Berried in Chocolate: How I Built a Multimillion-Dollar Business by Doing What I Love to Do and How You Can Too
By: Shari Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Publication Date: February 2011
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: March 2, 2011
Berry Blossoms, Swizzle Berries, Black Tie Berries, and Toffee Berries are just a few of the delectable dipped strawberries that come from the Berry Factory, a company owned by Shari Fitzpatrick. In her new book, Berried in Chocolate, Fitzpatrick explains how she built her business from the ground up and gives details that will allow readers insight into what will work and what won’t when it comes to building their own dream business.
After the typical starter type jobs, Shari Fitzpatrick settled into a career as a stockbroker. She enjoyed the job but it certainly wasn’t what she truly loved. What she did enjoy, however, were making her scrumptious chocolate-dipped strawberries for various events. When she made them for a stockbroker party and the brokers were more interested in talking about her strawberries than the latest investment news, an idea was hatched to start her own business. Encouraged by her then mentor, she made the decision to quit her job and start a business in her home. Her fiancé Clay thought she was taking a big risk but didn’t try to stop her. It is at this point that the author drives home the point that, “…loving what you do and doing what you love is so important.” (pg. 34)
After a brief look at the people in her life who were instrumental in encouraging her passion, the author dives into her first chocolate-dipped strawberry business, Shari’s Berries. We’re given a glimpse into its early years, how it grew, what worked, what didn’t, and how it ended up being sold. Next we see the birth and growth of the Berry Factory and how it preserved the passion for a great product that Fitzpatrick was known for and that her first company seemed to lose after its sale. What those passions are, how they’re conveyed to the customer and how to keep buyers coming back for more are discussed in an easy to follow, conversational style. Fitzpatrick’s secrets to success, she admits, “…are pretty simple…a lot of hard work and putting out a quality product.” (pg. 74)
Berried in Chocolate is a nice blend of business book and memoir of the author’s life through her strawberry-obsessed years. It is not a typical, dense, business book that talks about formulas and statistics; rather, it offers a convincing array of tips and advice on how to run a successful business. There is a lot of marketing advice throughout the book, what has worked for the Berry Factory, and what might work for you. There are plenty of suggestions on getting free publicity too.
The author isn’t afraid to expose her failures and these sections may prove particularly helpful to some emerging entrepreneurs. We learn why her original company was sold, what she regrets about it, what she might do differently, and again, how you can avoid these pitfalls with your own company. Fitzpatrick talks about how some ideas flopped but that the desire to try and try again sustained her and kept her company growing. You have to be willing to take risks and not flounder if a new product or idea should fail, advises the author.
As mentioned, this book is part business and part memoir. Through its pages, we learn much about the author, including her dedication to God. She talks briefly about how she dedicated her business to God many years ago, and what that faith in Him has meant to her. While this book in no way is focused on the topic, those looking for a secular business book may be surprised to come upon this discussion. For those eager to try their hand at some of the recipes that Fitzpatrick has used, there are numerous recipes spread through the book. With offerings such as Mango Pie and chocolate-peanut butter-banana milkshake, you may have to put the reading aside briefly as you make a snack! Regardless, you’re sure to gain some valuable insight about both the author and how to build a successful business when you read Berried in Chocolate.
Quill says: Part business book, part memoir, with a little bit of a cookbook thrown in to add spice, Berried in Chocolate provides a wealth of information for those wishing to start their own business.