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LOCAL STORIES

November 8, 2023 at 3:17:39 AM

It's All About the Love... and the Cheese!

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How a woman turns her love for cheese into a dream.

Published on:

November 8, 2023 at 3:17:39 AM

Ignite Business Insider shares the stories of businesses that are making an impact in their local markets. We highlight their stories in order to inspire entrepreneurial growth and to let readers learn more about businesses across the world that are growing and scaling.

Featuring

Mimi Cerutti

Owner, CEO

Cerutti Charcuterie

Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and share your story. Can you share a little bit about you and your company?

I'm so happy for the opportunity to share here, thank you!

My name is Mimi, I'm a 45 year old woman, mama to five grown kids, Mima to three precious little ones, and an entrepreneur on a mission!

My company is called Cerutti Charcuterie and I make elegant charcuterie boards and grazing tables, as well as host charcuterie making workshops at local venues around the county.

A question so many people are interested in, is how you got started. Can you share a little bit about what you were doing before this, and what that moment was like for you when you decided to start this new journey?

The first time I started my business was in 2021. I made a charcuterie board for a friend and it was so beautiful and everyone loved it so much that I started making them for every event that I attended. Soon, I started getting requests for them and so I decided to get licensed and permitted in a local kitchen. My little hobby turned passion quickly turned into a legitimate business over just several months!

The problem at the time though was that I was also burning myself out in a full time corporate job and I couldn't keep up with both. Since the corporate job was paying the bills so well, I let my passion fall to the side.

It felt like the right thing to do at the time, but I'll also admit that fear got in my way and I couldn't clearly see a successful path at the time.

However, it was less than a year later that the corporate job fell apart and in August of this year, I decided to go ALL in on myself and my business.

Let's take a little bit of a detour, and rewind the clock a little bit. What did you want to be as a kid? And how did that influence the person you are today?

I had some of the common fantasies as a little girl - being a teacher, a model, a dancer. But even more so, I wanted to be happy, because my childhood was certainly not.

I would say that I've fulfilled on some of those fantasies in ways that looked different than I thought they would, but above all, I would say that I've been on a lifelong quest for the happiness that I have today.

Becoming a full time business owner and entrepreneur is the last big piece of the puzzle for me. I'm finally ready for the full manifestation of this vision and I'm here for every single bit of it.

Have you fully let go of that childhood dream? And where do you see yourself going in the next ten years?

That childhood dream has evolved into something beyond what I could see back then. I never had any examples of what success as an entrepreneur might look like, so it was beyond me.

In the next 10 years, I see my business evolving into something that I can't fully see, even right now as I'm just getting restarted.

What I do see though, is a business that is thriving. A business that people love to work with and for, and that has a positive impact on its people and its community.

Of course I also continue to choose to see my own success, even in the face of a lot of unknown. Because my commitment to and my belief in this venture is unlike anything else that I've pursued on my career path.

Now, I have found that with successful people, there is always someone pivotal as either a mentor, parent, teacher, or someone that you look to for advise, that helped set you on this path. Could you share who that person was? And what impact that had on the person you are today?

Oh gosh, this one is hard because there have been so many! Over the past 10+ years, I have worked with several coaches and mentors that have made ALL the difference for me transforming my life. I've leaned on so many people and programs to help me rise above some of my biggest personal challenges.

If I had to call one person out, I would probably say a very dear family friend who stood as a mother figure and mentor for me during some of my toughest years. Her name is Char. She saw me as someone bigger and stronger than I was able to see myself for many years. It was in her stand for me that I eventually became the woman I always wanted to be.

What was one take away that you learned from that person? And how did it translate into your business today?

She taught me that it was okay to live big and work toward a vision. She helped me find a strength in myself that I didn't know I had. My work with her helped me to believe in myself and my ability to be successful - and THAT is absolutely necessary in running a business!

When we work with businesses, we focus a lot on their "Why?". What is your "Why"? What is the driver behind your company, and why you and your team wake up each day and give it your all?

My #1 "why" and my driver, without question, is my kids. I want them to know that they can rise from absolutely anything and that they can create a life that they love no matter what life throws at them.

Another driver for me personally is women. I hope that my path and my success is an example to other women that it can be done - that we can rise from abuse, addiction, loss, divorce, and we can go on to create a life that we are absolutely in love with.

Let's dive deeper into your products and services. You already gave an overview, but how do your products or services help your customers? And what makes them different from your competitors?

My platters and grazing tables bring beauty, elegance and grace to my customers' most treasured celebrations. My favorite events to do are weddings because I'm such a lover of love. Sounds so cheesy (pun intended!), I know, but it really is the passion behind what I do.

Let's unpack that even further. Let's pick one aspect of your business. What makes it so unique? And how does it change you or your customer's experience?

I would say that my service and who I am for my customers is what sets me apart. I take time to listen to each customer's wishes and every event that I do is hand curated with love and intention for what they're celebrating. There is just a magic about it all and that is what I love so much!

Let's dive into your customer's journey a little bit. Can you share with us, how do your customers discover you and your brand? What are their next steps? And what is the experience you would like to see your customers go on, when working with you and your brand?

My customers find me a few different ways: Google, Nextdoor, social media and word of mouth. Typically they are impressed by a photo they saw, but the best ones have a true taste and eye for high quality and they can pick it out in my photos (especially the more current ones since my work has really evolved). I aim to have everything be as smooth and worry free as possible, from booking to the big day and the big reveal. I know I've won when nobody wants to be the first to start picking apart my creations to eat! ;)

Let's rave about your customers for a minute. Can you share a story about one of your clients or customers, that either touched your heart, or made an impact with you and your team?

I can't say her name, but one of my most special and memorable customers and experiences was a woman who was hosting a memorial for a life lost too soon. We walked through the entire experience, from the moment she called me, to the day of, and all of the very minute details in between, and it was one of the most beautiful tables I've done. It meant the world to me to be able to work with her at such a difficult time and to be able to take some of the worry off of her shoulders so that the special person they were honoring could be celebrated. It's one of those experiences that are hard to put into words, but that woman and that day bring me back to my reason all the time.

Everyone likes an inside scoop. What detail or secret about either you, or your company, is something most people might not know?

I mentioned earlier that I have five kids. That isn't such a shocker to people now that I'm a little older, but what many don't know is that two of those that I raised are my biological siblings. When I was 18, I began caring for them at the ages of 1 and 3, and ended up raising them until they grew up and moved out on their own. I think these kinds of situations are more commonly heard of nowadays, but I still consider this one of the most honorable things that I've done with my life. And they have grown up to be the most amazing humans that I'm so deeply proud of.

Final thoughts. What feeling or benefits would you like your customers or clients to take away when working with you and your team?

The most important thing to me is that people feel taken care of when they work with me and that they are completely delighted by what I create.

Last question. How can people find out more about you and your company?

Thank you so much for sitting with us and sharing your story.

Thank you so much for the invitation! It's always an honor to get to share my mission with more people!

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