Harvard College - AB in Psychology
University of Michigan Business School - MBA in Marketing
When you were a kid did you have a hankering for white cake with colored sprinkles? Nora Schultz's kids did, and so she spent many days baking the treats for her children and for the parties they would attend. Then one day she took some time to scrutinize the label on the mixes she was using, and she wasn't exactly thrilled knowing that she was serving artificial ingredients to those she loved.
Nora grew up in Michigan and grew up valuing simple cooking and wholesome foods. She wanted her kids to have the same, and since nobody else was capitalizing on it, Nora decided she would, and she began Naturally Nora. Today she's a longstanding member of her local organic farm cooperative, and she enjoys gardening in her backyard.
Be confident and remember that the worst they can say is no.
How did you discover your current job?
When my children were little I spent a lot of time baking with them and bringing treats to their parties. They were big fans of white cake with colored sprinkles, and when I started reading the labels of conventional baking mixes I realized they were full of artificial ingredients and things I didn’t feel good about serving. I realized there was no all-natural alternative on the market and that someone needed to do it!
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
I know it’s a cliché, but I don’t have a “typical” day. Some days are focused on our customers -- visiting grocery stores and talking to both store employees and shoppers about what they want from Naturally Nora. Other days I’m in the kitchen developing new products and recipes. And often I’m in the office, planning marketing programs and managing our production and logistics.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
I love hearing from happy customers that we’ve solved a problem for them and made their lives easier. Nothing is better than getting a big “thank you” from someone who has tried our products.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
As an entrepreneur I’ve had to make do without the steady corporate paycheck.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Don’t be afraid to ask. I think one of the biggest challenges women face is that we often feel we need to prove ourselves and don’t want to show any signs of weakness. That means we can be hesitant to ask for help or reach out to people in higher positions of power. I’ve learned that it can be very productive to be direct with the right people and request what you need. Be confident and remember that the worst they can say is no.
Who are your role models?
I’ve been influenced by many people over the years but have recently been fascinated by Florence Nightingale. Despite strong resistance, she used careful observation and fact-based arguments to reengineer hospitals, completely transforming the entire profession of nursing and making it a respectable profession. She was passionate about her cause and undeterred in proving that her approach would save lives. She was obviously tremendously successful, but I am as inspired by her approach and perseverance as by the results of her work.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Make every day count. Life is too short not to appreciate and enjoy all that you can.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Do your homework. I’ve met a lot of aspiring food entrepreneurs with terrific family recipes that they want to produce and sell. But they don’t know the market and truly understand their customers, their competitors or even the costs associated with manufacturing and selling the products. Because of the tight margins and high distribution and marketing costs in food, it is very difficult to build a financially viable company. I really encourage anyone interested in starting a food company to make sure they fully understand the financials before they fully jump in.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Continuing to help make life easier and happier for today’s families.