ONE STEP AT A TIME...AND IT BEGINS WITH THE FIRST ONE!
Tami VanHoy writes, speaks, and trains from knowledge she gained over 14 years as she grew a small family business started around her kitchen table into a multi-million dollar corporation that provided home based business opportunities to families all over the country. Her story is inspirational to those that hear it as they realize that she is just like them, and then learn how she overcame one challenge at a time to reach goals and achieve success in ways she never imagined possible.
It's a great story best told in her own words....
I founded Homemade Gourmet in my home kitchen in 1997 as a way to provide extra income while staying home to raise and homeschool my 4 children, who were ages 9, 7, 4 and 2 at that time. I was babysitting 3-4 other children to help earn extra income, but we were still struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck. My husband and I believe in prayer, so we took our need to God and asked Him to show us how He would provide for our family.
Looking back, I like to say that while I had a simple need, God had a big vision. God used that simple need to move me out of my comfort zone and onto a path that led to the fulfillment of that vision.
ONE STEP AT A TIME...AND IT BEGINS WITH THE FIRST ONE!
It was a simple idea at first. Make food and sell it! Specifically, make handmade mixes of my favorite recipes and share with customers how to use them to get dinner on the table fast and easy (and within budget!). I had no vision at all of starting a company that would become a nationally known brand with a mission to Bring Families Back to the Dinner Table. I didn't...but God did. He also knew I needed to take baby steps to leave my comfort zone and move into the steps He had in mind for me.
SOME STEPS REQUIRE THE HELP OF OTHERS...
The first year of the business I found myself around the
kitchen table 'production table' with my 4 young children
and, on many occasions, dear friends who would pitch in to help get it done. I
had to borrow $100 from one of those friend to get the first products manufactured.
This was the same friend that took me to Sam's to buy the spices and
ingredients I needed to launch our product line. We were a one car family at
the time, and my husband drove to work over an hour away, so I was home without
transportation during the day. I know God surrounded me with the right people
at the right time to push me down this path of His. Without others, I couldn't have taken those next steps.
STEPS OF FAITH NECESSARY ALONG THE WAY...
I started selling my homemade mixes at craft shows in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. As I headed out to my first event with a car full of bean soup mixes, bread mixes and assorted other products, I remember telling my husband, "If this is a success, we'll be going to the grocery store next week. If it isn't...I hope you like bean soup."
By the grace of God, it was a tremendous success!
STEPPING OUT AND LEARNING AS YOU GO...
For the next year, we continued to make our mixes by hand around our family dinner table. We pressed through the second Christmas season with much success AND challenges. Our home was being over run by 7 foot stacks of 50# flour and sugar bags and boxes of spices, packaging and labels. Eventually it was brought to my attention that I needed to be making these products in a licensed kitchen...which my kitchen table was not! And so, with my new knowledge of the health code requirements, God provided an opportunity to open our first store/manufacturing location in downtown Frisco, Texas.
I'm often asked "How did you know what to do to even get started".
My answer is always, "I didn't...I just did what I knew and learned as I went along." I focused on the task at hand and didn't let the big picture overwhelm me. This was key to me being able to keep moving. A great question I still ask myself today is "what can I do today to take a step forward?"
I cannot boast of a business or marketing degree or experience, because I came to the table with none of this. Too many times I've seen people stand paralyzed at the door of opportunity because they think they can't take that first step until they are fully educated. I say, just take the step and let the learning happen as you go!
ONE STEP AT A TIME ~ BUT SOME ARE BIGGER STEPS THAN OTHERS...
By 1999 a few other customers had joined me in this business venture and were now buying from me at wholesale prices to sell to their friends and family at retail prices. This was the beginning of the business model that launched Homemade Gourmet into a multi-million dollar corporation. Within a few years, the direct selling home based business model took off and by July of 2000 we had signed our 200th Homemade Gourmet consultant! Three years later, we broke the $20 million retail mark for sales in one year. It was then that we began to outgrow the square footage we had pieced together all over Frisco to accomodate our growing needs and began to look for our new 'home'. In 2003 we began the process of moving our company to its current location in Canton, Texas.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY AS YOU TAKE EACH STEP...
Today, I am still amazed at what God did. Those humble beginnings are now sweet memories.
I remember that my youngest, at age 2, had the job of scooping dried beans into bags with his plastic blue cup that held just the right amount of beans. At 4, child #3 was learning how to count and add (and multiply!) by counting out 10 bags at a time for his younger brother to fill and knowing they were done when they had 10 rows of 10 bags to make 100 mixes. The older 2 could scoop, measure and seal with the best of the adults that joined us around that table.
WHEN THE PATH CHANGES COURSE AND TAKES YOU BY SURPRISE, JUST KEEP TAKING ONE STEP AT A TIME...
My children now range between the ages of 17 and 24,
and while things did not work out for Homemade Gourmet as I had envisioned, it is with the same awe and wonder that I look forward to seeing what God is going to do next! I know this: each of the steps taken from there to here grew me in ways I never would have grown if I had never taken the first one, and then the next one, and the next, and so on...
Today Homemade Gourmet carries on without me, operating under the ownership of an investment group that acquired the company in 2007. They eventually took the company in a direction that did not require me to stay employed by them, which brings me to this place on my journey. No regrets and lots of 'been there done that' experience and knowledge to take with me and share with others as I continue taking one step at a time to see where this path leads next!
So that's my story...so far! I hope I get the opportunity to walk with you as you step out to achieve your dreams, goals and visions. I love it when my path crosses the paths of others along the way.
Just taking one step at a time,
To contact Tami, send email inquiries to