Sometimes, a great story makes a product even more delicious. Such is the case for Tracy Claros, an immigrant entrepreneur who found her success by appealing to Americans’ sweet side. Her story was recently featured in an article from the BBC, “Sticky Business: Selling British Puddings to Americans.”
Crossing the Pond
After spending seven years as a speech therapist in the UK, Tracy decided to follow her passion and introduce the United States to her favorite dessert: sticky toffee pudding. What started as a one-woman venture selling these tasty treats, based on her mother’s recipe, from a basement and at farmer’s markets in Austin, Texas has exploded into a nationwide phenomenon. After overcoming the initial cultural confusion surrounding the word, “pudding,” which is a blanket term for desserts in the UK, but refers to one specific dessert in the US, Tracy gained a following in Texas farmer’s markets, who spread the word about their new favorite British dessert and gave her the initial boost she needed to approach big industry players. Soon, she won over several massive supermarket chains, including Whole Foods, Costco, and Wal-Mart, where her puddings are sold chilled, packaged, and ready for customers to heat up and enjoy anytime.
For Tracy’s business, receiving positive press made all the difference. Her sticky toffee puddings, made by hand and now sold by the millions, caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine. “O” Magazine said, after tasting the iconic dessert, that it is “the sexiest English creation since [actor] Colin Firth.”
After receiving this level of publicity, Tracy’s business began to boom. From the start, she aimed to operate at maximum efficiency and minimum cost. Previously, she and her son had handled all aspects of the business, but to keep up with orders, she contracted a bakery in Chicago. The bakery has 20 employees, all of whom receive health insurance.
Today, Tracy’s Sticky Toffee Pudding company sells over a million puddings each year and earns over $4 million annually. She is a U.S. job creator who single-handedly introduced 20 well-paid jobs to the American marketplace, and who has delighted millions with her unique take on a traditional British recipe.
Tracy’s story is evidence of the value of immigrant entrepreneurs, whose unique perspectives and outside influence often introduce American consumers to products they never knew they wanted. Each pudding purchased pays American workers, supports the American economy, and brings a delightful taste of Britain into an American home.