By Amanda Ponzar
What never ceases to amaze me is how unstoppable some women are. Take Kerri White. She not only works full-time, but on the side, launched her own business, Zettie’s Confections. Although she won’t share her secret recipes, I asked Kerri to share her secrets to being successful as a start-up. (She’s already shared her cookies with me, and I love them.)
Question: You've achieved remarkable success earning local TV coverage; what is your secret?
Answer: For me, it's about putting myself out there, taking chances, and not letting the word "no" keep me from trying to be successful. I believe in my products, and in myself, and I think that confidence is what has helped me promote Zettie's in such short time. Not to mention, tasting is believing! (My note -- Kerri brings her goodies to work, parties, events, etc. plus sends samples to media; she is a GENIUS!)
Q: What types of social marketing do you use (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and which has been most helpful promoting your business?
A: I utilize all forms of social media -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more to promote upcoming events, product specials, etc. For me/Zettie's, using Twitter has allowed us to touch a larger audience as far as people finding us/following us from all over the world, and we hope to gain many more followers. Facebook has also been amazing for us because so many people are now on Facebook, and friends tell friends about us, so social media is definitely working for us in a positive manner.
A: Zettie's has experienced tremendous growth in our very short life of being in business -- just over 16 months now. One of the hardest obstacles is learning how to grow your business. I went from doing this as a part-time hobby for family and friends to renting commercial space and selling as retail. Obviously business is a lot different now, and I have a lot to learn as to the "ins & outs" of being a new business owner.
Q: What is your advice to other women who have a day job but really want to start their own business?
A: Hmmm, advice is hard to give as I'm still learning the ropes myself, but I would definitely say "don't quit your day job", and I only say that because I know that it takes several years for a new business to get off the ground, establish itself and gain a committed following of consumers who you know will support your business.
A: Wow -- I'm just supposed to pick three (lol)!? I have to say that I absolutely LOVE Zettie's frosted sugar cookies! This old-fashioned cut-out cookie has a crisp yet slightly chewy texture, and it virtually melts in your mouth. Top it with a buttercream frosting and I just can't say no! Next, I would say my Ultimate Chip Cookie because it is a candied cookie, not just your average chocolate chip cookie. It is filled with white and dark chocolate, chunks of toffee and pecans -- absolutely sinful! And last but not least, Zettie's Almond Butter Crunch -- a delicious butter toffee, caramelized to perfection, with loads of roasted almonds, a coating of decadent chocolate, and a final layer of crushed almonds -- very addictive!
A: So many things to be proud of, but of course, I'm so proud of my grandmother! My grandmother was very poor and had to work very hard all of her life. But she instilled in me a passion to be creative and to allow myself to experience successes and failures so that I could learn from both. She possessed a drive to do things like no one else I knew. Unfortunately Zettie passed away before I was able to launch my baking and confection company named after her. But I believe that she knew the importance of her role in my young life, and the positive impact it made upon me. I am so fortunate, in so many ways, for all that we shared together.
(Photos: Kerri White, carrot cake, almond butter crunch, ultimate chip cookies, Kerri & Grandma Zettie)