Courage is not what happens in the absence of fear, but rather courage is what happens in the face of fear.” Mary Crafts
For some business leaders, abiding by the rules of ethics is the topmost priority. Yes, the Equations of profit and loss and brand identity are what companies and their leaders strive for, but ethics is just as valuable for Mary Crafts. The Iowa-born entrepreneur, the founder of the catering firm Culinary Crafts, wanted to be a home-making mother, but fate had other plans. And while she earned her fame, Crafts never lost sight of her value-based roots.
Mary Crafts wanted to emulate her father’s qualities
Crafts was born in a small town in Iowa with around 250 people; she was not one with a silver spoon in her mouth. But her parents taught her values and principles that have been with her throughout her journey. She is incredibly thankful to her father for instilling those values in her.
“They definitely taught me some things, not necessarily the fine art of entertaining, but they taught me the values and the principles in my life that I’ve taken and grown with. You know, my father was just a small-town businessman, but I saw qualities in him that I really want to emulate. And as he totally was about serving the farmers in that community, he provided nearly everything for them from groceries to appliances, to gas, to plumbing—I mean, you name it,” said Crafts.
Crafts, who has served some of the world’s biggest names, like American presidents and British royals, to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Diane Keaton, learned her life lessons by heart. She still considers herself as somebody less than perfect and learned from her mistakes. But it is her impeccable commitment to principles that have made her emerge into what she is today, a celebrated businesswoman who is an inspiration for others.
She had few choices in her life. She could divorce her husband and raise her two sons by herself while staying on welfare, but she took it head-on and decided to raise her family by doing something more significant. But how could she do it? Crafts considered it deeply. She had to put her children’s well-being first and wanted to do something from home. Since she knew cooking and loved doing it, she decided to do something with cooking that would also entertain people. Once she dawned on the idea of catering, there was no looking back.
A smart thinker makes a smart entrepreneur
Crafts’ journey has been one with an upwards trajectory from her humble beginnings. The entrepreneur in her never fell short of brilliant ideas as an innovator. If she ever fell short of funds, she would go around the neighborhood with her products, and somebody would definitely buy something from her, and she made some money through that.
But did Crafts really think she would make it this big from such a beginning?
Yes, she said. According to her, one has to dream big to make it happen. She said the first job is to dream about it and then back it up with hard work. The hard work and life’s harsh lessons made her grittier and more resilient, just like the clown dolls that spring back right after getting punched.
A year ago, Crafts sold Utah’s largest off-premise catering company and 21-time winner of Best Of State to her children. Still, at a time when the catering business has plummeted because of the pandemic, Crafts returned to the catering business to help her children stay in business and find ways to keep the business open. She has the versatility of a veteran to know when to regroup, relook, and reinvent to survive the challenges of life
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