Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Margi Mason, Founder of Mrs. Mason's Co., located in Royal Oak, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Mrs. Mason's Co. makes handmade premium brittles and brittle bonbons. We offer a high-end product and are known for our textures, ingredients, and exquisite packaging. Our customers are generally over age 50 and enjoy an affluent lifestyle. We also have several corporate accounts, including brokerage, accounting, and mortgage companies.
Tell us about yourself
Mrs. Mason's Co. started when a friend of mine gave me a candy recipe, which I immediately changed. I then started making brittle for my friends, neighbors, friends' neighbors, and kids' teachers, and after hearing, "You should go into business!" for about five years, I thought, "Hey, I should go into business!". Simultaneously, I did an internal look to see what I was committed to, and it was love, kindness, generosity, abundance, and peace. Inspired to express this commitment to the world while maintaining a full-time job, I launched Mrs. Mason's Co. The company's essential mission, therefore, is to express these attributes in all aspects of the business, and for $47.95, we'll throw in a one-pound box of our delicious brittle!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
From my perspective, my biggest accomplishment is earning respect, love, and loyalty from my employees and customers. Despite the seasonality of my business, my employees love their jobs, and the part-timers continue to (want to) return every year. As for my customers, a little over 50% of our holiday orders are from returning customers, so we've maintained a very high retention rate. Serving our customers in a way that meets their expectations while earning 5-star reviews across the board reflects our commitment to a quality product with absolute service excellence. I'm very proud of this.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
With my business, it's the seasonality that presents the most challenges. We receive orders year-round; however, the vast majority of our orders come in during the fourth quarter. Because of this, there are cash flow and personnel challenges. As of late, you'd also have to include supply chain issues, where simply the availability of butter and chocolate, for example, is a challenge. Juggling the many circumstances we face while "keeping the engine running" and paying the bills on time is not easy. As a business owner, I must have a mindset of being "unstoppable" and find solutions when often it appears that there are none.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I learned long ago that being an entrepreneur is a kind of "coming out." Like an LGBTQ person, entrepreneurialism is part of your internal, personal makeup that gets expressed. It's a "place" you come from, which drives the need to satisfy a desire to make a difference in the world. The point being entrepreneurialism is not about money. It's more about a calling.
The second tip if you want to have a business is that you have to have customers. Often people think they have the next big thing when in fact, they only have the next big thought. If you offer something that nobody understands, wants, or can afford, you don't have a business, even if YOU think it's a great idea or product. You've got to have customers.
Lastly, you have to have guts. Often people think you have to have money and smarts and training and and and... If you don't have what you need, you have to have the guts to ask for it. You need to go to the people who can help you and ask for help. You'll be delighted by the results!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.