“Knowledge,” says Lillian Rambus, “That’s the most important thing I’ve gained from Ventures. The instructors really make you think and plan, make you put on paper what it’s going to take to succeed and ask yourself whether you’re willing to do it.”
Lillian had only started thinking about going into business for herself when she enrolled in Ventures’ Business Development Training in 2011. A long career in bill collections had left her longing for work with more meaning, which she wasn’t finding in her move to a job in child support enforcement. What Lillian learned and discovered in that 8-week BDT set her on a whole new path.
Simply Soulful is definitely a family affair. Lillian’s mother is central to both baking and sales, and the whole enterprise is based on a recipe handed down from Lillian’s grandmother. “There are only six ingredients in our sweet potato pie,” says Lillian, adding that those six ingredients are “all natural, all organic.” Lillian’s interest in organic cooking was one of the many things that grew out of her involvement with Ventures, which has included the 16-week Financial Management Training, advanced business training, and enrollment in the upcoming Advanced Marketing Series. Her Ventures peers have lent a hand too, sharing their experience in activities ranging from product demonstrations in grocery stores to the ins and outs of catering.
With a strong sales at local farmers markets, special orders through her website and product placement in several local supermarkets, Lillian is looking to expand her business significantly in the coming year “when my mom retires,” she says. She is gradually expanding into full-service catering, and is considering a food truck featuring organic soul food.
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