With a focus on relationships, alumna Erin Edds has found the right ingredients for success
Ivy Tech Community College alumna Erin Edds has learned a few important lessons in starting her own business. Much of her success, however, stems from her awareness about what she doesn’t know.
“It is important to recognize your own personal skill set and build a team around your shortcomings,” Edds says. “For instance, I had no formal business training, so I found partners with a history of running successful businesses.”
Edds and her partners obviously know their stuff. They’ve grown their company Hoosier Momma™ into one of Indiana’s most notable success stories, with its products sold in eight states and served at venues like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lucas Oil Stadium. The business recently earned a coveted spot on Wal-Mart shelves throughout Indiana and picked up a new distributor in the Chicago area.
Hoosier Momma™ owes much of its success to the power of collaboration. While her partners provide much-needed business savvy, Edds serves as the company’s creative and culinary leader. In that role, she draws on her past experience as a hospitality student at Ivy Tech. She attended the College from 2003-2004, learning how to turn her love of the kitchen into a career.
During her time at Ivy Tech, Edds also began to understand how critically important relationships can be. The intervening years have only reinforced that understanding.
“Do not burn bridges,” Edds says. “I have found that a lot of my previous experiences helped me forge relationships that have helped in my professional development.”
Among the relationships Edds has come to cherish is the one she’s built with Ivy Tech as an alumna. As the College has grown in Central Indiana, she’s had the opportunity to share the Hoosier Momma™ story – and the company’s products – with an even larger audience.
“There have been multiple events held in the new culinary arts space,” Edds says, “and with that, opportunities to showcase Hoosier Momma™.”
Edds is well aware of how one event can be a game changer for a small business. Hoosier Momma™ got its start by providing products included in a gift basket distributed at Super Bowl XLIV. That led to significant demand – and the launch of the company.
With all her success, what advice does Edds have for Ivy Tech students? Not surprisingly, her recipe for success has as much to do with people as it does with anything else.
“Find a mentor, but be respectful of their time,” Edds says. “Do your homework, source your ingredients thoughtfully, and put as much effort into the way the products are packaged and marketed as you do what is in the packaging. The packaging and labeling will sell the first unit, but what’s inside is what will make them come back for more.”