Susan Weiner Entrepreneur Profile
Susan Weiner grew up in rural Alabama before attending Wesleyan University for her undergraduate studies. She then went on to earn her MBA at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania by working as a small business consultant at the Wharton Small Business Development Center. After completing her studies, Susan travelled the world while working as an equity analyst for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.
Susan then went on to become a mother of three children. She stayed home full time with her children while they were young before she returned to work. She became the president of Centrieva, LLC, a software company. Here, she became reacquainted with the joys and struggles of running a small business.
Susan is now in the process of launching her company, Orange Dot Baking Company, which specializes in gluten-free goodies. Susan started her company after realizing her desire to generate local employment while producing a healthy, flavorful alternative to the already existing selection of high-glycemic, gluten-free breads. After launching in 2015, Orange Dot has grown to include eight varieties of hearty gluten-free muffins: Plain Delicious; Rustic Rosemary; Tasty Tuscan; Sante Fe Savory; Everything Better; Chocolate Chip; Cinnamon Raisin; and Super-Seeded.
Orange Dot muffins can be bought daily at the Bellair Market, Greenberry’s Coffee and Tea, Rebecca’s Natural Food Store, Hunt Country Market, Market Street Market, Greenwood Gourmet Grocery, and Firefly Restaurant. Muffins are also available on Saturday mornings at the Charlottesville farmer’s market. Susan’s next goal is to create a line of prepared foods such as bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches that would be sold frozen on a subscription basis to the gluten free college market.
Although Susan has a high level of business experience, she lacked the “boots-on-the-ground” experience needed for launching a startup. She feels that the 18 week CIC program provided the structure for organizing her business, as well as emotional support. Susan continues to benefit from the CIC mentorship program and the lending group that meets monthly. She feels that CIC has provided her with invaluable opportunities to network with other small business owners.
Susan’s advice for others is to be prepared to let your business evolve. She also advises that one should “get comfortable feeling stupid. Admitting to yourself and other that you don’t know something, and working to figure it out is half the fun!” Finally, as Stephen covey says, “begin with the end in mind.” If you don’t have a vision of where you’re going, it’s awfully hard to get there!