I am originally from Washington, DC, but I have a special place in my heart for Columbia, South Carolina, the home of the school where I earned my Journalism/PR deegree a few (ahem) years ago. When I returned to the area (I'm now, in Charlotte, NC, about two hours from Columbia), I met Lela Barker of Bella Lucce and From Morocco With Love. Lela is an IBN member who lives just outside Columbia. Last Christmas, Lela sent me a box of the most amazing cookies. (Yes, I ate them all.)
The cookies were made by Teri Pringle of Blue Flour Best Baked Goods in Columbia. Friday, I will finally meet the cookie master herself. Won't you join us? Not only will there be delicious cookies and entrepreneurial chatter, but you can also get some business building tips by hanging out with Lela, Teri, and me. I asked Teri to share a little of her entrepreneuail journey with me today. Here's some of what she shared.
dM: What is the inspiration for Blue Flour?
Teri: Prior to Blue Flour, I was in the hospitality business. I always loved good quality food and desserts, and I sensed that it was time for me to move away from the corporate world and into a creative, fun, business of my own.
It was time to follow my heart, pursue a dream — my own dream and my own heart. I believe that if you don't follow your heart, you will always wonder if you missed out on something meaningful and BIG in your life. I didn't want that, so here I am.
dM: What is a challenge you have faced in your business, and how have you overcome it?
Teri: The biggest challenge is deciding what the next step is for the business. I meet this challenge by networking with great business people and getting feedback on new ideas. Ultimately it is always my decision which direction to go in, but good good information prior to making a change and new investment always helps me.
dM: What do you wish you had known before you started your business that you would like to share with others?
Teri: Wow! That is a difficult question. I was incredibly fortunate to meet Lela at the right time. She sent me to the “right” people to get things done “right” the first time. I did not waste time or money.
So, I would say to look for people who can help you get started and give you good direction. Also, have some cash stashed. Your business will never follow the perfect plan, even if you have one, and it will always cost more that you thought it would.
There will be super busy times and some slow times, so be prepared for the slow ones. Of course, if you have a wealthy family member, make sure you stay on their good side.
dM: What is your favorite business publication and why?
Teri: I enjoy many publications, but favor magazines and cook books. I love anything with inspirational stories. I read bakery magazines for ideas and new vendors, and cook books with excellent photography, for the simple joy of good food. It is all very motivational to me. I just received my issue of Baking Buyer, some cool stuff.
dM: What's your favorite Blue Flour cookie?
Teri: I LOVE a warm mini chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven. I can’t stop myself after years of baking them … can you blame me?
Oh! Don't you just want a warm chocolate chip cookie? You deserve it!! So, join us, won't you? We'll be there from 12:30 to around 4:00. Be sure to come early before we devour all the cookies. And bring your best business questions and answers so you can get some good information, and share some of what you know.
Here's where to find us! Blue Flour-Best Baked Goods, LLC, 7703 St Andrews Road, Suite AB. Irmo, SC 29063. (Irmo is just outside Columbia). if you get lost or something, direct message me or Lela on Twitter (Teri will be too busy baking our cookies!!), and we'll try to help you out.