A TikToker is shining a light on the incredible story of the founder of Mrs. Fields’ Original Cookies, Debbi Fields.
Despite having only two years of community college, encountering the rampant sexism of her time and no formal baking training, Fields went on to build a multimillion-dollar cookie business. TikToker @chloebluffcakes shared Fields’ underdog story.
Growing up, Fields came from humbling beginnings. Her father was a welder for the U.S. Navy, and her mother was a stay-at-home mom. They couldn’t afford quality ingredients, so she learned to make cookies using margarine and imitation chocolate. In 1976 at 19 years old, she married her husband, 29-year-old Randall Keith Fields.
“Debbie’s husband was actually starting an investment firm and took her to dinner at one of his client’s homes. At this dinner, Debbie’s husband’s client said to her, ‘What do you do?’ Debbie said, ‘I’m just trying to get orientated,'” Chloe explained.
“The client then took a leatherbound dictionary off of his bookshelf, put it in front of her and said, ‘The word is oriented, and if you can’t speak the English language, you shouldn’t speak up at all.'”
Feeling humiliated by the experience, Fields decided she “wanted to be somebody.” She followed her passion and started her cookie business but couldn’t get support from banks. Meanwhile, her family had no faith in her idea.
“Finally, after years of trying, she got a lender to give her a loan with a 21% interest rate, and she took it,” Chloe explained.
In 1997, the day Fields opened her first store, she told Forbes, “My husband bet I couldn’t make $50 in sales. Of course, I took that bet.” When no customers came into the store, she took to the streets with nothing but a few samples and her charm. She made $75 in sales.
Fields eventually grew her small business into an immensely successful franchise by hitting daily profit goals that allowed her company to expand. By the ’90s, there were over 900 Mrs. Fields stores. And in 1993, she sold her stores to an investment firm for $100 million. While she doesn’t work on the business side of things, she is still the company spokesperson.
“The American dream is true,” Fields told Forbes. “It works, and it’s possible for everybody. Even the word ‘impossible’ says ‘I’m possible.'”
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