For Amy Hilliard, getting her business off the ground was a struggle that led to triumph. Thinking out of the box gave her what some would say was her biggest opportunity ever. Having perseverance made her seize that opportunity. It almost came to a stop but her "comforting" product couldn’t get no for an answer.
Comfort Cake's Big Break
The biggest obstacle Amy Hilliard faced was getting the money for her business. She sold her home which was helpful but it couldn’t do it all. What she needed was a big customer to help build the clientele.
Hilliard thought about when she traveled and how she had never saw a pound cake on United Airlines. She contacted a friend who worked at United Airlines in supply and diversity and scored an interview with the buyer. He gave her all of the details of what her pound cake had to be, look like, cost, etc. in order to have her cake on the company’s planes.
Two days after that meeting, she received a call from that buyer who told her good news about United Airlines putting out an RFP (request for proposal) for desserts and if she wanted to sell pound cake to United Airlines in the next two years, she needed to have samples ready in 30 days. At the time, Hilliard was working with graphic designers on her logo and interviewing bakeries but that didn’t stop her from pushing herself to get things done so she could make the 30-day deadline.
She drove the samples out to United Airlines in her car and got a call the next day. She was told the company wanted to buy 550,000 slices. The order was due in October of 2001 but September 11, 2011 happened. Hilliard thought everything was over but United told her, “We still want your product on board in October because a product called Comfort Cake, right about now, is a good thing."