Women Who Own It
Founder/CEO of Dress It Up Dressing
What inspired you to start your business?
It was a bit of a family dare. For years, my brother had said the salad dressing recipe we all made – and had inherited from our mother – was so good we could sell it. In the summer of 2012, I was looking for a career shift from film-making to one that allowed for more flexible hours to facilitate caring for three young children. Starting a small cottage industry seemed as viable as the other possibilities I was considering. However, within a few months someone at Whole Foods tried the dressing and said, “We don’t sell anything like this and we should!”
With that, I took the dare and formed the company.
What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?
People are demanding better food and paying attention to labels. That puts the responsibility on us as manufacturers to offer a transparently better product.
The key is to do so in a way that still offers value, because it’s hard to resist a bargain – we all feel that way. Increasingly, though, consumers realize that a few cents more can mean a huge difference in quality, and it’s money well spent when you recognize food can be the ultimate preventative medicine. Hopefully, eating well will prove to be more than a “trend.”
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
The good and the bad. Sometimes it’s the typical: payroll, customer satisfaction, production deadlines. Other times, it’s the dominos. My colleagues hear me reference the dominoes all the time – they have to be lined up before they can fall – and in manufacturing, it’s all about lining them up in the right order. Fail to do that, and it’s chaos.
However, my favorite and most frequent source of sleeplessness is when I’m so excited with an idea or a project that I’m at my laptop in the middle of the night. I’m sure it’s not healthy, but I love it when the alarm goes off at 6 am, and I’ve been awake for hours, just in the groove, a whirling dervish of productivity.
What do you love about being a business owner?
Literally everything (except the anxiety). I love the problem solving. It’s a puzzle that CAN be solved, it’s just a question of how. Frequently, you come to an obstacle and you just have to figure out your way around it or over it. You have to make decisions based on your wits, experience, knowledge, and opportunities, with an eye on both your near and long-term goals. It keeps you on your toes and thinking creatively.
How do you define success?
As a business: growth. As a business owner: Self-determination. The ability to wake up in the morning and do what you want to do, accountable primarily to yourself, yet responsible to and for others (so you don’t become a nightmare).
In my mind, Dress It Up Dressing has already been successful many times over, but each milestone reached has created a new target one.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Good news sometimes takes the form of bad news.
A couple years out of college, I didn’t get a job I wanted so badly. It paid really well and would have set me on a track to be a totally miserable and unsatisfied bureaucrat within a few years. I didn’t recognize it as such, of course. At the time, I was devastated, but looking back on it now, I’m incredibly grateful. When things don’t work out, it isn’t always as bad as you think. Blessings sometimes wear really good disguises.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Aim to achieve work/life balance.
What’s the best way to start your day?
Coffee with grumpy, groggy children. It’s the only way.
What do you like about your workspace?
My colleagues (3 moms and a millennial), and our Help Yourself Shelf: where you can find both “Bump and Scratch” dressing and the results of bartering at recent trade shows. It runs the gamut, from some of the best chocolate you’ve ever tasted, to right now, I think there’s a nasal salinator in there.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... solve it.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself ... the thrill of confronting your fears head on is unparalleled, so be fearless. You’ll love it.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… hope.
By this time next year, I will be… nifty fifty.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… a meeting with one of the most incredibly creative women I’ve ever met that was positively exhausting it was such an ideafest.
To get my creative juices flowing, I…caffeinate.
Dress it up Dressing
Dress It Up changes your conventional salad experience by offering dressings that are thick, creamy, and full of flavor! Our dressings are carefully crafted with a few simple ingredients that are beneficial and healthy – like a salad!
We established the company with a similar philosophy in mind. It was equally important to create a product that is beneficial to our bodies, and a company that benefits our employees, our community, and the planet. At Dress It Up Dressing, we measure our success by more than just dollars. We are proud to be a Women-Owned Small Business and Certified B Corporation.