September S’muffin Update

September 30th, 2014
Football S'muffin Season

Football S’muffin Season

 

Another summer is officially over. School is back in session, the evenings are getting darker, and the days are getting cooler. OK, maybe not that last one (yet!), but you know what I mean.

 

gotta have smores 3

Always A Special Delivery

 

While I’ve slowed down my event schedule, I’m definitely still churning out the S’muffins! I continue to sell at all the regular spots–and if you can think of a boutique shop or cafe that would be a good match, please send me the name. And did you know that we ship S’muffins anywhere in the continental US? I even deliver locally! Special S’muffin runs across LA are only $15 Monday – Friday.  So while you might not see me at Unique LA or Renegade Craft Fair this year, you still have plenty of opportunities to see my S’muffins!

 

Yuck

Yuck

 

I’m proud to be among the very distinguished group of LA ladies who are both mommies and entrepreneurs. I’ve brought you up to speed on what I’m doing as a business owner (S’muffins!), but lately I’ve been just as busy as an educational activist–not just for my own girls, but hopefully for all children within the LAUSD system. Last year I started looking into Common Core, and what I found really upset me. So when I’m not in the kitchen, I’ve been in marches and seminars and workshops and school board meetings, trying to prevent this expensive and troubling “reform” from taking hold. If you’d like to learn more, you can check out the Facebook page I created. While you’re there, please be sure to “like” the Gotta Have S’more page, too!

 

Fall For Smuffins!

Fall For Smuffins!

 

But getting back to Fall… Whether or not we will soon look forward to crisp, cool days, we can certainly count on Homecomings, Halloween and Thanksgiving. For those holidays, and all your birthdays, events and milestones in-between, I have S’muffins to suit the occasion.

 

Don’t forget to follow my Gotta Have S’more Twitter page for more details and updates!

 

 

 

 

My Continuing Adventures

July 3rd, 2014

Busy, busy, busy as always! With two little ladies in the house, it’s all I can do to keep up with the energy (and the art work and the games and the trips to the park and the early mornings…). In my “spare time” (ha! what’s that?), there are S’muffins!

New History Books!

M's Kindergarten Graduation

In June I helped families celebrate dads and grads with custom designs. Entering July, I’ve got Independence Day S’muffins. They’re limited-edition milk chocolate s’mores with a sweet candy flag on top, dipped in plain milk chocolate and red milk chocolate. Get them before they’re gone! Last day to order before the 4th is Tuesday!

Sweet Stars 'n' Stripes

As some of you may know, I’ve also gotten very involved in the Common Core issue. I’ve done so much research I can’t even read another report. It’s pretty crazy and most of the parents I know are totally in the dark about what’s taking place at their kids school. If anyone wants to know more or would like to get involved in getting Common Core out of California schools, please let me know.

Dr. Pesta and Me at the Great Homeschool Convention

Have a fun and fabulous 4th!

Time Marches On, Which Means More Events

April 9th, 2014

I’ve kept things quiet in 2014. The more selective I am, the more I can give to my girls and to each of the events I attend. So far, I really like this strategy. My girls do, too!

On March 10, the lovely Natalie Eckdahl of BizChix interviewed me for a podcast about my sweet S’muffin journey, from inception to where I am now. We talked a bit about my time on Shark Tank, too.

On March 22, I had the distinct honor of being one of the dessert hosts for the Geffen Playhouse’s annual “Backstage at the Geffen” gala. They were honoring Disney Chairman Alan Horn, as well as one of my long-time favorites, Steve Martin. The event, itself, was hosted by Steve Carrell, who appeared to be just as funny live as he is in his movies.

And for much of March, I was part of Backstage Creations‘ blog contest. The winner got to take home the incredible goody bag given away at the Writers Guild Awards, on February 1–including some S’muffins. Lucky winner!

Now I’m looking forward to April and all of the new excitement it has in store.

S’muffins Were in the Spotlight in February

March 11th, 2014

Goodie!

2014 has been intentionally quiet–but satisfying. Especially since S’muffins were costars in a very special show this month!

On Saturday, February 1, The Writers Guild held its awards show, a mixture of words, wisdom, wit and winsomeness. There were big winners, like Spike Jonze, for Her, and the team of writers for Breaking Bad and Veep, but I felt like the biggest winner of all, because my S’muffins were a featured part of the Writer’s Guild Awards gift bag! My big prize was knowing that some of Hollywood’s greatest got to snack on my specialty s’mores.

Win the Gift Bag of the Writer Winners!

When we celebrated Valentine’s Day just two weeks later, I still felt like the most beloved girl in town!

You can win your very own Writer’s Guild gift bags! Check out the Backstage Creations Facebook page for all the info.

