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June 2022 Newsletter

By June 14, 2022October 18th, 2022No Comments

The Good News…
Rita & Sheer Ambrosia’s Going Back To School

 

It was Friday night April 1st and Sheer Ambrosia was invited to the annual Evening in Harlem event put on by the Utah African-American Chamber of Commerce. They purchased several hundred pieces and I was asked to stay and hand out my baklava to all the attendees. I was so excited because it was an excellent networking opportunity and honored to have been one of two dessert vendors invited to showcase my work. I arrived early, armed with my display, three different flavors of baklava, ready to wow the crowd. It was a busy night and the event was well attended, over 300 hundred guests. Everyone was decked out in their 1920-30s best.

About halfway through the night, as I was handing out delicious treats, I saw a tall, beautiful woman with a lovely gown, perfectly coiffed hair, and just the right amount of makeup and jewelry to highlight her beauty. I said to my boyfriend, “Wow, look at HER! She’s gorgeous and so well put together… I’ll have to compliment her at some point tonight.” Well, she walked by my booth a couple more times and I was super busy handing out baklava and telling people about my business. I was working it!

As the night went on and it was getting late, she walked by again. I was standing behind my table and could not run after her, so I raised my voice a bit and said, “Hey, hello, you!” I was determined to tell this lady how nice she looked but there were so many people still walking by. She turned and I said, “I’ve seen you a few times tonight and I just wanted to tell you that I think you look fantastic! Your hair, your face, that dress, you look terrific!” She said thank you and immediately started to check out my booth. She looked at the baklava, my book, my box displays, and she asked me, “Do you want to take your business to the next level?” I said, “well yeahhhhh…of course! What do you mean?” My ears were perked up and ready to listen. She had to yell because it was so loud in there but she explained that she taught at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and that they had a masters program just for small/medium size businesses that she felt I might be perfect for. We exchanged LinkedIn information and she disappeared into the crowd. I was so excited that night, once we arrived back home, I immediately began to research the program. It is a coveted program that lots of small to medium size business owners apply to and only a handful get in. It is geared to help you create the deliverables necessary to talk to investors, bankers, etc. You are given a mentor from the David Eccles School of Business which is one of the top business schools in the country who not only understands business theory, but has first hand knowledge and experience creating business startups. Your classes are all geared towards your very own business, you create business plans, marketing plans, analysis, etc. There are multiple opportunities to meet the right people, who can help you expand your business. It sounds like shark tank except better because you are taught skills and come out of the program with a Masters degree. Best of all, if you are invited into the full-time program, you get a full paid scholarship that covers all the cost of the program so no getting into debt!

That night at the event, the last thing Lee Herbert, (the beautiful South African lady, whom I will forever refer to as my fairy godmother) asked me is if I had a “one sheet.” I did not…I didn’t even know what a “one sheet” is, but on the following Sunday, I worked all day on what the internet said is a “one sheet” and I sent it to her via Linkedin that night. On Monday, I took the day to create a video (see below) that I would eventually send to Lee and the entire MBC committee. Also to get their attention, I made 12 piece gift boxes for all members of the committee and Lee came to my home, picked them up and strategically hand delivered them to each of their offices for me. Next, I attended a Zoom question and answer session about the program, asked questions and got to know one of the professors in the program. Next came two applications and the big interview. Finally on May 17 at 11:47am, after a long interview that I immediately cried after because I didn’t think I did well, I received an email informing me that the faculty of the MBC program had unanimously recommended that I be admitted to the MBC Class of 2023. They said that they were very impressed with me and my business and looked forward to having me be part of their next cohort. YAHOO!!!!! Hallelujah!!

I cannot tell you guys what this means to me! I have been working this business alone for a lot of years. Yes, I have hired help here and there over the years during my busy season and I finally hired a bookkeeper. But I have been running this business, by myself for a long time while taking second jobs to make ends meet when the business alone wasn’t enough. Starting in August, as a student in the program, I get my very own business mentor, and a whole team of people smarter than me to help me take Sheer Ambrosia to the next level. This is miracle two if you’re counting! Miracle one is the massive exposure that NPR’s Marketplace has given me. I feel like I’m on the verge of something great. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me. Come August, I’m going to be working super hard.

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Then There’s The Bad News…

 

While I don’t have any regrets in sharing my personal life with you all, it saddens me that I have to give you this news. As most of you know, on Valentine’s Day 2021 I sold a box of baklava to a man who eventually became my boyfriend. I had not really dated for seven years (I had a date here or there right before the pandemic but nothing serious) because frankly, I was too busy tending to my teenagers and building my business to be bothered with love. I thought the stars had aligned and Cupid was doing me a solid, but unfortunately, it was not in the cards for us to make it.

