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Name: Heidi Fausel

Business: Christmas Milk Brands, eggnog and other holiday themed treats

Industry: Food & Beverage

Location: Frisco, Texas, U.S.

Reason for starting: The story below is a true story and the little boy is actually my oldest son. He was 9 when we adopted him out of the foster care system in Texas. We have since adopted three more children from foster care.

Every Christmas tens of thousands of children wait. They wait for neither Santa nor presents; they wait for a forever family. This is the story of how, one Christmas, a child received his forever family and was adopted. What took place after was an unexpected discovery of another wish that would come true… As the family’s first Christmas approached, the little boy was excited about a drink he once had and kept asking his new family if they would be able to find it. He did not know the name, nor could he describe it – all he could say is “it tastes like Christmas.” His forever family let him try juices, sports drinks, anything they could think of, but were never able to find the drink he longed to taste again. Then it happened. The little boy’s Mom and Dad gave him a glass of Eggnog. The boy took a sip and jumped up! “That’s it!” the boy exclaimed. “That is the drink I have been talking about! It’s Christmas Milk!!”

Related: Read about another Food & Beverage entrepreneur here. 

How do you define success? I was laid off from my job of almost 9 years. While at that job, my family was neglected as the job “came first.” I was stressed beyond belief and the work environment had turned negative. I did not like going to work anymore and I hated that feeling. When I started Christmas Milk, my goal was to simply be “happy” at my job. If I owned the company, there was no reason why I shouldn’t be able to make that happen. I define success by finding that balance between family and work. Being able to spend more time with my husband and be there for the kids when they get home from school. I can go to their soccer, hockey, football games etc. I can go to “meet the teacher” days. I don’t use the phrase “PTO” anymore and I don’t miss it! That is success!

Biggest Success: The first time I was in a grocery store and saw my product on the shelf while my children were with me, I was a “cool” mom that day. I’ve had many other successes but that first moment of realizing that I really did it, is my favorite.

Related: Making the Next Move a Success 

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My biggest challenge is creating and running a food/beverage company and the initial lack of knowledge I had of the industry. I literally started it from the ground up and knew nothing of the challenges I would face. Simple things like terminology and logistics to more difficult things as government regulations and gaining distributors – all had to be discovered and learned. Early on I had made it a rule to not be shy and ask anyone and everyone questions. I look back at what I’ve learned in the last four years compared to where I started and it is amazing. I have yet to stop asking questions…

Who is your most important role model? My sister. She is a Senior State Department official and has served 3 tours in Afghanistan, 1 in Pakistan as well as maintaining our embassy during the Bosnian war. She is not only my role model, she is my best friend.

Twitter   @christmasmilk

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Edited by The Story Exchange