Insight

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.”

      https://www.kiplinger.com/personal-finance/603234/on-national-chocolate-chip-cookie-day-a-lesson-in-life-from-mrs-fields

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