“I knew I loved making cookies and every time I did, I made people happy. That was my business plan”
Debbi Fields is the Founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies. small business started in 1977 in Palo Alto, California as Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chippery. The name of the company changed because it started diversifying the products. The company grosses over $300 million from over 1000 outlets in 9 countries.
At age 20 Debbi managed to get a loan. The first day was not encouraging at all… at least at the beginning, because Debbi had to wait a couple of hours inside the shop for sales. Since there were no customers, Debbi decided to assemble a couple of cookies into a nice package and offered samples to people who were passing-by. Fortunately, by the end of the first day, she got $75 in sales.
As the business grew, Debbi started establishing a special relationship with her loyal customers: coffee and cookies were ready when they arrived. Her receipt for success was very easy: make people feel they are special.
The company has enjoyed a tremendous level of success and in present has 5,000 employees. Besides the business itself, Debbi took the time to publish a cook book entitled, “I Love Chocolate”. She is currently involved into the company’s operations management, new product development, public relations and of course, brand name management.
Debbi had been cultivating her entrepreneurial spirit since she was at the age of 13 when she received her first paycheck from a job with the Oakland A’s baseball organization. She found that “real” ingredients such as butter, vanilla, and real chocolate made for “real” cookies.
A couple of business lessons that should be learned from Debbi’s business journey are related to the customer shopping experience and… the name of her venture itself. In other words, not only was Debbie focused on making sure her customers felt important but she branded her company with care from the beginning. Therefore, she changed the name of the company early on to include a broader range of cookies; so the impact seriously increased.