By Lucy M. Pritchett
It seems fitting that Amber Peppers’ new life as an entrepreneur began at the grocery store.
“I was 25, divorced, and had two kids,” Amber recalls. “I had been a stay-at-home mom. I had no college and no plan. I had lost my home, my car, and I was trying to get out of debt.”
Amber says she started cooking for herself and a friend simply to make her grocery purchases last and to be able to feed her kids. She also wanted to lose weight so she was preparing healthy meals. She and the friend were splitting the grocery bill. Then her friend’s roommates wanted in. Now she was cooking for four.
“I would borrow money on Friday, shop, cook the meals, and was basically getting my food for free. I was charging $3 for each meal. Someone in the group said, ‘You’re cooking 10 hours on Fridays for a bunch of people that you don’t really know and aren’t making any kind of a profit.’ After that, I started doubling the price per meal.
“I was really uneducated about the food business, but it kept growing. Suddenly I was cooking 100 meals a week, and then it was 300 meals, and now I’m preparing 1,000 meals a week.”
|Amber Peppers found the inspiration to start Prepping with Peppers after realizing she
had to make some major changes in her life. Photos by Melissa Donald
“That’s when I said, ‘I am not going to do this anymore. I am not going to be the mom who can’t afford bananas for her kids. I went from feeling sorry for myself to ‘What do I need to do to make this better?’”
Since April 2017 Amber has run her Prepping with Peppers meal preparation business full time. Starting on Friday afternoons she does the shopping and starts cooking on Saturday and Sunday to fill the orders. She offers four different healthy meal choices each week plus one breakfast meal. Her clients, she now has over 300, order on Thursdays and pick up their meals on Sunday.
“I looked and looked for a commercial kitchen for a long time. In March, when I found the one I use now, I stood in the parking lot and cried when the lady handed me the key. I thought, ‘OK. This is really it.’
“Social media has helped push the business. My dream is to own the largest meal prepping company in the world. I tell my kids, ‘Dream hard. If your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming hard enough.’”
What did Amber hold onto while she was simmering and sautéing in those early months?
“I told myself, and now I tell others, ‘There are better things ahead than anything you may leave behind.’ This helped me to move forward with the business. My kids are my motivator. Two years ago I couldn’t buy them bananas, and this year I took them to Disney World.”
Have you ever made a life-changing decision that dramatically improved your situation? How did you do it? We would love to know!