Angie Edgar is a full time Junior High and Senior High School computer teacher, yet she still manages to operate a business that has grown in leaps and bounds. As she was preparing for the Mississippi Craft Show, we asked her to share her journey with us.
How did this all begin?
My mama (known as MeMaw to her grandchildren) was the best cook I’ve ever known. For as long as I can remember, she made cheese straws at Christmas, for church socials, baby and wedding showers, parties, and receptions. She passed her recipe on to me, and I prepared them as she had, for lots of occasions, as well as friends and family. I was constantly being told I needed to somehow market her cheese straws.
In 2006, mama suffered a major stroke. The neurologists said she only had a few days to live, but, I always knew she was a fighter! I spent the majority of my free time with mama at the nursing home, and continued to make her recipe. Two of my mentors owned gift shops that sold specialty food products, and they agreed to sell the cheese straws during the Christmas holidays. So I went to work, really burning the midnight oil to keep just two gift shops supplied. After the holidays customers were still asking for them, and I felt the urge to keep cooking. This was my first sign that God was opening a new door in my life.
I nervously decided to share a booth at the Mississippi Market wholesale show. I prayed day and night about this decision and remember feeling so sick the first morning of the market. I finally just said, “OK, God, I’m going to do this but if I don’t write any orders I know that it’s not meant to be.” I wrote 23 orders in that two-day show and cried all the way home, knowing God had said “Yes!”. That was a really busy summer, cooking and filling orders. Mama had proven the doctor’s wrong by living four more years, but her health was deteriorating. She had suffered so much, and I knew that she had hung on for me. When I kissed her for the last time here on earth, I felt it was time for me to devote my time to MeMaw’s Cheese Straws.
How do you bridge the gap of the business side of designing?
The designing part of my business comes with the packaging of my products. In addition to cheese straws, I have added mama’s recipes for butter sugar cookies and an old trash mix, so there are now three products under the brand. I think it’s very important for a great product to be packaged attractively, so I change it seasonally, which requires time and thought. We continually hear that people love our packaging, and that makes it all worthwhile.
What else would you like people to know about you and your work?
I love my time in MeMaw’s Cheese Straws’ kitchen where I am my own boss and the only employee. I talk to myself and my mother a lot when I’m cooking, and I really feel her presence with me all the time. Sometimes I can even hear her advising me like when I was invited to take the business to an international level, and she said, “No”. To this day, mama still inspires me and keeps me motivated.
By Monique Troth
Taken from Magnolia State of Mind 2013 edition. The official magazine of the Mississippi Craft Show. www.magnoliastateofmind.com
About the Mississippi Craft Show
Mississippi Craft Show – August. The state’s only 100% Mississippi Handmade art and craft show. Featuring handworks from Mississippi craftsmen. www.mscraftshow.com
Handmade USA Show – March. The same quality handworks you expect at the August show from Mississippi craftsmen and also from across the region. All 100% handmade in the USA. www.handmadeusashow.com