Natasha’s Just Brittle goes from the classroom to the candy store
7 Questions for the owner of Natasha's Just Brittle
Natasha’s Just Brittle started seven years ago, back in 2007, as a learning activity — literally.
Natasha Brown, a single mother, and the owner and operator of Progress Place Learning Center (PPLC), a daycare center for children 6 months to 12 years old, decided to give her students a lesson in business management.
So, she had the children make and sell cakes, cookies, smoothies, brownies and brittle. That summer the children earned $453 and with their earnings took a trip to Free State Sport Arena.
The brittle out-sold all other products and was a constant request from parents long after the class project ended. So, Brown knew she was onto something spectacular, and eventually, “Natasha’s Just Brittle” was born.
Brown’s love of sweets, and her need to provide the healthiest ingredients for her family and the children she helped to develop each day, resulted in the creation of a signature brittle that showcased the cashew instead of the peanut.
The business has since expanded to include other specialty confections with brittle bits delighting many a sweet tooth. Today, the company makes 30 different brittle flavors, such as coffee and wasabi almond, and a variety of other treats including gourmet apples, chocolate-covered strawberries, potato chips and pretzels. Currently, Natasha’s Just Brittle is sold in gourmet stores throughout Metro Baltimore including Black Eyed Susan and North East Chocolates and Gelato.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
Natasha’s macadamia cluster! It’s the perfect combo; the smooth, creamy texture of the caramel with the added macadamia nuts and rich chocolate taste.
What’s the last cool thing you saw online?
I saw a quote on Facebook that read “Do your thing. Do it every day. Do it unapologetically. Don’t be discouraged by criticism. You probably already know what they’re going to say. Pay no mind to the fear of failure. It’s far more valuable than success. Take ownership, take chances and have fun. And no matter what, don’t ever stop doing your thing.” — Asher Roth.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and karate expert. Bruce Lee was a favorite. Since then it’s always been a part of my life.
What issues concern you most about the confectionery industry and why?
Having a new product. Fitting an artisan product into the world of Hershey and others. Competing with big companies because they’re already established and I’m just getting my name out there.
What’s the last book you read?
32 ways to be a champion in business, by Magic Johnson.
What is your pet peeve?
Lack of time management. Strongly believe in the Drumline quote “If you’re 15 minutes early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.”
If given the chance to choose anyone, whom would you like to collaborate with?
P. Diddy because he’s an awesome businessman. Would love to pick his brain and learn his method.