We recently connected with Holli Bell-Tells and have shared our conversation below.
Holli, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today The first dollar your business earns is always special and we’d love to hear how your brand made its first dollar of revenue.
I got my first client through social media. A week after I made my Facebook and Instagram business page, I received an email from someone who ran across my pages on both social media platforms. I read the email, replied to the email, but I forgot to hit send on the email. It was around eleven o’clock the following night the same customer inboxed me on Facebook asking if I had gotten the email she sent. I replied and apologized for not actually sending the email reply back to her. That same night I sent her a full detailed quote and deposit information. She immediately paid the deposit and I added her to my calendar. That was my first catering booking as well as my first traveling catering service I provided. I was so shocked and amazed at how fast everything happened with her trusting me to caterer for her in her home without any prior tastings of my food. I’ve catered a total of three times for her since and each time is fast, well-planned and executed successfully.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
I am a 30 years old, self-taught cook and entrepreneur. I have no previous culinary school experience. Everything that I have learned I’ve learned from trial and error in growing up around cooks my household. I am in the food industry. I own and operate my own catering company where I provide everything homemade from soul food to sweet treats and everything in between. The number one problem my customers have when they come to me for catering service is that other caterers have set menus and certain food items that they have to choose from. At HolliMade Catering And Creations, I do not have a set menu. I allow the customers the choice of creating their own menu or we can create a menu that best fits their wants. I think that set me apart from other caterers locally. I am most proud of my work ethic, my drive and passion for food. I want my potential customers to know that you will be getting good food that’s made with love and made totally from scratch.
Can you tell us about what’s worked well for you in terms of growing your clientele?
Social media has been the most effective strategy for growing my clientele. I have met total strangers that have become loyal customers through social media. Staying consistent and constantly promoting my business on social media have put me in rooms I’ve never thought I would be in as an entrepreneur and small business owner.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
On March 10, 2022, I was prepping and planning for an upcoming catering booking when I felt sharp pains run through the entire left side of my chest. I didn’t think much of it because it only lasted a few seconds. Later that night, the pain came back and this time it locked up my entire left side of my body and I couldn’t move. I was rushed to the emergency room and found out that I’ve had multiple strokes through that week and didn’t know it. I was placed in the hospital overnight for further observation and then let go the following day. I went home and finished my catering orders, delivering them and took a month off to rest. Sometimes we push ourselves to hard and don’t realize it. As a small business owner, I always work hard to make sure my customers satisfaction is met and my work ethic is unmatched. The month of March proved to me that regardless of how hard I work to have a successful business I must work just as hard to have a healthy, stress-free life. Resilience for me was pushing through from my customers that were depending on me to deliver and I did just that.