On National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, a Lesson in Life from Mrs. Fields

On National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, a Lesson in Life from Mrs. Fields

John M. Goralka

John M. Goralka

May 16, 2022 08:16 PM

A humbling moment that we can all relate to put the future cookie queen on her entrepreneurial path. If Mrs. Fields could turn a humiliating foible around to become a success, so can you.

by: John M. Goralka

August 4, 2021

Did you know that Aug. 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day?

In honor of this day, we have provided you a short story about Mrs. Fields Cookies.

Debbie Fields turned a cookie recipe into a $450 million empire. Growing up, her father made about $15,000 per year as a welder while her mother remained at home raising five children. In spite of that, Debbie said she was raised in an extremely wealthy family as her father taught her that true wealth is found in family, friends and doing what you love.

    As a young girl with four siblings, her favorite food was homemade cookies. She would bake her own using imitation chocolate and margarine, because that’s all her family could afford. At age 13, she worked in a department store. She spent her first paycheck on real chocolate, vanilla and butter.

    As a young housewife, years later, she and her first husband had dinner in a beautiful, yet intimidating home of one of her husband’s clients. He asked – what do you do? Mrs. Fields replied that she was “trying to get orientated.” He immediately got up, put an “enormous, leather-bound dictionary” on her lap saying, “The word is ‘oriented.’ If you can’t speak the English language, you should not speak at all.”

    After that, she vowed to “become somebody.” Following her father’s advice to do what you love, she decided to make and sell gourmet cookies.

    Mrs. Fields did not just create a successful business, she created a market for expensive, high-end cookies that did not previously exist. Her family, friends and advisers all believed that she would fail. When she opened her first store, her first husband bet her that she would not have even $50 in sales the first day. In fact, while Mrs. Fields was pursuing her dream, her first husband was almost certainly calculating the write-off or tax savings from the loss.

    Mrs. Fields sold $75 in cookies that first day. She took to the streets, letting people try the product. She proved that her cookies were so delicious that they sold themselves once people were provided a taste.

    She structured her business to have immediate feedback so that she could quickly see how she was doing. She calculated her breakeven per month, then per day and finally per hour.

      The rest is history. Mrs. Fields created a market that did not previously exist. All the experts and even her then-husband did not believe that she would succeed. Mrs. Fields believes and perhaps proved that: “The American dream is true. It works and is possible for everybody. Even the word ‘impossible’ says ‘I’m possible.’”

      Thank you, Mrs. Fields, for helping us all get “orientated.”

      Related Articles

      A Globalized Sprint: How Japan’s Insolvency Practice Is Expanding and Preparing for the Future

      by Best Lawyers

      Emerging legal trends are a relished opportunity for reorganization, while natural disasters present an opportunity for innovation.

      Interview with Nishimura & Asahi Law Firm

      Protecting Your Legacy With Estate Planning

      by Tripp Wiles

      You're careful with your finances; do you still need asset protection?

      Protecting Your Legacy With Estate Planning

      David Ackert's Top Advice on Social Media and Client Prospecting

      by Best Lawyers

      The president of Ackert Inc. offers his insights on business development to Best Lawyers following the 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference.

      Social Media Tips for Law Firms

      Trending Articles

      What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom

      by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

      Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

      Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

      Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect

      by Roy D. Oppenheim

      When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

      Choosing the Title Company As Seller

      Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests

      by Daniel Taylor

      While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

      Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

      Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: The Best Lawyers Honorees Behind the Litigation

      by Gregory Sirico

      Best Lawyers takes a look at the recognized legal talent representing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in their ongoing defamation trial.

      Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

      Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

      by Best Lawyers

      The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

      The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

      Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers

      by Greg Mansell

      For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

      Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

      The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez

      by Rebecca Blackwell

      Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

      Camille Vasquez in office

      How to Navigate False Abuse Claims in a Child Custody Case

      by Ashley Jones

      There’s hope for families to recover—a good lawyer is key.

      False Abuse Claims in Child Custody

      An Army of Nancy

      by Rachel Shrewsbury

      The horrific stories out of Guantánamo Bay nearly caused me to lose faith in the American principles of liberty and justice. Nancy Hollander turned out to be the ray of hope I was looking for.

      Q&A with Nancy Hollander

      Announcing The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom™ 2023

      by Best Lawyers

      The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from the United Kingdom.

      The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom 2023

      Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2023

      by Best Lawyers

      The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Japan.

      The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2023

      “Best Law Firms” Submissions: What They Are and Why They Matter

      by Best Lawyers

      "Best Law Firms" rankings are produced yearly by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers. The submissions process is an important component for all eligible firms.

      Best Law Firms Submissions

      How Peer Review Powers Industry Referrals

      by Best Lawyers

      Best Lawyers combines the trust of industry referrals with state-of-the-art technology to help clients find the right lawyer.

      Four people searching in their smartphone with the Best Lawyers methodology wheel over top

      Announcing The Best Lawyers in France™ 2023

      by Best Lawyers

      The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from France.

      Blue, white and red strips

      When DNA Isn’t the Tie That Binds

      by Brittney M. Miller and James J. Vedder

      Determining biological parenthood is as easy as getting a DNA test. Determining legal parenthood is more complicated altogether—especially as the composition of the American family continues to evolve.

      When DNA isn't the tie that binds

      Aim High and Fly

      by Khalil Abdullah

      From a silent victim of hometown segregation to Air Force captain and lawyer of consummate skill, Karen Evans exemplifies leadership—and vows always to help those who seek to follow her path.

      Karen Evans' Leadership in the Airforce