I was really happy being a housewife. I was proud to be there for my husband, but it did not necessarily make me feel great.
I had an opportunity for a big breakthrough.
We arrived and instantly I knew how important this gentleman is because at the entrance to his home is this massive iron gate. And in front of our little house there is a small hedge.
And then, I sat there and I thought, ‘You know, never again. Never again do I want to feel the way I feel right now.
Because what nobody ever understood is that I, too, wanted to be a somebody. But how do you go through life wanting to be a someone and not knowing how?
In that room, that evening, I made a decision that I was going to go into the cookie business, that that was my calling, that that was what I could do best.
You know, all these years, all these years you’ve been eating my cookies. All these years you’ve been telling me how wonderful they are. Well, I’ve decided I’m going to go into the cookie business.
It was the cheapest money I could have, because it was the only money I could get.
The greatest failure is not to try. Had I listened to all the people during the course of my life who said, “You can’t. You’ll fail. It won’t work. You don’t have…,” I wouldn’t be here today.
[My husband] immediately said, ‘Oh, sweetie, that is such a stupid idea.’ And then my mom and dad pipe up and say, ‘You don’t have any business going into the cookie business.
The only thing I had was this recipe, and with that recipe was a dream. And those were the only things that I had to build my business: a recipe and a dream. And there was no way, no way, I wasn’t going to see this dream through.
And, so, my journey began. I made the decision, and I was going to see it through.
I would tell them about my plan, the cookies, my dream, and sure enough, they would listen and eat the cookies. They would respond by saying ‘Thank you so much. Thank you for coming in, but no, we’re not interested.’
There’s magic in those words because when she said, ‘Debbi, just give up,’ I said giving up is the easiest thing any of us can do. I can always throw the towel in. The only thing that’s going to make a difference, the only thing that’s going to get me to my dream come true is don’t give up.
You do not have to be superhuman to do what you believe in.
The most important thing is for you to believe in what you are doing. Absolutely know there are people out there who want to say yes.
You have to have passion when you’re finding a recipe for a career. If you love what you are doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.
I loved it. And I sat there and I thought, ‘You know, I’m good at it. I’m really good at it.
I could make people smile. All they had to do is eat the cookie. That was a magical thing.
The reason I wanted to find out about what they thought about the cookies was because if they would take a bit and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I love these,’ I knew I would never have to teach them how to sell, because if it came from the heart, that was passion, that was love, and that was something I never had to teach them.
That’s how I found the best cookie people in the world, because if they would sing and belt out ‘Happy Birthday,’ I knew that smiles were going to be created, laughter, fun times; and we were going to have a relationship.
Customer service comes from the heart.
I learned how important what I call ‘try and buy’ was. I didn’t want to advertise and say my cookies are the world’s best. It would be presumptuous of me to say that. Instead I wanted people to actually experience the product, try the product, and if they thought it was worthy, if they liked it, then they could buy it.
I was literally dialing for dollars.
I would bake up batches of fresh-made cookies because I’m coming in to see you [lenders], and I’m talking about being in the cookie business. As far as you were concerned, as far as I was concerned, what makes mine special? You had to experience it.
I wanted to show them that I was trying to make my product different. So I brought my product with me.
I wanted to make my first investment in my customer. I wanted to give the product away.
Try it and buy it. That was the way we really found customers.
Good enough never is. Set your standards so high that even the flaws are considered excellent.
Maybe I had not taught the manger everything he needed to know to make the best cookies in the world.
‘What do you think of these cookies?’ He responded by saying, ‘Oh, Debbi, they’re good enough.’ Good enough? Good enough never is.
We’ve over baked these cookies, and I want them to be perfect and whatever you are standing in line for, I will absolutely give them to you free plus I’ll match for free if you will come back.
There is always competition. Whatever you do, there will be competition, and you have to decide how you’re going to play. For me, I had to be the very best.
I added so many chocolate chips to the batter that I knew I had added enough when they would no longer fit in. I had achieved chocolate nirvana. The same thing was true of butter. I took the product and added so much butter, to the point where the cookies started to spread out like pancakes.
You’ve got to strive to be the best in whatever you do.
Oh my gosh, Randy. You know, I’ve got an annual goal. I’ve got monthly plans. But today I just want to get started. I just want to open up the store.
I open up the store. I’ve got all these cookies. I had brownies. And I wait for the most amazing cookies sales. I just know it’s going to be a smashing success. And here I am waiting, waiting, and the day’s starting to wear, and it’s getting closer to mid afternoon, and I had a couple of customers walk in to see what was going on, but nobody actually made a purchase.
I thought everything I had worked for, everything I had dreamed of, everything I had thought was possible wasn’t happening. It was pretty hard.
I’m not going to close the book on history and say, “If only…”
I’m going to do whatever I have to to make this thing work.
I was a woman with a mission. I would stop people, even buses I would stop and say, ‘Here, you’ve got to taste these cookies. Just try them.’
To me, failure is only a way of communicating that it is not working. Stop what you’re doing and try something else until it works.
The one thing that I think is critical in the entrepreneurial spirit is that it’s all attitude. If you think you can, then you’re half way there. If you say, ‘I can’t,’ then you’re defeated.
You know, Mrs. Fields was never a business. It was a part of me…and I never separated, oh, well, business from personal because to me they all blended together.
To me what mattered most was never to register more sales in the cash register. The only thing that mattered to me was to register a smile on a customer’s face. If you can get a customer to smile, we will succeed.
I had to be the very best. Because, if I was not the very best, I would end up to be number two.
And, so, my message to each and every one of you is that I know that you all have dreams, and don’t ever lose sight of those dreams. And, more importantly, reach for the stars. And realize that it is never too late – not now, not ever – for you to pursue your passion, your pursuit of perfection. And most importantly, your perseverance for making it happen.