Name: Marlene Luterman
Business: Calabasas Cake & Cookie Company, a baker of variously flavored stuffed cookies
Industry: Food & Beverage
Location: Calabasas, California, U.S.
Reason for starting: After spending 30 years in the clothing industry, I was very bored and wanted to exercise my creative muscle in new ways. I saw a unique opportunity in the upscale cookie industry. Knowing that people are always on the hunt for new indulgences, I conceived the concept of a treat inside a cookie–a stuffed, or “stuft,” cookie. I teamed up with top culinary scientists to create my delectable flavor combinations and cookie formulas. I was shocked when my husband encouraged me to go for it. I figured if I don’t try, I’ll never know. It was a bold move but the best thing I have ever done.
How do you define success? Success is waking up in the morning and being thankful for the day. Enjoying going to work and loving what I do, feeling satisfied and knowing that at the end of the day I might have made a difference in the world, by just the taste of my cookie, is a great feeling. If I can bring a smile to someone’s face, then I have done my job. The world is a tough place and I want to make it a bit easier, even with just one bite of a cookie. I love being my own boss; I have never worked as hard as I do now, but it is so worth it. I’m living my dream of owning my own business, and hopefully it will turn into a successful large company through perseverance and hard work. Through this experience, I have learned to treat the janitor of a company the exact same way as I would treat the CEO of a company. Everyone deserves respect and a chance to succeed.
Biggest Success: My biggest success is bringing the cookie from concept mode to reality within 2 years. The Ultimate Stuft Cookie was just an idea that popped up in my head. In the first 6 months of selling the cookies grass-roots style, between two people, we were able to sell approximately 13,000 cookies. I have a commercial baker producing my product but I work out of my garage. I have sold the cookies across the U.S. and Canada.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge is getting the product out into the marketplace and getting our product known. It is a small “mom and pop” startup. I have just partnered with a young marketing group. We currently have a Go Daddy website that I created and we are in the midst of creating a very fun and professional website that hopefully we help to grow the product.
Who is your most important role model? My most important role model is my husband. He is the best father, husband and provider a woman could ever ask for. I admire his commitment to family, his strong work ethics and his belief that if you put your heart and soul into what is important to you, anything can be achieved. He is a living example of this for me.
Edited by The Story Exchange