For as long as she can remember, Betsy Thagard had a passion for creating unique gifts for family and friends, and that gift happened to be toffee. In 2010, she turned her love for toffee into a business, which is now known as “B. toffee”. She didn’t have a culinary degree or professional experience – she had a passion. Find out how this local Newport Beach resident turned her passion into a successful, growing business.
How did B. toffee get started?
I wanted to create a gift that was special and unique. I spent years passionately experimenting to create the perfect toffee. I’d share with family and friends who continued to urge me to introduce it to the world. I pursued the idea more seriously after our kids went away to college. I never thought of it as just a hobby, but had no idea it would continue to grow into the business that it is today.
How long have you been in business?
How did you grow your business?
When B. toffee was founded in Newport Beach, CA, I introduced it to two local specialty stores in the area who loved it and still carry it on their shelves to this day. The business continued to grow by word of mouth. I’m fueled by the opportunity to share my product with the world. Everyone I meet is a potential customer, and sharing the love of our product is what I do best. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with some fabulous companies, and I continue to work hard growing the business. I look forward to what the future will bring.
What was your biggest challenge when you first got started?
Keeping up with the demand for our product. This is still a challenge, but we try to stay one step ahead at all times.
What has been your biggest business accomplishment to date?
The continued growth of the company and gaining more brand presence nationally with our product. Our toffee won the highest Gold Award Honors for Top Toffee and Best Packaging out of San Francisco. The sleek sophisticated packaging sets us apart and draws the consumer in. Once you taste our B. toffee, chances are you’ll be hooked.
Did you have a culinary background prior to launching B. toffee?
I’ve loved to cook and entertain for as long as I can remember. I’m self taught, experimenting all the time in the kitchen.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
Do something you love and that you are passionate about. You are going to be putting a great deal of hard work into it if you want it to succeed. Share your ideas with family and friends. Get their feedback. They will be your best critics. Start out slow. Don’t grow too fast.
What are some characteristics that a successful business owner must have?
As an entrepreneur I go to work everyday unemployed, with the tenacity, passion and determination to accomplish what I envision for the company. Treat your employees with the utmost respect. Work together as a team. Don’t ever assume you know it all.
What kind of employees do you look for when hiring?
A professional with a positive attitude that is highly motivated and ensures quality standards. They must be able to work at a fast pace, but be capable of producing the best possible results. Being knowledgeable in cleanliness, sanitary and health standards are also required. The most important characteristics are being honest and reliable.
What are your long-term goals for yourself and for the business?
Continue to grow the business and expand into even more markets nationally. Work in partnership with a larger conglomerate to assist in taking our production and distribution to greater heights.
Want to work at B. toffee? They’re currently hiring Assistant Bakers on CHOPS Jobs.