Special Occasion Speech
Debbi Fields was from humble beginnings but with hard work and determination she became a shining example of a woman who achieved the American dream. By establishing a successful cookie business she accomplished something that most believed was impossible. Not only did her dream come true but it did so in a big way. Her rags-to-riches story should be an inspiration to all of us that through hard work and perseverance anything is possible. As a child Debbi loved to bake cookies. She got the baking bug and a “taste” for entrepreneurship at the early age of 13 while working her first job with the Oakland A’s baseball organization.
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An important lesson learned from her family was that everyone needs to feel important. When Debbi was 19 years old she married, a Stanford graduate, and found herself in the unsatisfying role of a housewife. She found it difficult when at social gatherings friends would ask what she was doing with herself and then the patronizing looks she received when she had no answer to give. At the age of 20, Mrs. Fields took control of her life and decided being a housewife wasn’t enough. She decided to open a cookie shop despite discouragement from friends and family.
Amazingly she found a banker to loan her $20,000 to open her first cookie shop despite the fact she was young and had no business experience. So on August 16, 1977, Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chippery first opened its doors in Palo Alto, California. Halfway through that first day she had not made a single sale, so Mrs. Fields hit the street outside the shop and started handing out sample of her cookies. By the end of that first day, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery rang-up $75 in sales. Soon people were streaming in to the shop to buy more of her cookies. Mrs.
Fields’ company motto “Good enough never is”, says a lot about her business philosophy. She worked hard and customer satisfaction was a priority. As the business grew, Mrs. Fields was very conscious of her regular customers. She would often have coffee and cookies ready when they arrived. Making people feel special is an important ingredient in her recipe for success. In fact, it was on the advice of loyal employees, that she opened additional stores. She later changed the company name to Mrs. Fields’ Cookies to allow for other type of cookies rather than just chocolate chip.
In 1993, Mrs. Fields eventually sold out to private investors and turned her attention to motherhood and other endeavors. Besides being a Harvard Business School case study on business efficiency, Debbi has authored various books including the “Mrs. Fields Cookie Book: 100 Recipes from the Kitchen of Debbi Fields” which just so happened to be the very first cook book to make it to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Debbi was also awarded the Golden Gavel award which is awarded annually to the individual that demonstrates consistent self-improvement, success and leadership.
Debbie Fields’ accomplishments touched me because it is a testament to the American dream. This story sets a great example that success can be found from the simplest of ideas and that with determination and hard work the American dream is not limited to those who have an Ivy League education or are the beneficiaries of trust funds. Mrs. Field’s simple business plan of providing quality product, treating people with care and respect and enjoying what you do seems to be the recipe to success.
Debbi Fields was a simple person with determination, tremendous values and the idea to put smiles on people’s faces with her baking. So after all is said and done, you have to admit Debbi Fields, is one smart cookie! Work Cited Page Fields, Debbi, and Alan Furst. “One smart cookie” : how a housewife’s chocolate chip recipe turned into a multimillion-dollar business–the story of Mrs. Fields cookies. New York : Simon and Schuster, 1987. Print. Spiesman, Harriet. Debbi Fields: The Cookie Lady. Oklahoma: Garrett Education Corp. , 1991. Print.