CEO & Founder of Charlie’s Brownies, The Official Brownie Experience
Charlie, 23, is a native of Los Angeles, CA and charismatic entrepreneur. He’s also a Jackie Robinson Scholar, a party promoter, and a community benevolent as he actively reaches out and tries to help urban youth achieve their entrepreneurial goals through TheCashFlow.com. In high school, he made some brownies that people loved. They loved them so much that he began to sell them even as he went to college. He literally took baby steps from there to bring his concept to a point where he’s ready for a second round of investment. He has a keen entrepreneurial sense that enables him to keep his overhead low while securing key items like a really nice logo (see below), a beautiful website (www.charliesbrownies.com), and some good photos of his operation.
I really love entrepreneurs, and Charlie is no exception. Anything is possible, everything is an opportunity, and nothing is a dead end. I met Charlie when he did a semester at NYU and I was inspired by the way he handled his projects. It was the first time I really saw business/school/everything occurring to someone like a video game: it’s always fun for him, he can (and does) do it all day long, and if he runs into a problem here, he just keeps on plugging away until he gets what he wants. So I asked him to share what he is up to in hopes of inspiring other people. He’s also a pretty well-connected guy and I know he’s open to talking about new possibilities and opportunities so I would leave his contact information below.
What were you doing before you started Charlie’s Brownies (CB)?
I started producing and selling brownies when I was 15 but didn’t officially launch the actual business until I was 21. CB was part time and helped pay the bills while I was a full time student at UC Berkeley. Also, I spent a year developing a clothing brand, AGL [Jared’s note: www.aglbrand.com – sexy clothes for men and women]. In that process while serving as President of the line, I learned a great deal about leadership, marketing, and business development.
What gave you the idea for CB?
It was serendipity. My mother helped me package and bake brownies for a pot luck. After seeing the attendees devour the entire box of brownies, I immediately made the decision to bring those brownies to school next week and try to sell them along with the Gatorades and candy that I was already selling.
How did you start? Talk about the baby steps you took.
As the original brownies I brought to school were a hit, I started to play around in the kitchen with new flavors and ingredients. The outcome of this experiment was an amazing recipe for home-made gourmet brownies. My first “hit single” was my s’mores brownie, one that caught the attention of many students and faculty who tasted it. After hearing about this new hot item around the school, the manager of the Tully’s Coffee shop on UC Berkeley’s campus contacted me to meet with him. After tasting the product himself, he made an offer for me to supply the shop. Shortly after, I got my DBA for Charlie’s Brownies, I made a Facebook fan page, signed a distribution contract with Tully’s and that was all she wrote!
What is the biggest leap you have had or plan to have in near future that will catapult CB?
My first leap was an angel investment that paid for a custom logo and a new website. Furthermore, my next leap is an investment that funds a bigger commercial kitchen space and a launch party in Los Angeles. Simultaneously, I will launch my website CharliesBrownies.com and be open for business to the world of online users.
What vision do you have for the future?
I see Charlie’s Brownies developing into a nationwide and eventually global gourmet brownie distribution company existing with high market share and exceeding customer loyalty. CB will be an environmentally sound company with a green certification. The company will be famous for totally innovating “The Brownie Experience” as we know it!
If you could give one piece of advice to entrepreneurs a few steps behind you, what would it be?
Study your competition as deeply as possible and learn from their strengths and weaknesses.
If you could recommend anything to an open minded reader to try without expectation except to improve their life, what would it be?
Anything Gladwell or Coelho
What motivates you to be an entrepreneur and keeps you going on mood downswings?
The freedom that comes with ownership. I am ultimately in control of financial future and the use of my time in this one life I have to live. I will continue to work extremely hard because this type of freedom is earned and takes a lot of responsibility to maintain.
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