Not the Way the Cookie Crumbles: A Look at Debbi Fields, Founder of Mrs. Field’s Cookies

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On September 3, 2012

Often when we think about entrepreneurs, we assume that they are people who come up with radically new ideas that most of us could never conceive. Often that’s an accurate assumption. But sometimes a successful entrepreneur is a person of passion who takes a simple idea and simply does it better than anyone else.

Debbi Fields (born Debra Jane Sivyer) was one of those entrepreneurs. Even as a kid she’d loved baking cookies and seeing the response she got from friends and family. So at the age of 13, she took the money she earned from her $5-an-hour job to buy quality ingredients such as real vanilla, real butter, and real chocolate chips for baking her cookies.

At 20 years of age—her passion still intact—she opened her first cookie shop (despite being told by many that opening a cookie store wouldn’t work) with a $25,000 bank loan (following numerous rejections). After a morning of no sales, she began handing out free samples of her cookies outside her shop—and the rush was on.

It took more than a passion for cookies, however to grow her business. She was dedicated to producing great cookies (her company motto was “Good enough never is”) and to outstanding customer satisfaction.

She also paid attention to business and began using a then state-of-the-art computer system to improve efficiency in her operations. She expanded her business by franchising her business concept. That worked out pretty well for the woman once known as “the cookie kid”. There are currently close to 400 Mrs. Fields locations in the U.S., and more than 80 locations internationally that make this a $500 million company.

Debbi Fields didn’t have the most revolutionary idea in the world. She just made cookies. But she was passionate, persistent, and committed to take the chance to prove that she could do it better than anyone else. As she herself says

“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”

P.S. If you’re looking for a way to turn your passion into success, I’d love to have you join me at the Gazelles Rockefeller Habits/4 Decisions Workshop on September 26, 2012 in Colorado Springs, CO. It’s a great event for CEOs and their leadership teams. Check out this seminar and sign up today!