As one of the fastest growing segments of the small business community, women-owned businesses account for 30 percent of small businesses today, compared to approximately 5 percent in 1970, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
We’re excited to share in the celebration of International Women’s Month by putting the spotlight women-owned businesses through a series of interviews highlighting the interesting facts, untold stories, and signature elements of each business. Like their businesses, each business owner’s journeys is unique, and offers insight into what it takes for a small business to flourish.
What makes your business stand out from the competition?
We have perfected meatloaf in every shape and size. Our recipes are totally unique, and we were the first and only original meatloaf cupcake. As we say, it’s a tasty twist on your favorite comfort food. We specialize in what we do best and that’s creating meat-based, poultry based, even seafood and vegetarian ‘meatloaf’ recipes that are not only delicious, but beautiful to look at. We use only the best and freshest ingredients, and each and every meatloaf cupcake is made with a loving touch.
What keeps your customers loyal?
We love our loyal customers and they love us. We have many regulars who know what they want and while they may want to expand their choices, always seem to fall back on their favorites! We can even anticipate their orders before they do. Being a local business we’re able to get to know our customers by name. We love to make them happy not only with our food, but also happy with our staff. Our Food Truck, Meatloaf-A-Go-Go also has a loyal following wherever we go!
Why do you think it is important to celebrate and recognize female business owners?
It’s wonderful to celebrate all business owners, particularly those who take risks and are willing to go the distance. As a woman, I love collaborating with other female business owners because they understand the juggling required to not only run a business, but maintain a home and/or family. In my experience owning and operating my business, I’ve found other female business owners very willing to share what they’ve learned along the way while being able to relate to the ongoing challenges.
What does being a female business owner mean to you?
I’ve always been rather independent with respect to my career even while I was working for others in various industries. Owning my own business as I have done so for the last five years tells me that I can push forward in what may have been traditionally a male-dominated area. And it confirms that if one has an idea or concept worth pursuing that she should do so with gusto. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to take a concept and grow it into something that actually is thriving. It gives me a feeling of pride every day and having a team of great employees adds to the sense of satisfaction.
What inspired you to start your business?
For me, it was my love of food and entertaining. I had many wonderful years in the corporate arena, but my hobby was always cooking. I reached a point in my life that I wanted to take my skills, creativity, and independence into a new direction. And that meant opening up my own business. I welcomed the idea of being a part of the community, being able to have more influence over my own destiny and to work with people who could bring my vision to life.
What’s the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
So many parts of owning my own business are rewarding. Working with a great team, the delightful customers, introducing new people to our food, creating recipes that please, learning to navigate new areas…. the list goes on. It’s great when people share my enthusiasm for our product. And there is a sense of pride knowing that my idea has taken off in the right direction.
What are the challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
After five years in business and two before that in planning, I realize that every day there are challenges. They can range from the most basic — we just ran out of key ingredients, to staff issues, to price increases, to more significant challenges like expanding the business, measuring marketing initiatives, managing day to day cash flow. I don’t know if you ever overcome challenges. I try to work at them every day and little by little they become less challenging and more of an opportunity. But one does need to have a thicker skin and be able to go with the flow. And sometimes that’s a challenge!
How do you hope to see your business grow?
We’re very excited about being a part of the community and we look forward to expanding our footprint throughout the area. We’re also introducing a mail order (Meatloaf By Mail) program so that others throughout the country can enjoy what Chicagoans have come to love. And recently we’ve launched some of our products on QVC which is very exciting. We want to bring meatloaf goodness to everyone!