I reside in Los Angeles, California where my business is also located. I am the oldest of three children and was raised by my single mother after my father passed away at a young age. I was one of the last people to speak with my dad before he died, and I recall him being adamant in wanting me to take care of the family and to be a success. I worked especially hard to achieve the most I could in order to fulfill my dad’s dying wish.
After the passing of my dad, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother while my mother worked. I often watched my grandmother working in the kitchen and studying her recipe books. My grandma encouraged me to be creative in the kitchen and frequently made me treats to enjoy.
Fast forward to shortly after college, when I had my own family. My boss didn’t want to allow me to take time off to take my daughter to her first day of kindergarten. I realized that if I worked for myself I would not have to miss irreplaceable monumental life events such as this. This realization inspired me to venture off and work in real estate and to eventually own my own brokerage firm. Since then, I have become a serial entrepreneur, having owned a college licensed apparel line and now a food business.
My food business, Dr. Shica’s Incredi-Whip, offers a delicious whipped topping; dessert topper, coffee creamer and fruit dip with no artificial colors/flavors or high fructose corn syrup, at half the calories. Our very first production run at Incredi-Whip was a nightmare. After months of development and scraping and scrounging to get the money together, the taste was off—the formula made in a test kitchen does not easily translate well to mass manufacturing. All of my money, time and efforts were wasted as well as my first batch of Incredi-Whip.
We eventually perfected our formula, and online orders were going great for us, but shipping the aerosol can products was a lot more expensive than anticipated, and the company was losing money on these shipments. I tried several different ways to remedy this problem, but nothing worked. One day, while working with ingredients in my test kitchen, I realized I had the answer the entire time—sell it in a powder form! I decided to sell my flavor mixes as a powder where customers could use it in various recipes in addition to making whipped cream. This new business, Pretty Delicious Foods, LLC, offers all-in-one flavor mixes that can be used for baked goods, glazes, icings, whipped cream, ice cream and more. Still to this day I look back and laugh at my luck of coming up with a great product because of our shipping dilemma.
Another successful result from a business obstacle we faced occurred during one “red-eyed” journey taken to visit a potential retailer. My husband and I were traveling to meet with this major retailer, but we had to pick up samples from our factory first. The factory visit ended up taking longer than planned, and we missed our flight—no other flights were available. We had to be at this retailer the next morning by 9am so it left us with no other choice. With little to no sleep after flying on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles, we drove all night for eleven hours! We made it to the appointment just in time for us to change clothes and have thirty minutes to prepare for the meeting. Although there were hurdles, the appointment went great, and we landed our first major retailer! After leaving that meeting, another large retailer asked us to come by their offices, and we landed that account as well!
As you can likely tell from my experiences, I am a participative leader and enjoy being hands-on in business and therefore choose to be active in every aspect. I, as does my family, live, breathe and think “business”. I do, however, find time for inspiration in nature and love gazing out at the ocean, sitting poolside or overlooking a beautiful mountain view. This is where I enjoy meditating and generating my ideas, but the role of a business owner surrounds my life, as the business never stops. I continue to be driven by my greatest accomplishment in life—fulfilling my dad’s dream and desire to become a success and provide for my family. And while it is a challenge to prove myself in a male-dominated industry, I continue to thrive and overcome this obstacle through my persistence and passion.
“If you can’t find it, create it!”
— DR. SHICA
DR. SHICA’S TIPS
1. Make sure you are adequately funded. Plan to have more funds than you think you need for the business. There are always unexpected costs.
2. Play an active role in creating your business plan. A business plan is a ‘live’ and active document that should be used as a blueprint. Having a plan will help you stay on track without getting sidetracked when various challenges and opportunities are thrown at you.
3. Have realistic expectations. Don’t cause undue stress by having artificial deadlines and unrealistic goals. Slow and steady growth is the best type of growth.
4. Learn as much as you can about every aspect in your field of business. Never depend on others to the fact you are clueless and can’t operate without that person. Research to learn everything about your business.
5. Welcome consumer feedback. Use it as a way to grow and get better. And, never be so arrogant about your product that you feel there’s no room for growth. Always keep your ears open for suggestions that could result in game-changing improvements.
6. Count every penny. Pennies add up to dollars! Find ways to improve cost and increase profits; however, quality should always be king!
7. Don’t be afraid to act. Planning is critical, however, at some point, you have to take the facts gathered and act on them.