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Sweet Ruby Jane Confections : Dreams are Easier to Fulfill Than You Think

Sisters Patty McCormick and Susan Philipp inherited a passion for baking and candy making from their Grandmother Ruby. Ruby was an old fashioned cafeteria lady back in the days when school meals were made from real food. She developed recipes for her students that she brought home to share with her grandchildren. Patty and Susan asked for the recipes many times but they were on a very large scale and Ruby never had the chance to reduce them down. That left the sisters a challenge to recreate Grandma’s treats.

Through lots of trial and error the final creations were a hit with family and friends and the dream of a confectionary shop was born. The sisters set off to do their research. Having backgrounds as a food microbiologist and a commercial management expert, their research was thorough. In fact it lasted seven years. With each bit of knowledge they gained the more the desire grew. There was one major drawback. Money. To open the shop of their dreams Patty and Susan would need $300,000 plus operating costs. Commercial kitchens are expensive to build and reliable equipment can run thousands. With their excellent credit, initially that didn’t seem like a big set back. But the banks wanted their homes for collateral. This was not a consideration, the importance of owning a home was too much to risk. So the plans were set aside and a search for investors began. A couple of investors were interested but the thought of such a large debt was more than the sisters consider.

Life has a tendency sidetrack dreams and the years passed quickly. Susan had three other businesses she started with her husband Clayton, Patty found success as a food quality consultant. Then recent down economy created an upset to their lives and each found themselves wishing for the dream. On a cold February drive home a light bulb went off for Susan and a quick call was made to Patty. Why did there have to have a brick and mortar store? Plenty of companies sell on the internet and confections are a great fit for on line sales. The key to it all was commitment. No more research, no more hesitation, a full commitment was made to move forward with the dream. A quick calculation of available funds and each sister made an investment of $10,000 and an extra $10,000 from Susan’s husband, Sweet Ruby Jane Confections was born. A tribute to the grandmother who inspired it all.

Turns out there were many ways to save money. Rather than creating a new corporation, Susan and Clayton converted one of their existing companies into a dba for Sweet Ruby Jane Confections. The savings in legal fees were over $1,000. Incorporation is not necessary for all businesses but considering food products can be a liability due to potential illness, it was the best choice. Finding a commercial kitchen was next. With so many food service businesses closing as the economy worsened, it seemed easy to find a location. That was not the case. Most of the closed locations were left without equipment. Knowing that the constructing a kitchen was the largest expense, the search switched to an existing business whiling to share their kitchen. Patty located a cookie maker who was renting out her kitchen for only $350 a month. There is limited storage but there was room for the necessary equipment for the business. Candy making requires specialty equipment not found in most bakeries. A quick search of Internet located the tempering machines, burners, and tools at excellent prices. This was followed by an initial purchase of ingredients from local supplies and the basic set up was all done for under $6,000.

Without a storefront, image was an important consideration. Choosing a graphic artist is difficult when you’ve not used one before. The price ranged from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand to design a logo and set up a website. Rather than risk their image on price, the sisters based their choice on a referral from an acquaintance. The cost was $800 but the results were perfect. An additional quote for $2000 for a web site seemed pricey however. A bit of advise for those starting an on- business, know if you need a web site or a web store. There is a big difference both in cost and set up. Susan had registered the web address with Homestead and noticed their Site Builder software. The program was easy to use and allowed for a beautiful web store site inexpensively. June 2010 the website went live and the dream of Sweet Ruby Jane Confections was created for under $10,000.

Patty, Susan and her husband continue to work their day jobs and spend evenings and weekends making and shipping the confections. When large orders come in, qualified help is available from a local culinary school. All income from the business remains in the operation to allow for growth. With the balance of the initial investment and future ingredients paid by orders, the business is expected to operate a year and a half without future investment.

Their next step is the hiring of marketing rep (you can’t do it all no matter how hard you try). While Susan and Patty are experts at multi tasking, there is not adequate time to go out and represent the company. It is also much harder to sell yourself as most people naturally are hesitant to brag. With high unemployment in the Las Vegas area, several qualified candidates are available for a minimal salary. Once the marketer is in place Sweet Ruby Jane Confections will be ready for success for the upcoming holiday season and years to come.

As the saying goes, don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today. It worked for Sweet Ruby Jane Confections. Visit www.sweetrubyjane.com or phone Susan Philipp at 702-648-1000 for more information on how their dream came true.

Owner
Sweet Ruby Jane Confections
2911 Meade Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89102
702-648-1000
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