Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

Geoff: P-Touch Everything.

In Org B, Organization, Super Helpful Info on 01/27/2013 at 4:41 pm

Geoff Alexander, who’s currently the Managing VP of extremely-social-media-savvy Wow Bao, has been an amazing mentor, friend and colleague for the past several years. I met him when we first were on the Twitterbox, talking about Foiled and Wow Bao donating food through a project we put together that year, “Chicago Soup.”

Ever since then, we’ve managed to get together every so often. He inspires me. Geoff is the kind of guy who gets you excited to take action and move your business along. (For this reason alone, I should probably hang out with him every day.)

One afternoon, I was running around and caught him at one of his stores. He took me to the back so I could check out his operations, which always seem so flawless. I asked him how he kept everything organized. He held up a P-Touch Label Maker.

Wow Bao P Touch

“Mari, this will change your life. P-Touch EVERYTHING. We label every single thing.”

And it’s true. Behind the counter, every single thing is labeled, clearly, with a simple P-Touch labeler. So easy. Time to do this at our packaging stations and kitchen.

Jon: DesktimeApp.

In Be memorable, Just plain fun, Networking, Super Helpful Info, Tech on 01/27/2013 at 4:17 pm

I met Jon at an event in town (I think it was 37signals related, which would explain Jon’s techiness). Our conversation went something like this:

Jon: What do you do?
Me: I make cupcakes. What do you do?
Jon: I make apps.
Me: Cool.

Then, I asked more questions and found out that Jon’s app, DesktimeApp, is actually really cool, really pretty, and really useful.

Desktime App Coworking

Whenever I travel, I’ve found it’s much more fun to work in a co-working space and meet new entrepreneurs, than it is to go to a coffee shop and share space with a potentially unstable person and a really loud steam machine.

Solution: DesktimeApp.

I’ve met so many cool people, discovered so many new places, and gotten such great feedback – all because of this tiny little web app that I keep bookmarked on my phone whenever I’m in a new city.

You may enjoy it too.

Matthew: One Week Away = Ready to Scale

In Business, Org B, Strategy, Super Helpful Info, Take action on 01/27/2013 at 4:04 pm

Wayne, one of my SCORE advisors, introduced me to Matthew D’Agostino, retired third-generation owner of La Bonbonniere in central New Jersey. When I was on the east coast to work on a project for Foiled, he was gracious enough to take me to a deli lunch (despite his vegetarian diet) and talk ACTUAL bakery talk for a couple of hours.

I gleaned close to 200 bits and pieces of helpful information, but the most valuable was this:

“If you can figure out how to run your business while you’re away from it for one full week, then you’re ready to scale it out.

Foiled Cupcakes Scale It Out

This really made me think: what are the pain points that my business experiences when I’m gone? I identified four:
– Nobody to do supply deliveries while I’m gone. (I hired one of our drivers to do this.)
– We need a new supplier for foils that we don’t have to pickup from. (I found a new supplier that can ship directly to the kitchen.)
– When deliveries go awry, I step in and fill in the gaps. (I doubled up on drivers.)
– Custom cupcakes are tough to execute. (Setup longer lead times for customization.)

Thanks, Matt, for what is probably the most useful piece of advice I’ve ever worked towards in this entire business.

Jeremy: Say Anything If It’s Funny.

In Be memorable, Just plain fun, Parenting on 01/27/2013 at 3:38 pm

I met Jeremy Piven when Foiled Cupcakes catered an event at the Piven Theatre Workshop. It was 5,000 degrees at the event (a strategic move on the part of the organization to raise money for air conditioning), and everyone was steamy and shiny and just gorgeous, as you can see below.

Jeremy Piven Foiled Cupcakes

During his very pithy (due to the temperature) speech, Mr. Piven acknowledged his mom – a lot. The best part?

“My mom told me I could say anything to her, or to anyone, as long as it was funny. If it wasn’t funny, don’t waste her time.”

I’ve read studies that have shown that kids who exercise their sense of humor early learn to deal with their lives and society in a much more adjusted way. They’re better able to cope with challenges, not to mention smarter and healthier.

A sense of humor was never the first value in my home growing up, but I’d like to figure out how to make it one for my kid. Time to start checking joke books out of the library. Knock knock?

Ravi: Nobody Ever Got Anywhere By Being Shy.

In Human behavior, Take action on 01/27/2013 at 3:14 pm

I met ABC Chicago news anchor Ravi at an Asian American Institute event at the Mid America Club in 2010. He emceed the event and honored quite a number of Asian Americans who were doing great things in Chicago.

The thing I remember most (aside from his booming broadcast journalism voice) was when an award recipient (I’ll call her Sandy, because I can’t remember her name) wasn’t coming up front to be honored.

After a few moments of awkward “where is she? Is she even here?” thoughts, Ravi’s voice boomed:

“Come on now, Sandy. Nobody ever got anywhere in life by being shy.

Don't Be Shy

I used to be painfully shy – all through elementary and middle school. Somewhere between high school and college, I learned to fight it. It’s still very unnatural to me to be outgoing and a go-getter, but I realized that Ravi’s statement is more than true, and if I want something, it’s up to me to go after it.

(Now tuning into ABC 7 weekend news now to see if Ravi’s booming voice can provide further inspiration for me to get on my 2013 Marketing Plan . . .)