Anyone who has spent time baking knows the heartbreak that ensues when you arrive at your destination only to find your beautiful baked goods have been ruined in transit.
After being a victim of this one too many times, I created Bakers Sto N Go, a food storage container with adjustable trays that helps cooks stack and transport baked goods safely.
The idea came to me during a quiet meditation one day. ‘How could something so simple not exist,’ I wondered.
I had always wanted to be an inventor, so my husband told me to go for it. I spent the next 12 months working tirelessly until my product was perfect.
I made countless dozens of cookies, cakes, muffins and brownies, using every store-bought mix available to ensure the dimensions were right.
I eventually went to a mold maker, created a prototype, and in January 2007 attended my first trade show with the finished product.
Bakers Sto N Go was an immediate hit! Over the next 10 years, I sold my product in stores, online and in catalogs.
Earlier this year, I saw a promotion about a “Made In America” product search on Walmart’s website. I completed an online application, then waited. On the morning of May 26, I logged into to my computer and saw an email that said “Congratulations! You’re on your way to Walmart.”
A month later, I traveled to Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. I was intimidated by the idea of pitching the world’s largest retailer, but the people at Walmart went out of their way to be helpful.
The next morning, more than 700 entrepreneurs attended a meeting with company executives. The room was electric. One guest, Mr. Bassett from Bassett Furniture, delivered an incredible speech about the importance of Made in America products. He was an inspiration to us all.
After the group session came the breakout pitch meetings. Mine consisted of 6 people, from buyers to specialty employees.
My presentation was detailed. I explained why my product was a good fit for Walmart, and how it will benefit shoppers. We talked numbers and inventory.
They complimented me for doing my homework, especially the fact that I visited a Walmart store and showed pictures of where my product should be displayed. I wanted this account, and I was determined to make that clear.
After 30 minutes, my buyer pulled out a green slip that read, “Congratulations. You’re in Walmart.” My eyes grew as big as oranges – I was so happy!
I left the room, we shot a quick video, and soon it was time for me to catch my midnight flight back to South Florida. The next morning, I got to work preparing for Bakers Sto N Go to debut on Walmart shelves. I wasn’t wasting any time.
I’m still pinching myself. The whole experience was like a dream. I came away inspired by my peers and proud to be a “Made in America” entrepreneur.
Sometimes a simple idea takes you down a winding road. The past three months have been a whirlwind for my family, and I cherish the day when I’ll walk into Walmart only to find Bakers Sto N Go on the shelf.
Angela Horevitz is the founder of Bakers Sto N Go of Fort Lauderdale, www.bakersstongo.com