Many Americans, in their middle years, are facing daunting career struggles. In a tough employment market, significant numbers are trying to find new jobs or a way to generate a second income. Today, CYInterview profiles one of our longtime followers, Bridget Graham. She’s not a celebrity or prominent newsmaker, but she’s a mom doing what she can to support her family.
For starters, Bridget is a construction worker – not your average profession for a woman. But here is where her story gets really interesting. While searching for a gift for her mother, who is allergic to flowers but loved them nonetheless, Ms. Graham came up with the idea of making a chocolate flower, overcoming the allergy issue and combining two of her mom’s passions, chocolate and flowers.
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At the time, she had no idea this original creation would become big business. She says the creativity and passion comes from her mother. It takes her just minutes to create this unique chocolate art.
“I made 12 roses for her and put it in a nice bunch. When I had presented it to her, she couldn’t believe it. First, she thought it was really flowers. I told her no, it’s chocolate. She looked at me like, oh my God! She said, ‘You know, you’re here crying about your finances and you’re going through hardship and everything, this is your income you’re look for right now. This could be a business.’ I was like, a business? It’s just chocolate flowers. She said, ‘But I’ve never seen this before. You really need to search and find. I never seen this before.’ So then I did again search on the Internet and found out there wasn’t anything like it. That’s where I put the patent pending on it and figured yeah, turned it into a business.”
Bridget’s business has taken off, providing a second income any aspiring small business person would be proud of. Bridget has orders for the upcoming NBA All Star weekend events, as well as over 300 orders for Valentine’s Day, just around the corner. Her Sweetable Eatables, as the chocolate flowers are called, are priced between $2 and up depending on what is ordered.
“It helped me tremendously. Even a second job wouldn’t be as fulfilling as this is right now. A lot of us out here, we get used to the same old rat race of going to work and we’re scared to step out on that limb and even, we have these ideas and we just let them shoot past us because we figure like, you know, it can’t work, but you really, if anybody has an idea, do it. I really encourage them to step out on that limb and do it…I just got a order for the NBA All Star Weekend. I got an order for 1000 roses, that’s gonna be part of I guess, the gift bag. I just received another order for Malcom X Mother’s Foundation. They’re going to be doing a charity for that and I just got an order to do 20 tables for that event. I’m getting really big orders. Right now, for Valentine’s Day, I’m close to over 200 orders now for Valentine’s Day.”
Mothers today are constantly caught in playing the superwoman role, working their jobs and raising a family. This gives them precious little time to think about developing a business. Graham says she didn’t have the time either, but somehow she it. She relates her story, telling us the most important thing when starting a business is not to give up:
“I don’t have the time, but I have the time. You understand? I am working construction. I have five kids. I have two grandkids and I’m still doing this business. You can’t think about it too much because believe me, if you’re passionate about it, it falls in place. It sounds crazy and how mystery it could be, but that’s just how it happened. It all falls in place…The most important lesson I’ve learned is not to give up, not to give up because once you’re getting frustrated and it seems like nothing is happening and then believe me, a door will open. You just gotta hold on, don’t give up.”
Bridget’s a follower of CYInterview. She was visiting Florida and her friend, who she says is a big fan, showed her some of our interviews. Months later, the entrepreneur/mom reached out to us:
“I was feeling a little down and just on LinkedIn looking around and then I just remember when I seen the name. Oh my God, I was listening to him when I was down in Florida visiting a friend, cause you know, my friend is crazy over you. So she likes your interviews. Just seeing your name, I said, ‘Ok, let me just reach out to him and I’m so happy you accepted me without a problem.”
I asked Bridget, why she thinks folks might like what we do here on CYInterview?
“It’s because of your honesty. It’s because how you’re doing things to bring out the best in people. That’s what I see. It’s like, even when you do interviews, you don’t do any kind of harsh bashing. You’re very friendly. You just give nice interviews. It’s very pleasant to listen to you. It’s like, there’s so much negativity going on through the day and you don’t want to hear that in the interview and you never give that in your interview. So that’s what really draws us to you.”
Bridget Graham’s unique chocolate art is paying off. We hope people looking for some inspiration – maybe going through a period of reinvention – can take something away from her story. She’s being recognized by her entrepreneurial peers too. For example, in 2010 she was awarded the best media pitch at the Entrepreneur Expose at http://www.entrepreneurexpose.com/index.htm.
Many thanks to Bridget for her kind words about CYInterview and me. She’s currently working on collaborating with the chocolate supplier she uses to make her Sweetable Eatables to possibly market her product to a wider audience. You can find more information about Sweetable Eatables and purchase some of the delicious and beautiful chocolate flowers at http://www.sweetableeatables.com. There are various flavors including cherry, coconut, apple, orange, strawberry, lemon, grape, etc.
CYInterview.com is holding a contest from February 9th, 2011 to February 19th, 2011. In a few sentences, tell us what you thought of this story in the comment box below. We’ll contact, via email, the person who gives the best response and they will be mailed some chocolate flowers in the coming weeks, courtesy of Bridget Graham at Sweetable Eatables.