For Jill Blashack Strahan, starting her multimillion-dollar company, Tastefully Simple, a direct sales retailer of specialty food products, began with “a dream and a shoestring.” She grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota and later started selling gourmet food baskets, which inspired her business.
She Grew Her Business from the Bottom Up
In the beginning, the entrepreneur fed her fledgling company with $6,000 of her own savings and some loans from a friend and the Small Business Administration. Strahan’s first headquarters was a 1,200-square-foot space with a concrete floor and no running water. Early orders were packed on a pool table. Today, the Tastefully Simple offices take up nearly 200,000 square feet on a 79-acre lot.
Gives Back to Community
In addition to running a company that’s valued at more than $100 million, Strahan finds time to give back to the community. Tastefully Simple has donated more than $5 million to local causes, and in 2009 teamed up with Share Our Strength, a group that seeks to end childhood hunger in America. If you’re an entrepreneur with a good idea, she says to remember that there isn’t an easy road to building a profitable business: “The secret to success doesn’t involve pixie dust or a magic bullet. Having goals is absolutely critical.”
Advice to young entrepreneurs: “Having goals is absolutely critical.”