Joel is a wonderful human. He was just what the doctor ordered at the time. We had so much in common. He was bold, kind, so intelligent…a real intellectual, an ally to the Black community, generous with his time, so incredibly helpful with my business and just so supportive of me. We fell in love hard and fast and I felt feelings I had not experienced in a L-O-N-G time. However, last January after an amazingly busy holiday season, he sat me down and told me that I needed more work-life balance. He told me that he’s never seen any one person work themselves to sheer exhaustion the way he witnessed me work. He said that he could no longer sit back and watch me. He told me that I was not being fair to him and that I needed to take a few months off. He asked me to stop working all hours of the day and night. He told me that he was tired of playing second fiddle to Sheer Ambrosia, he wanted to be top priority. He asked me to scale back. I tried to. I tried to get all my work done by 5 and not work on the weekend. In the end, I could not do what he asked and our relationship eroded. Joel is a 9 to 5er who makes excellent money, has a 401k, and plenty of paid vacation. I am an entrepreneur, who makes ok money, has no employees, doesn’t have a 401k and if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Sheer Ambrosia is my life. I started this business right after I sold my half of my travel agency to my ex-husband. Sheer Ambrosia in so many words saved my life. My marriage had fallen apart, I sold my half of a business that I had built for ten years and I needed to pour myself into something else productive or lose myself in grief.

Sheer Ambrosia started as an idea in my mind and over the years with a ton of sweat and tears it has become big enough to have gotten the attention of The University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, one of the top business schools in the country. I cannot lose steam now. I cannot. I love Joel and he still loves me, and I think we will eventually be friends. He wants to be friends now, I’m not ready to be his friend, my heart is broken. I’ve had my dream of turning Sheer Ambrosia into something big for a long time, I have sacrificed so much for it and I cannot let it go. I want to buy another house one day…a house that’s peaceful, cozy, and conductive to my creative mind, a house with a fountain out back, that I OWN, a house where I will not be at the mercy of a greedy landlord who continues to raise my rent just because he can…It’s up to $2250 a month now…crazy. I am an entrepreneur and I need to see how far I can take this business. While I cannot look him in the face now, I do know for sure that I want nothing but the best for Joel. He’s a man of principle and he knows what he wants for his life and he will not settle.

Over the years, I’ve been a big Steve Harvey fan. Years ago he wrote a book for women called Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man. In it, he gives women relationship advice. He talks about the 3 Ps and if the man you are dating isn’t willing to do the three Ps (Profess his love, Provide, and Protect) for you then let him go. During the chapter on providing, he talks about how men have an innate need to provide for their women. But before they can do that, they essentially have to figure out how to get their finances in order…school, career, moving up the ladder, etc. If they haven’t figured that out yet, let him go because he’s going to be too busy doing that and incapable of giving you the time you need. Well, I’ve got news for Steve Harvey and every other man. Not all women want a man to take care of them. Some women are the same as men when it comes to dating and finding love, if we haven’t gotten our financial act completely figured out and in order, we too are incapable of committing totally. I’m 49 years old and have found myself in a situation where I no longer own my own home. I purchased my first home at 25 and have since owned several homes. Due to a lot of unfortunate situations…i.e. LIFE, in 2018 I had to sell my last home to take care of my family. Had I had a crystal ball and knew that two years later a pandemic would hit, housing prices would double, and inflation would go through the roof, maybe I would not have made the choice I did to sell, but the reality is, I’m in the precarious situation I’m in and I will not be happy (alone or in a relationship) until I get MYSELF out. I plan on doing that with Sheer Ambrosia Bakery and every ounce of tenacity, courage, and fight I have left in me. Sheer Ambrosia has to be my priority now. I don’t have the luxury to have it any other way.

More Good News:
Sofia Graduates High School

 

My daughter just graduated from Park City High School and will start her undergrad career at The University of Utah. Looks like we will be in school at the same time and the same university! Go UTES!!!

Want To Know More About Me & Sheer Ambrosia?

Watch Video I Created For MBC Committee Below

 

My daughter just graduated from Park City High School and will start her undergrad career at The University of Utah. Looks like we will be in school at the same time and the same university! Go UTES!!!

Possible Good News…

Finally a Trip to Greece Is In The Works

 

My daughter just graduated from Park City High School and will start her undergrad career at The University of Utah. Looks like we will be in school at the same time and the same university! Go UTES!!!

Traveling has always been my thing. Since I was a kid I have been curious about other languages, cultures, food, and people. I have traveled all over the world. I studied abroad in Ecuador and Spain and traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina to learn how to dance tango. I’ve been to Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean and a few times to France and Italy. I had crazy adventures on the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean and have also been to the Canary Islands once. But I’ve never been to Greece. I have been making Greek inspired baklava for over 30 years and I’ve never found my way to the country that started it all. Shameful! Well, hopefully this summer that will change. I desperately need to go for work…a scouting expedition of sorts…I am looking for a baklava machine to help me scale and expand my business and I also desperately need to go for a little bit of pleasure and a lot of rest.
I had dinner with my wanderlust friend and Godmother to my daughter, Nicole last night and if she can swing it, we are going to go this summer before school starts in August. Wish me luck finding the holy grail of baklava machines. Scaling Sheer Ambrosia depends on it. Up until now it’s been my hands and my hands only making my 45 layer baklava treats. If you don’t already know…it’s a lot of work! No, a ton of work! Even with the funding to hire new employees that the MBC program may attract, I’m not sure I could find other freaks like me willing to do such tedious work so I’m looking for a machine that can help me out…still the same recipes, still the finest ingredients, and with more LOVE than ever before. I just need a little help from a machine that doesn’t need to sleep, rest or take a break.
If Nicole can swing it and we do get to go, I promise to come back with lots of pics…in fact, maybe my photos can be the source for my 2023 Sheer Ambrosia Bakery Calendar. I’ll keep you posted.

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