Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Connie Lawson, Founder and Owner of Sweet Ashley's Chocolate, located in Royersford, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sweet Ashley's Chocolate is a small business focused on hand-making high-quality chocolates. Our customers are everyday chocolate lovers who appreciate quality ingredients, as well as wholesale and corporate clients who seek personalized chocolate gifts for their events. We also cater to customers looking for sweet indulgences for everyday occasions, as well as wedding and shower favors.
Tell us about yourself
I became enamored with chocolate making after a childhood trip to a chocolate factory. Convinced I could make chocolate on my own, I started experimenting. Before long, I was creating hand-made chocolate gifts for friends and family, a tradition that continued for many years. One holiday season, when the demands of my career in the pharmaceutical industry left little time for chocolate making, I opted to purchase store-bought gifts. The depths of my family's disappointment convinced me to change my career focus. That's how I became the founder of Sweet Ashley's Chocolate.
We are honored to be a part of this community, and we take pride in providing high-quality products and exceptional service to our customers. Their continued loyalty and support motivate us to go above and beyond, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve them. As we look towards the future, we are committed to maintaining the same level of excellence that has earned us the trust and respect of our community.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In 2012, we bid farewell to our quaint 750-square-foot retail store nestled on the main street of our community and upgraded to a more spacious 2,200-square-foot location in a bustling shopping center located just 1.1 miles away.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Like many small businesses, cash flow can be one of the hardest things about being in business. As with many smaller chocolate companies, we experience seasonal demand, with peak sales during holidays such as Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter. This can make it challenging to manage the cash flow, forecast expenditures, and maintain a steady income throughout the year.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- In business, patience is paramount. Success rarely comes overnight, and it's important to keep a long-term perspective. While it's important to be excited about new opportunities, it's also crucial to consider the financial risks and implications of these opportunities before diving in headfirst. Otherwise, you could be putting your business in jeopardy.
- Stand by your worth. It can be tempting to undercut your prices to win over clients, but ultimately, this approach can lead to undervaluing your hard work and talent. Remember that quality, speed, and price are interconnected, and it's impossible to provide all three at once. Be confident in the value you offer, and don't be afraid to walk away from those who don't appreciate it.
- Entrepreneurship requires fearlessness. Starting a business takes a lot of courage and commitment, and it's important to remind yourself of this every step of the way. Embrace the challenges that come with being your own boss, and don't be discouraged by setbacks or failures. With bravery and perseverance, you can achieve your goals and build a successful business.
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.
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