The recruiter in me just loves people's stories! I can't resist finding out the story behind the amazing female entrepreneurs I encounter on my mission to support local businesses.
Meet Wendy, the Fudge Fairy!
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am Wendy Ross. I am 60 years old. Roman Catholic. A twice-divorced mother of 3 grown-up sons. I have had quite a few different occupations over the years. I started working when I was 17, as a legal secretary. I worked in the legal field for about 15 years. When my youngest son was born I registered and started operating Fudge Fairy Products, making a variety of confectionery goods, cold-calling numerous businesses with samples, merchandised, sales, deliveries - all via train and walking. Even selling outside my sons' school at breaktime. Unfortunately, I had to put Fudge Fairy Products on hold because I was not making enough to support my family. So I went back to work in the legal field for another 7 or 8 years. I studied in the evenings so that I could become an estate agent, then qualified and joined an estate agency in 2003 for a year. In 2004 I registered my own estate agency and practiced as an estate agent until 2007. In 2007 my eldest son asked me to do his books for 3 months, and I am still working for him as his Financial and Asset Manager, some 15 years later.
How old is your business now?
I relaunched Fudge Fairy Products in August 2021.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business? And what was your mission at the outset?
My Mom used to make fudge. I started making fudge in my teens. So, no specific idea or concept - I am just lucky enough to be able to make fudge. No mission other than to support my family and me.
What is unique about your business?
A lot of people struggle to make fudge that doesn't turn out like toffee. I suppose I have just been given the knack. I am trying to incorporate different flavours to cater to different tastes. My fudge is made from "real" products and no preservatives are put into it. It is freshly made as orders come in, in a pot on the stove, the old-fashioned way.
Are you a solo entrepreneur or how many members does your team currently comprise?
I am the only one who can make the fudge. My one son assists with my social media, and I am lucky enough to get help from my other son with making up the boxes, labeling, etc. when things are going really crazy.
To what do you attribute your success?
Goodness me! Fudge Fairy Products is still in its infancy this time around. It amazes me how successful it has become since it was relaunched. If I had to say what has helped it to grow, I would say that social media has made a huge difference. I no longer need to catch the train, carrying bags and bags of fudge, cold calling to bring in customers. Social media has made things a lot easier.
What does a typical day look like for you? And how many hours, on average, do you work daily?
Without going into the nitty-gritty of the daily tasks, I start my "full-time" job from 8.00 until 1.00. Between 1.00 and 2.00 I make fudge. Full-time job again from 2.00 until 5.00. Then I make (if I have the orders) 2 or 4 batches of fudge after work. Supper after that - a quick meal and then downtime. So, depending on the orders, I could work from 8.00 a.m. until 7.30/9.30 in the evening. If required, I will also make fudge on the weekends too.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your life?
Being a person who has always been ambitious and always sought more out of life, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, it is how I live.
If you could go back in time and start up your business all over again, what would you do differently?
I think I have pretty much done the roundabout with Fudge Fairy Products. I started it "back in time" and relaunched it now. Back in time, I could not have done anything differently to how I did it. It was how things were done then. There was no social media.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to someone just starting out?
If you don't have life experience, employ someone who does! You must have knowledge of the business practice. You must have bookkeeping knowledge. You must know your product and you need to "read" your customers/clients. (Sorry, I know that isn't one piece of advice, but you don't ask someone 60 years old that question and expect to only get one answer (haha).
Where can we find your business on social media?
Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/fudgefairyproducts
Instagram handle: @FudgeFairyProducts (same on Twitter)
Twitter handle: @FudgeProducts
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