We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhonda Hunt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhonda, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of my brand was ensuring that I produce high quality, impeccably tasting products. I do this by using all natural, premium ingredients to create my confections.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Using all natural, premium ingredients to cultivate superior quality products is what sets my business a part from everyone else out there that makes confections. There are no artificial ingredients, colors, flavors or preservatives in my confections. What you see and pay for is exactly what you get. You can literally taste the ingredients that I use in my confections. I do not cut corners like most confection businesses to keep their costs low, to sell them for a cheaper price. I use ingredients like fresh, real medium sized pecan pieces, supporting local Georgia farmers, Ghirardelli Chocolate, made from scratch buttery toffee (like who makes toffee from scratch these days??), Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, 100% dutch coco, Callebaut fine Belgium white chocolate and real sweet cream butter, which equates to a taste that you will NEVER find in any grocery store. My customers always tell me that my confections remind them of what their grandmother used to make when they were growing up.
Another thing that sets me apart is my 110% Customer Satisfaction model. I treat every customer like family. I want you to be not just 100% satisfied, but 110% satisfied! And if you are not, what can I do to make it right! I truly want to know because I will do whatever it takes to make sure you are satisfied. Want to know why?? Because a highly satisfied customer is a repeat customer and a referring customer! I know we are in the day and age of social media and digital marketing but there is nothing like Word of Mouth advertising. I no longer advertise my business. My business comes from referrals and repeat customers!
What I am most proud of is that I built this business from the ground up by myself. I conducted the research to discover what it took to start a business in Georgia and I executed. I created and perfected my own recipes, I created and built my own website, I designed my color scheme, logo, business cards, everything! It was all me. Of course my husband provided some insight and his opinions on various things but it was ultimately my decision because I was the one that would have to live and be happy with it.
Another thing that I am proud of are the products that I create and the reactions and feedback that I receive when my customers taste my confections. They absolutely adore them!! It is so funny and it truly brings me joy when they start their sentence with, “ Oh My Gosh”. I giggle inside because my husband thinks that I am the only one that says that and I tell him that I am not! LOL. There are a ton of people that use this phrase! But they go on to tell me how good, delicious and scrumptious my confections are. Some have even told me how they and their significant other fight over who’s going to get the last one! It truly makes me proud that I am creating quality confections that people absolutely love and adore. If you don’t believe it, check out some of my Etsy reviews. I have over 78 – 5 star reviews.
Was it easy?? Heck No it wasn’t easy! There were many sleepless nights. Staying up all night creating my website or preparing for an event to sell my products. If anyone knows anything about business, you know that when you initially start, you have to wear all of the hats because you can’t afford to pay someone to handle a department in which you are unfamiliar. I. E. marketing, advertising, operations, accounting, sales, etc. Did I have experience in these areas? Absolutely not, but I did the research and figured it out. Running your own business is a ton of work and it’s not for the weak. You definitely have to have thick skin to start and run your own business.
I overcame the challenges by NEVER giving up. By pushing myself to the limit when I was tired, exhausted and wanted to quit. There were a lot of no’s said to me but I didn’t care because I knew that someone would eventually say yes! My loyal customers, repeat business and referrals kept me going because I love making people happy, making birthdays and holidays special because of my confections!
Running a business really shows you what you are made of. It creates character while humbling you at the same time. I have learned a lot over these past few years but if I had to pick one thing, it’s knowing there isn’t absolutely anything I can’t do and achieve now that I have ran a successful business. The sky’s the limit!
I want the world to know that if I ever end up on your local grocery store shelf, I didn’t get there by luck. It took a lot of hard work and dedication…Perseverance and self motivation. My promise to you is that I will always remain authentic and true to my brand. I will never allow anyone or anything to force me to deviate from providing high quality products, with a superior taste, made with premium ingredients, containing no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives!
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?
Atlanta is a really fun city. It has a rich history and an electric nightlife. I don’t hang out much anymore more now that I am a family woman LOL, but if a friend visited, I would take them to all of landmarks:
World of Coca-Cola
High Museum of Art
Martin Luther King’s house and museum
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Six Flags over Georgia
CNN Studio tours
Ponce City Market
Food and Drinks:
Zama Mexican restaurant- Hands down, the best Mexican I’ve ever had. Great, strong drinks too.
Stoney River- Great steaks and rolls.
The Vortex on Moreland Ave- Good American food.
Mary Mac’s Tearoom – Great soul food.
Ted’s Montana Grill- Best bison burgers, cod sandwiches, bison chili and onion rings.
Ray’s on the River- Seafood sampler platter.
Atlanta Fish Market- An old Atlanta staple that consistently serves up high quality seafood.
Antico Pizza – Midtown location- Authentic Italian pizza. Best pizza ever.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My grandmother- Ruby Lucille Mitchell is the inspiration behind my business. She was my best friend. She always encouraged me, had my back regardless of the situation and made sure that I always felt loved. She was also a mean cook. She made EVERYTHING from scratch using the finest, real ingredients. Favorites like apple pie, sweet potato pie, blueberry dooby ( Funny name right, I know. It’s a southern thing!), lemon meringue pie and coconut cake to name a few. She would even make her own baked beans from scratch. Like who does that?!! Most people I know, including myself will just buy a can of baked beans from the local grocery store, pour barbecue sauce on them ( if that), heat and serve them. But not my granny!
I remember the days, when I would plan to cook on a Saturday or Sunday and I was unsure of how to prepare a particular dish, so I would call and ask “ Grandma, how to you make this or that?” She would start from the beginning and would provide step by step instructions. She was always so patient with her words. She spoke in a way to make sure the recipient received her lessons, similar to a teacher speaking to his students. My grandmother was an excellent teacher. She is no longer with us, so when I decided to start my business, it was a must that I honor her…. She deserves it!
Facebook: Lucille’s Confections