D’ Leche is an all-natural, gourmet baking company focused on creating traditional artisanal specialty sweets inspired by recipes from Argentina. The Company is owned by Veronica C. Sain, a native of Argentina who came to America with her family as a young girl, but held on to her passion for all things Argentine.
Ah ha’ moment that led you to launching this business: My journey to launching dleche.com was in part spawned by my frequent drives nearly an hour away north of my home in New Jersey to purchase Alfajores from an Argentine bakery that made them just as I remembered. One day I had this thought, “I am lucky to have access to a location to purchase them, but what about other Argentine natives and foodies in the US who desired these yummy treats?” And with that thought, I began my quest to produce my own handcrafted line of Alfajores featuring the creamy dulce de leche centers that I craved. I was finally leaving the corporate world behind to lead my own venture.
Ideal customer/target market: Foodies who enjoy gourmet confections that are handcrafted and made from natural ingredients. A customer who is focused on quality, taste and seeking to try something different than the ordinary.
First customer or client: At the moment, D’ Leche is an online business which launched in March 2015. My first customer came to me through our online store.
Measuring Success: I have specific goals I’d like to reach for D’ Leche and measure success by how many of those goals I’ve accomplished. Of course, I continue to add to those goals. Possibilities are endless.
To me early successes are developing a good solid foundation with customers and clients by offering quality products.
Biggest Struggle: My biggest struggle has been to “get the name out there!” I’ve realized just because I have a website and a great tasting unique product to introduce to everyone, that doesn’t mean everyone knows about it.
I’ve done my homework on how to further market my product/ D’ Leche and have also contacted experts in this area to help in this area. As a business owner, it’s important to learn as much as you can and know your company inside and out whether you have two employees or 2,000.
Surprise!: I was surprised at first by just how rewarding being an entrepreneur can be. It’s definitely harder than your typical office job, but the rewards are limitless. However, being an entrepreneur is certainly not without its challenges. I admit that not having a business partner to bounce ideas off sometimes puts a lot more pressure on me to be decisive. The upside is that it makes the decision making process easier because the “buck” stops with me. I believe I can overcome any challenge I set my mind to.
Two things you wish you would’ve known: Before I launched D’ Leche, I set a good foundation for it. I researched and attended many seminars and conferences on anything from how to start-ups, running a start-up, to accounting and marketing and many other areas which I believe are necessary tools for the start of any successful company.
What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: As an entrepreneur you’re always thinking and planning next-steps on improving the company and offering new products. The need for growth and change is necessary for any company.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: I think this is a thought many entrepreneurs have when starting up a new company. It’s important to stay focused on why you decided to start your business and to continue reaching for your dreams.
What’s your biggest business goal over the next year: Over the next 12 months, I plan to offer my product to retailers and open a brick and mortar, D’ Leche Café. Franchising is also a possibility.
Pricing/advice on getting it right: For D’ Leche, I take into consideration what I’m offering in my product, all-natural, organic, artisanal and preservative free dulce de leche caramel confections. I feel you have to take into consideration the quality of your product being offered to your customers. Sure, a customer may be able to find it for less someplace else, but does it deliver the quality you are offering whether it be for a product or service?
Funding: The overhead for an online store is much less than of course opening doors to a brick and mortar. It’s why I chose to go this route first to keep overhead spending low while establishing the company. I’ve attended several Funding conferences through WCEC whose audience are woman entrepreneurs and have provided their participants with tools on funding your business. Anything from small business loans to crowd funding. I’ve found it’s important to attend these conferences live versus via phone. Reason being… the networking at any conference is amazing and the information shared amongst each other is invaluable.
Must-read online resource: I haven’t found a must-read online resource specific to my industry, but would love to know of one or more! The more informed I am about my industry, the better. I do, however, receive many helpful tips from Shopify on anything from how to market your business to ultimate crowdfunding, ecommerce and driving targeted traffic to your store. All must reads.
The absolute best part of owning my business is you are your own boss and the flexibility.
If I had to start over again, I would have heavily marketed the company prior to launching it.
I never imagined (although rewarding in many areas) owning my own business would be so difficult.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout “Never give up on your dreams and never stop dreaming!”