality wasn’t what she’d remembered from the trade show where she’d made the purchase. Ouch. The going philosophy during that boom time was that 80% was good enough. Not to the shop owner who’d bought my goods. I never gave less than 100% after that early lesson.
Jen’s response to her customer was, “How many bags do you have left? I will be there with a check to cover your loss in a half hour.”
It cost Jen $45 to buy back her product and learn a vital lesson about selling food items. Hairnets, anyone? Better now than when she’d become Kellogg’s and her visibility and the transgression would be more public.
As a budding entrepreneur and my assistant for the past four years of my Remarkable Women’s Mastermind Intensive, she couldn’t help but be inspired by the women in that group. Not only did she prepare our lunches each month to rave reviews and encouragement, she also got to take notes as eight highly motivated and successful women business owners shared their progress throughout the year.
During that time she expanded her company Holy Macro Foods by getting a baking license, studying the food manufacturing guidelines, finding and renting cooking space that met the stringent regulations of the Department of Health, and enrolling in a Food Safety course. Jen also registered her business with the State of Connecticut and began labeling her granola with nutrition facts and UPC codes.
Basically, she’s created her own entrepreneurial opportunities step by step over the course of several years. She was featured in the Stamford Advocate and has enjoyed growing sales both at the retail level through farmers’ markets and at the wholesale level with an expanding list of venues.
Did I mention that her granola is delicious? If you want to try some yourself, you can now order it from Jen’s website or find her at one of the locations she sells to in Fairfield County, CT.
Remarkable women like this are inspiring. Would you like to read some more stories?