*#$% Oprah, Let’s Go to the White House!
One of the challenges of promoting a small business is getting your product or service in front of influence-makers, whether they are local or more well-known. Such had been our practice of routinely sending media kits and samples to celebrities, newspapers and magazines. And one celebrity in particular had been on our radar since our opening. You guessed it; we wanted Oprah Winfrey to taste our chocolates. After several failed attempts, one day I said, @#&! Oprah, let’s go to the White House!
Fortunately, I said that to a friend of mine, Judge Richard Green. Judge Green is the Chief Justice for the Kansas Court of Appeals and a good friend of our former governor, Kathleen Sebelius. In fact, then Governor Sebelius appointed Judge Green to the bench. All it took was a little wine and brainstorming and we were on our way! Richard dropped a letter to Secretary Sebelius and asked if she could lend a hand in presenting chocolates to the White House.
Not only was she thrilled to lend a hand, she offered to hand-deliver our goodies to the President of the United States at the first cabinet meeting of the New Year. Needless to say, we were thrilled beyond belief! And so the waiting and planning began—what should we send? How much chocolate? After much thought and research, we decided to send a box of our assorted chocolates along with several boxes of Grey Salt Caramels and a Chocolate Survival Kit for Michele and the kids (why not?).
We formulated a letter of congratulations to President Obama on the anniversary of his inauguration and threw our hat in the ring to be the Official Chocolatier to the White House! Richard Green drove our goodie bag and letter to Topeka and personally delivered the package to Secretary Sebelius the week after Christmas. About two days after her arrival in Washington, Richard got a call from her staffers informing him that the chocolates had been delivered. Not only that, they were so well-received that President Obama requested an official White House photo of the event.
We could not have been happier! And the waiting began in earnest! Finally, in late April Richard dropped off the most amazing envelope we had ever seen. Inside were a lovely handwritten note from Secretary Sebelius and a very official envelope from the White House. The envelope contained a wonderful photo of the president with the inscription, “Beth, thanks for the chocolates! Barack Obama”.
I’m not sure about you, but that was one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever received. How many of us can say that the leader of the Free World took a moment to write a personal thank you to them? I can tell you, not many! We proudly display the photo on our ‘brag wall’ and continue to hold out hope that maybe, just maybe we will be appointed Official Chocolatier to the White House!
Remember, unless you dream it, you can’t realize it! Dream Big!