You may know her as the CEO of Charleigh’s Cookies, but I know her as Cordelia. She started Charleigh’s Cookies in 2012 and single-handedly did all the recipe formulating and baking herself. Things quickly got serious and she moved her operation to larger and larger commercial kitchens and hired additional bakers. Today, Charleigh’s Cookies ships out over 7,500 lbs of cookies a month and has over 300 subscription accounts.
Cordelia has always inspired me as a businesswoman for pretty obvious reasons. The horse treat industry is crowded and it is hard to distinguish yourself from the competition. But her keen business acumen and thoughtful marketing campaigns helped propel Charleigh’s Cookies to one of the premiere organic and handmade equine treat companies. Many props to her.
Cordelia has also inspired me as person, specifically a single mother. Her daughter, Charleigh, is adorable and a total hoot. I enjoy hearing the funny things she says, especially about ponies and riding. Cordelia got divorced when Charleigh was just 22 months old, and since then it has just been the mother-daughter duo. I can personally attest that life with a baby is about 10 times more difficult than life solo, and I cannot imagine going through it without a wingman (or wingwoman). From the few stories she has shared with me, I know it was hard. I know at times it seemed pretty impossible. And yet somehow she came out on top… with a grounded daughter, a booming business, an extracurricular life filled with show horses (and pony!), and a mega-watt smile. More props.
When I called Cordelia to chat for this 5 question inspirational interview, she was at spin class. SPIN CLASS! I told you she was superwoman. I would rather give up cheese for a month than go to spin class.
Andrea: What would 2017 Cordelia tell 2010 Cordelia?
C: I would tell myself so much! I would tell myself that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay not to be perfect. You don’t have to have a spotless home to be an amazing mother. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders alone. It’s okay to leave an unhealthy relationship. Trust your gut. Believe in yourself. You will succeed. The list goes on and on, but at the end of the day, the number one thing I would tell myself is to trust my gut. A mother’s intuition is never off.
Andrea: Speaking of a mother’s intuition, what is your advice for single mom entrepreneurs?
C: It can often be scary not knowing the steps when stepping out on your own and following your passion. For me it was crucial to find a way to blend my passion for horses with the demands of having a young child. My advice is simple. Read “The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business” by Emira Mears. Do the exercises they suggest. Put the answers in a visible place so that you are reminded of your goals and the many reasons you believe in yourself. Always put your child first. Get organized. Write a business plan. Know your budget. Educate yourself on what business classes are offered for free in your local community. Many times the Chamber of Commerce offers free/very affordable classes to new businesses. Take some basic business classes so that you are educated on the basics in accounting and taxes (OR find an accountant you can afford). Educate yourself on your competitors, if any. Once you have a plan and are ready to move forward with branding, interview current and past customers and ask directly what their experience was working with the individual with whom you are considering working with.
Aside from all of the above, spend one hour a day doing something for yourself. A walk in nature, hit the gym, go to a spin class, a manicure/pedicure. Make sure to nourish your soul while building your own business. It can be a lot to take on.
Lastly, hug your child. Read to them. Take them to the park. Nourish that relationship.
Andrea: What book is on your nightstand right now?
C: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”.
Andrea: You mentioned to me that you want to take more vacation time for yourself. If you could spend 7 days anywhere, all expenses paid, where would it be?
C: Turks and Caicos.
Andrea: What are your horse related goals for 2018?
C: I want to show out of the state (California) and jump up to 1.10m. I would love to import a young hunter prospect sometime in the future. 🙂
Thanks Cordelia! xx