Today we’d like to introduce you to Wendy Sanders.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After living and cooking for a year in Italy, I returned to Atlanta and started a personal chef business (The Foodie’s Chef). I ran it for 7 years here in Atlanta and I really liked preparing meals for clients. During that time as a personal chef, I began experimenting with a dessert that I could offer clients. I knew brownies might be a good choice but I wasn’t impressed with the amount of sugar and flour that most recipes called for.
I really enjoy dark chocolate and so decided to see if I could re-imagine the brownie as a decadent dark chocolate treat… and so I did. My clients really liked them and my friends did too – I’d serve them at dinner parties and clients would often order batches from me for their parties. When our daughter came along my priorities changed, and I closed down my personal chef business… but I always kept open the idea of bringing the brownies back someday.
As my daughter got older and I started to have more free time, I decided to launch NOLA Girl Brownies using the recipe I created as a personal chef.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I had experience running my own business as a personal chef experience, so I had a running start at some of the basics. But there were many things I had to figure out (and am still figuring out!).
First, Packaging – I knew we’d have to individually wrap the brownies to maintain freshness so I had to research quite a bit to get the right wrapping, etc. Also finding the boxes, the right sizes, suppliers, etc. I went through many different iterations to find what worked best.
Next, logo, licensing, insurance, etc. – I knew logo would be more important with retail and online customers. I also wanted the logo to reflect some of my New Orleans heritage and themes, especially the fleur de lis. Also, we use a commercial kitchen, so we had to learn about all the requirements and paperwork. There are so many regulations and requirements with licenses.
Finally, juggling brownies and being a mom. I love being my daughter’s mom and I am really involved in her life, her school, etc. It is very important for me to be close to her as she grows up- my parents were very present in my life growing up and I realize this was a gift.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the NOLA Girl Brownies story. Tell us more about the business.
I am really trying to re-imagine the brownie as a decadent dark chocolate treat. There are really three primary ways my brownies are unique.
First- NOLA Girl Brownies are all about Dark Chocolate! We used 70% premium dark chocolate and a lot of it. We also use very little flour and just a hint of coffee which makes our brownies very unique from the traditional brownies which are mostly sugar and flour. Customers tell us our brownies fall somewhere between a dark chocolate truffle and a flourless chocolate cake.
Second- because of how they are made (i.e., their dense texture), they are very versatile treats. You can make other desserts from them as well- like a trifle. We had dinner party recently where we actually had brownie “bar” that highlighted many of the ways you could enjoy them. Heated up with ice cream; with fresh homemade vanilla whipped cream and berries; drizzled with caramel sauce; dipped in chocolate ganache and more. They also pair well coffee or tea in the morning and wine and bourbon in the evening.
Third- our packaging is well suited for gift giving. We individually wrap and seal each brownie and our boxes usually have a ribbon. They really are the perfect gift for the dark chocolate lover. Whether a birthday, celebration, or a corporate gift idea.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t know if I really believe in luck per se. Clearly, I’ve been in the right place at the right time and sometimes I’ve had to learn lessons the hard way. What I have come to believe is that you have to put yourself out there and if you do, you’ll increase the chance of opportunity.
- 4-pack dark chocolate brownie bites (signature, bourbon, mint, spicy) – $8.00 + shipping
- 8-pack dark chocolate brownie bites (signature, bourbon, mint, spicy) – $16.00 + shipping
- 16-pack dark chocolate brownie bites (signature, bourbon, mint, spicy) – $32.00 + shipping
- Website: www.nolagirlbrownies.com
- Phone: 404-556-8295
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org