What is your story?
My entrepreneurial journey began as a young girl who was never afraid to dream. I am a firm believer in the accumulation of small "yes's" and baby steps that lead you to a bigger dream. If you constantly tell yourself "I can't" because I'm not equipped with the right tools or "I can't" because it might not succeed or "I can't" because I do not want to attach my name to a flop, you may never commit to your idea. I believe in starting with what you have and moving forward from there. In high school I became passionate about food from a healthy point of view and an artistic point of view. I have said yes to a hundred little opportunities that have made me into the entrepreneur I am today. My senior year of high school I co-operated a small bakery that specialized in event cakes. In addition, I had my own cake business on the side. Even now that I am in college, every time I come home I have a list of orders to fulfill. I was also presented with the opportunity to go through the business process and compete in a business competition in high school where my team and I placed in the top ten at the national level for our business concept. From there I knew I loved the business process. I fell in love with the process all over again in Dave Lambe's 388 course. The brainstorming of a business idea, the planning, and collaborations are truly a thrill! I cannot wait to see what the next few years has in store for my entrepreneurial journey! "
What is your business?
My business focus is on food and nutrition. Nutritious food can also be a work of art! My goal is to share my passion with others. On my website, elegantcocoa.com I share recipes and insights into food. Eventually I want to focus my efforts on educating youth in food and nutrition through cooking classes. In 388 I designed a kids cooking class business model that focused on educating youth about food and the science and nutrition involved in cooking. I hope to pursue this venture on a small scale until I can effectively scale up. Since then, I have been watching how others set up their cooking class business models. I have been working at a Bed & Breakfast in Nebraska City assisting on the marketing and helping them operate a few of their own cooking classes. Food tells a story from its beginnings on the farm, to a work of art on a plate, all the way to our digestive tract. I believe that is something worth getting excited about!
Who is your entrepreneurial inspiration OR biggest hero?
My dad has taught the importance of working hard and pursuing my dreams. Whatever my goals or dreams have been my dad is always my number one supporter. In addition to his support, he has taught me the importance of building meaningful relationships with those who surround me. He is one of the most understanding people I know, always willing to lend an ear. I honestly don’t know where I would be without his support.
What advice would you give to a student starting their entrepreneurial journey?
Never be afraid to do something small. Sometimes it is the little decisions we make on our journey that make the biggest impact. Give yourself and others credit where credit is due. We are stronger together as we build each other up and recognize that an individual contribution is unique to one's perspective and story. Never discount your perspective!
What has been your favorite "Engler Experience" to date?
Hands down, Dave Lambe's 388 class. It was a great experience in how to develop a quality business plan and build on an idea. I really feel like the class incorporated the pillars of the Engler program beautifully; aspire, passion, courage, partner, grit and build.
What has been the biggest hurdle or struggle you've dealt with in your entrepreneurial journey?
Two of my biggest struggles in entrepreneurship are accepting what I have to work with and focusing my efforts on one thing at a time. Accepting what I have to work with is something I struggle with, but is also something I am also passionate about. Baby steps bring you big success. You need a starting point. Someone wise once told me, if you don't start with what you have now you may never start. For me it is more fulfilling to start things than to seek closure in them. However, it is through closure with our projects and ventures that success is achievable.