We had the good fortune of connecting with Anne Marquart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anne, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
Staying true to my product and my great-grandmother’s recipe . . . I could have grown much faster by taking shortcuts, not using quality ingredients or adding preservatives to ensure a longer shelf life, but that is not what my business is about.
What it is about though, is honoring a long standing family recipe, my great-grandmother Edith and delivering a high quality, deliciously soft and buttery, small batch caramel Every.Single.Time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Almost all of my professional career was based at a winery here in Paso Robles, CA. In total, I spent 16 years with this co.
During my time there, I was fortunate to work in a variety of different departments, everywhere from Operations, to Hospitality, to Compliance. Even though the day to day looked different in each of those departments, I was able to see how they do all depend on one another, they are each important parts of the bigger picture. It also challenged me to adapt and grow professionally, I worked with a variety of personalities, deadlines, expectations, I loved it!
My time in the Hospitality/Events Department though is where I really learned so much about myself . . . the outlet of creativity and design lights a fire in me, I also find it energizing to be dealing with different people each and every day – it brings a certain level of not knowing what the day will bring, which kept things interesting, there was rarely a dull moment.
On the face of it, you might not see Hospitality as a place where quick thinking and problem solving is a must, but it was often part of my daily routine. And sometimes, in all honesty, there were days that you
faked it and just followed your instincts and hoped for the best!
My previous work experiences paired with the many years of learning to trust my instincts and the power of picking yourself up after a fail has served me so well with Sugar + Spoon.
But in the last few years, one of my biggest learning curves/challenges has been letting go of certain things . . . being comfortable and confident in the fact that I don’t know it all and that is ok, I have learned that it is ok to ask for help, to be vulnerable. There are others out there I can learn from and that investing in myself and my business is necessary for growth. I have to trust my intuition, listen to my customers, and makes choices and decisions based on what fuels me, my family and what serves my customers best. All of this, paired with my entrepreneurial spirit, my love of a good challenge and my drive to keep going, even on the hard days, has been one of the greatest professional joys of my life – and I am just getting started!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love the ocean, so we would definitely visit a few of our coastal towns . . . Cayucos would be top on the list, just love this little beach town. For the most part, it is untouched and still looks very much like it did when I was a child.
I also happen to live in wine country, what’s not to love about that? There are countless spots to kick back, enjoy the beautiful mountains, rolling hills and enjoy some amazing wines. My personal favorites though are J Dusi Winery, Glunz Family Winery & Cellars and Proulx Winery. All unique in their own right, with a variety of award winning wines, but what I love most about these spots, is that most days, the owners/winemakers are nearby, sharing their story and their love of wine with the customers.
We would also definitely have to stop by McPhee’s Grill for lunch or dinner and Fish Gaucho for some tacos and a margarita – never gets old! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Dad! He is the one who originally planted the idea of this business in my head. It was many years before I actually acted on the idea, but once I finally did make the decision to start this business, next to my husband, my Dad was my biggest cheerleader.
He helped me develop every flavor, he spent countless hours in the kitchen with me, and in the early years, he would attend every show, market and event with me. He so enjoyed connecting with my customers and sharing the family history of our handmade caramels. Once he stopped coming to the shows and events with me though, he would be the first to call to see how it had gone.
He was also my sounding board for ideas . . . be it new flavors, sales avenues I wanted to explore, everything and anything related to this business. No idea was too crazy, he would sit and hash it out with me for hours. He loved watching my business evolve and grow.
Unfortunately, my Dad passed away last year, I cannot tell you how many times I have reached for my phone over the last year to share a win with him or bounce an idea off of him, it has been a difficult adjustment for sure, but I am so grateful for the time we shared together in this business. His influence is forever sealed in Sugar + Spoon.
Allyson Magda Photography