“You can often project your success in life by looking at the top 5 people you spend most of your time with. If you don’t want to be those people, you know what to do…” – Will Smith
Name: Charlie Fyffe
Where are you from?
Los Angeles, CA
Did you go to college? Where?
University of California, Berkeley in Northern California
What did you study?
Leadership & Social Change
Why did you pick this career?
I decided to become an entrepreneur because it allows me to live a life of freedom
outside of the cubicle while granting me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and greater vision. Specifically, I chose to become a baker because sweets make people happy and it’s a fun industry.
What are your future plans for your career?
I plan on branding Charlie’s Brownies as the premiere brownie brand on the market while helping countless numbers of minorities get their businesses off the ground in the process via TheCASHFLOW platform. I also do motivational speaking on leadership and entrepreneurship.
How did you get involved in this career?
God mainly but to be more specific, Charlie’s Brownies was founded upon the basic entrepreneurial principle of recognizing a need in the marketplace. As a budding student entrepreneur, I sold candy and Gatorades in high school. Due to long lines at the cafeteria and a limited supply of pastries available for purchase, hundreds of students were left with only a few options to suppress their sweets cravings. After making some trial brownies and bringing them to campus, they were a success and I was shortly after tagged with the nicknames “Charlie Brown” and “Charlie Brownies.” As my clientele started to grow, an unbridled passion for the kitchen and dessert making naturally sparked my soul. After doing many taste testings and receiving feedback from friends and family, my mother and I eventually developed a quality original recipe. I started selling the brownies in simple cake boxes with a custom Charlie’s Brownies sticker on it. Following these simple steps and staying consistent opened up the door for a viable business opportunity.
How did you prepare yourself for this career?
In order to turn my passion into a business, I knew there was a lot learn. I started reading business/entrepreneur related books regularly and taking on internships to learn the ins and outs of how to be a business owner. Preparing to become an entrepreneur takes hard work, stepping out of one’s comfort zone regularly, and accepting failure as lessons to improve for the future.
And if you just happened to land in this career what made you stay?
I stayed in this career for a few different reasons. First and foremost, I have taken side jobs to make some money to support my business. I’ve learned from trial that I do not enjoy working as an employee for someone else. Secondly, there is a definitely a void in the marketplace for quality brownie products. Finally, building something from scratch, no pun intended, is exciting each and every day. Every small victory I get and each new development that comes with the business keeps me motivated to move to the next level of growth.
What are the downsides to this profession?
The downside to this profession is definitely getting over the first humps of making no money, people not believing in you, and setting up all the legal paperwork while still working to build your clientele and market your product. It takes a lot of patience and internal fortitude but at the end it’s definitely worth it!
What is a typical workday for you?
I wake up early around 5 AM to start the day with some physical activity and a baking session. We make a few big pans of brownies and keep them stashed in our freezer ready for delivery. My day consists of many things including marketing our products, meeting with potential vendors, making deliveries, and helping other people with their business plans. I go to bed early usually to make sure I have a enough energy for the next day. There is never a dull moment!
How might this job be a stepping stone to other professions?
While learning how to build a baking business, much of the knowledge translates into building any other business enterprise from the ground up. If I ever wanted to step into another industry, I feel like it would just be a quick hop and skip with much of the skill sets being transferrable. With all of this experience under my belt, I am looking to start a business development consulting firm eventually.
What is the single-most important piece of advice you can offer a person pursuing this career?
Study Your Competition! By looking closely at other similar products, you can learn many things such as the average market price, good packaging ideas, nutrition facts to beat out, and you will be able to compare the taste and quality of your products to see if they match up!
What steps do you recommend to someone who is planning to pursue this career?
I would suggest not keeping your idea nor your product to yourself. Don’t worry about somebody stealing your idea because ultimately their passion is probably not be the same, thus the end product will not be the same as yours. For instance, people can watch me bake my brownies live, but that does not mean they can replicate the product exactly. By sharing what you are doing with others, you gain clients, free helpers, you get plenty of good ideas to improve your product and ultimately your company. I would also highly suggest going to culinary school. I took six months of professional baking classes which sharpened up my knowledge of the industry and taught me some trade secrets that I still use to this day.
What professional or community volunteer organizations are you currently a member of?
The Jackie Robinson Foundation
Agape International Spiritual Center
What’s a funny memory from your college or high school days you are legally allowed to share?
One time at band camp . . . Just Kidding! My freshman year in the dorms, I won three awards: Disturbing the Peace, Where’s Waldo?, and Most Likely to Be Cast on MTV Real World lol
How can we find out more about you?
You can email me personally at Charles.Fyffe@Gmail.com