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The Entrepreneur Factor

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With all of the confectionary stores around today, it may be hard to believe that that retail concept was considered extremely risky as recently as the 1970s. Debbi Fields was one of the early pioneers in this industry and paved the way for future confection companies. Debbi Fields is better known as Mrs. Fields, who now boasts more than seven hundred cookie shops and franchises worldwide.

Debbi Fields was born in Oakland, California in 1956. At the age of thirteen, she was one of the first “ball girls” for the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Fields received five dollars an hour to collect stray baseballs for the team, and she funneled that money into ingredients for baking cookies, which she loved to bake for her family and friends. After marrying at the age of nineteen, Debbi decided to start her own cookie business. She convinced a local bank to finance the venture and, in 1977, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery opened in Palo Alto, California. When her cookie shop did not get many customers on its first day in business, Debbi took her cookies to the street and began handing them out to passersby. Before long, her business increased significantly.

After twenty years in the cookie business, Debbi had stores and franchises in eleven countries. She prides herself on quality and customer service, and she credits her success, in part, to these attributes. Debbi also jumped into the computer age with both feet, using technology to improve her production schedules and streamline her business. In fact, Mrs. Fields serves as a case study at Harvard Business School because of its successful use of computers and technology.

Debbi sold Mrs. Fields to an investment company in the 1990s, but still acts as the company’s spokesperson.

mrs fields bag

image: LADYM

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