Food entrepreneur, and former Senior Editor at Ladies’ Home Journal Magazine, Leslie Lampert has been cooking up consciously-sourced meals for nearly twenty years with Westchester’s award-winning Ladle of Love take-out hot spot.
This mom of three, and grandmother of three, spent decades writing and editing food articles and sharing TV segments at Time, The New York Times, Parents, Glamour, among others, before putting on the executive chef hat and launching Love Hospitality, which includes the Ladle of Love brand, Lone On the Run Catering, and Market Love which makes small-batch food weekly for Fresh Direct, Greens Natural Markets, and others.
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to build a successful business, while using your skills to support others, keep on reading this Mompreneur Monday feature on Leslie Lambert, founder of Ladle of Love.
With golden cooking hands, and a heart of gold, Leslie supports numerous charities including Feeding Westchester, for which Ladle of Love is a valuable culinary partner helping to feed 200,000 residents in Westchester County. Ladle of Love is also the exclusive Culinary Team at The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester, providing hot meals to more than 1,500 kids per week. And this hustling mama’s latest project, The Scrappy Chef, shows viewers how to transform the food we trash (40 percent of the groceries we buy!) into healthful, delicious meals—saving the planet, time and money.
How old are your kids? How old were they when you left corporate life and launched your first restaurant? My kids are 37, 35, and 33. Actually, my grandkids are four, two, and one-and-a-half years old. My kids were in grade school when I became Senior Editor at Ladies’ Home Journal Magazine. They were in high school and college when I launched Ladle of Love.
When did you launch your first business? I launched Ladle of Love in 2003, after a seismic shift in my life. Then, came Cafe of Love, which existed from 2008-2018. The newest division of Love Hospitality is our distribution branch. We are taking our hand-crafted, thoughtfully-prepared food, and selling direct to vendors like Fresh Direct, colleges and hospitals.
What was your biggest challenge when you launched the business? Brand development was easy and fun, but understanding profit and loss strategy was new. I needed to understand that gross revenue meant nothing without understanding what you put to the bottom line.
What inspires you to keep pushing your business forward? Growth is exciting. The constant re-calibration of business keeps you on trend. You need to understand the culture and the societal buying behaviors; that keeps your brand relevant.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment this year? Steve Jobs said that having a sense of urgency is paramount to success. But, I’ve learned you need patience for the best process, and that applies to business and parenting!
What’s one mistake you made in business that has informed how you hustle now? Don’t swing at every pitch. Let low-priority issues slide.
What skill set should every entrepreneur seek to acquire? Building a team of like-minded employees, who are smart and committed. That requires selecting employees that have compatible skill sets which are frequently off-resume.
What advice would you give to a mom who is looking to launch a product- based business? Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. Build out the business plan conservatively and have the proper financing, even if it has to be curated in a creative way. Make sure you’re properly funded.
What advice would you give to a mom who is looking to launch a service- based business? Of course, build out a business plan, but also build a team that collectively understands that creating trusted relationships with clients is most important.