After she lost her marketing job of 35 years, Schechter, then 60, knew she had to do something.
“I still needed income, ” Schechter said. “I knew I made a good butter cookie.”
That’s how Barbara’s Handmade Cookie Pies started – and four years later, her company is growing.
“I do a good business, ” Schechter said. “The trick is to get into wholesaling.”
Monmouth County’s entrepreneurial spirit was on display Saturday afternoon at Monmouth University for the third Made in Monmouth Expo.
The university’s Multipurpose Activity Center swarmed with shoppers perusing chocolates and cheesecakes, paintings, books, ice cream and jewelry.
Featuring more than 140 vendors in an expanded space, Made in Monmouth has expanded for the third year in a row Monmouth County Economic Development Director Amy Fitzgerald said.
“We keep making it bigger, ” Fitzgerald said. “Before I retire, we’re going to have
The exposition has become an annual event showcasing products made in Monmouth County.
Shoppers have free admission, and vendors are offered free exposition and sales space.
“These kind of expositions are very important, ” Schechter said. “It’s all about customer contact and letting people taste your product. You want to put your product into people’s hands.”
Debra and Tom Ocasio, who sell their handmade chocolates and confections at The Chocolate Lounge in Long Branch, got their start after Debra’s 20-year computer career came to an end.
“When everything was outsourced 10 years ago, I opened up a shop, ” Debra said. “I’m a ‘chocohoic.’ Everything’s better with chocolate.”
The Ocasios moved their business from Allentown to Long Branch two years ago.
“Then Sandy hit, so we’re struggling, but everybody’s happy as long as they have chocolate, ” Debra said. “Events like this are important because you get a lot of visibility. Normally, we’re competing with box stores, but here people come to these events looking for unique items.”
Ed Bucholtz, of Highlands, lost a 22-year-long job in Manufacturing four years ago.
“I had to think of something to do, ” Bucholtz said. “A lot of people like hot sauce, but most restaurants don’t have it on the table – and if they do, it’s something like Tabasco. I figured I had to make something better than Tabasco.”
Born To Hula Hot Sauces, now with seven flavors are made in Fair Haven. Proceeds from the sales of the newest sauce to the lineup, “Surge of Sandy, ” are donated to Monmouth County-area charities.
“We were out of commission after Sandy, but we still had our products made because we worked with a company in Ohio, ” Bucholtz said. “We try to give a little back when we can.”
For Teja Anderson, a freelance journalist and photographer from Monmouth Beach, Hurricane Sandy inspired a jewelry hobby and launched a small business.
“After Sandy, a lot of my friends were angry at the ocean, ” Anderson said. “I went down and walked next to the ocean and found 200 pieces of sea glass. They were beautiful.”
Anderson learned how to create necklaces and charms from the pieces of glass and gave them to friends – then they caught on.
I love The Knot, the website is very helpful.. and there's discussion boards on there as well.
I like to flip through bridal magazines, I've got a lot from those, especially a local Michigan Brides magazine, so I don't know if your state has one of those.
Any bridal shows around where you live? That's something worth checking into :)
6k budget club!
My FH and I have a 6k budget as well. We are keeping it less costly by deciding what i want and then finding it cheaper online. We found a reception hall that basically does it all for under $3,000! I have gone to millions of bridal shows for ideas and deals. Our professional photographer is only costing us $650 and they are all over so check them out! they are in Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Texas, Wisconsin, and Ohio.
I am getting a great deal on linens at this site
In Detroit area - locaton, location, location!!
Your plan sounds like a winner.
I personally would position my location to be easy to reach from 696, 96, 94, 75, 275, etc. You will potentially get clients from all of S.E. Michigan.
Flint, Lansing, Toledo, Port Huron, etc. should be able to get on the highway and reach you within an hour. You have a very populated area to draw from.
If I were looking at this type of business, I wouldn't be concerned about prime, "Main $teet" retail space, as much as a large space with plenty of on-site parking. Think: close to the freeway, warehouse/studio (paint it white and add lots of tulle & mirrors) space that you can grow into and is cheaper - AND you can host bridal fashion shows regularly! With an on-line presence, and good word of mouth, your clients WILL find you