Meet Sheryl Perlow, creator of Wicked Awesome Brownie, the luscious brownie that was one of the goodies in the swag bag at the Women in Retail Leadership Circle: On the Road event in New York City. Sheryl is the subject of our latest installment of the Inner Circle Q&A!
Melissa Campanelli: Tell us about your background.
Sheryl Perlow: I’m a very creative person and have always enjoyed crafts. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Ithaca College and later in life obtained my Masters in Education from Lesley University. My favorite jobs over the years were teaching art classes: pottery, mosaics, furniture painting. I see my Wicked Awesome Brownie business as an extension of my creativity. It may be a simple brownie wrapped in simple packaging, but there are so many components that need to be developed, organized and promoted.
MC: Tell us about Wicked Awesome Brownie. What makes them “wicked awesome”?
SP: The first thing people notice about a Wicked Awesome Brownie is that it’s bigger than the typical brownie. Our brownies are the perfect three-inch square. They’re fudgy on the inside and just the right crunch on the top. As a review on WickedAwesomebrownie.com describes, they have a “crispy outside, chewy inside. Dee-lish.” They’re also dairy free and nut free.
MC: Why did you start the company?
SP: My sons convinced me while I was on unemployment to start my own business. Baking, sharing and eating sweets makes me happy. I’ve been baking brownies since my sons were little. There was always a Tupperware of treats on top of the refrigerator filled with something yummy, and I would pack school lunches with extra treats to share. “Mrs. P’s” brownies gained a following.
MC: How do you promote and market your products and brand?
SP: I try to post consistently across Instagram, Facebook and my website. It’s amazing to me the power of social media. I see people sharing my posts, posting reviews or coming to events where I’m selling the brownies because they’ve seen a post.
MC: What was your biggest challenge you had when starting the company, and how did you solve it?
SP: There have been so many challenges, but I would refer to them as building blocks. My first corporate order was 10 times the volume I had ever previously baked for one sale. It was a great problem to have, but as a growing one “woman” operation, there was a huge sigh of relief after baking, packaging and delivering the order. You have to have a can-do attitude and get the job done.
MC: What advice would you give to women thinking about starting their own businesses, or at least side hustles?
SP: Talk to people. Find entrepreneur networks. I was accepted into a local program called EforAll (Entrepreneurship for All), and we met several times a week and I had mentors. They were there to help me when I was looking into insurance, filing as an LLC, etc. Also, know when to pivot. If your idea isn’t working, you need to adjust your thinking.
MC: What’s next for Wicked Awesome Brownie? What are your goals for 2019 and beyond?
SB: In 2019, I’m focusing on building out my social media strategy to drive online ordering as well as corporate orders and gift boxes. It’s hard to look too far ahead with all the daily challenges that come with running a business. Looking back a year ago I would never have believed Wicked Awesome Brownie would grow so much!