S’more Amore and Shari’s Berries Celebrate Love

January 21st, 2014

Love At First Sight

If I had to pick the perfect Valentine’s dessert to give to a sweetheart, it would have to be my “Smore Amore” Valentine’s Day S’muffins. It isn’t just the classically irresistible combination of buttery graham cracker crust, rich chocolate and stickey-gooey roasted marshmallow (although there’s a lot to love in that combination!). There’s a deeper meaning nestled at the heart of these treats–just like the chunk of chocolate I hide inside each of my s’mores.

The entire idea of my business, Gotta Have S’more, was something fun my husband, Ben, and I came up with as a sort of whimsical, silly inside joke between the two of us; we used to talk about opening a “s’more store” one day. Except at some point it stopped being a trifle and started to seem more and more like a realistic possibility. So one day I disappeared into the kitchen and later emerged from inside a whirlwind of flour, butter and sugar, presenting the first morsels of my freshly baked business to the world!

Ben has been my champion throughout the entire process, so naturally, I think of him–my true love!–every time I work with my S’more Amore line.

Shari's Berries Valentine's Chocolate Covered Oreo® Cookies

When I think of Shari’s Berries Decadent Desserts, I feel like the Valentine’s Chocolate Covered Oreo® Cookies are probably the closest soul mates to my S’muffins. Both are, at their foundation, beloved childhood goodies, and both have evolved into something much more elegant and adult–like a young lady transformed into a princess for her first homecoming dance! My S’muffins grew from the graham cracker/Stay Puft marshmallow/Hersey’s chocolate campfire combination from childhood; Shari’s Berries Chocolate Covered Oreo® Cookies metamorphisized from the Oreo® sandwich cookies we all snacked on as kids, into something far more elegant, draped in a gown of rich chocolate, adorned with hearts and decorative striping.

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate the ones closest to your heart. Treat them to a reminiscence of what they enjoyed as a kid, but with a finessed, grown-up twist. What’s not to love?

Special S’muffins and New School Strategies!

August 22nd, 2013

Maddie is ready for her first day!

Can you believe we’re already nearing the end of summer? Where has the time gone?

You know what this means, of course. Back to school! My husband and I made the exciting decision to homeschool Maddie for Kindergarten. I know it will be a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to all of the time we’ll spend together. My Big Girl is already school age; I might as well take advantage of every opportunity for togetherness while I still have the chance!

The girls have been helping out all summer!

Of course, along with the start of school it’s also time for Fall holidays. And you know what Fall holidays mean–Fall S’muffins! Call to place your order: 888-95-SMORE (76673)

Happy education (and eating!), everyone!

Fall For Smuffins :)

My-Oh-My, July Just Flew By!

August 8th, 2013

My Big Girl!

Can I just take a moment to tell you about my daughters? My clever, creative, cute and caring baby girls? Already such amazing people, and I am so very, very proud to be their momma.

From this...

“Baby girls.” My “babies” are growing so fast! The little one celebrated her first birthday on June 20! The time goes so quickly. I know everyone always says that, but it’s the most true cliche I know of. It’s wonderful to watch them learn and become individuals, even if little pieces of my heart sometimes break in the process.

To this! In just one year.

But, mostly, it’s all good. Look how they’re even helping with the “family business!” These photos were taken at Unique LA on July 13 + 14. Who could resist a S’muffin, from faces like those? :)

Do you follow me on Facebook and Twitter? I post even more pictures there…oh, and more event information, too…

The Lindner Ladies!

The Lindner Ladies!

Prayers & Support For My Hometown – Moore, Oklahoma

May 24th, 2013

It’s just a  little town of 55,000 people; a suburb 11 miles south of Oklahoma City. It’s where I spent my childhood from kindergarten through 12th grade. It’s where my family still lives. It’s my yearly destination when I “Go back home to Oklahoma.” On Monday, May 20, my little hometown of Moore, Oklahoma was gutted–physically and emotionally–by a level 5 tornado.

It didn’t take long for the 1.3 mile-wide, 210 mph twister to tear through 17 miles of ground. In 50 minutes, it destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. Infamously, it also destroyed schools.

Pic sent from a friend of our Jr High School, Highland East

I went to one of the schools the tornado demolished. My mother lives in one of the neighborhoods that was hacked through by the roaring wind. My brother recently moved to a nearby city, and his old home destroyed. My childhood friends lost everything, but nothing can compare to the families who lost their babies.

My heart is in pieces over what happened on Monday, and even from LA, I’m in mourning right along with the residents of Moore. But it’s not my style to just sit back, so I’m launching a campaign to help raise money for the families who lost children when Plaza Towers Elementary School was obliterated. Now through June 7, I will be donating 20% of S’muffin sales directly to those families. I was scheduled to go back to Moore this summer for my 20-year high school reunion. But now I’m also going back to deliver checks right into the hands of those grieving parents.

As sad as I am, I also couldn’t be more proud of the community where I was raised. Here are some of the stories of volunteerism that are coming out:

- A procession of as many as 2,000 volunteers filed down a street toward the Moore Cemetery to help clean up and repair the cemetery in advance of the burials and Memorial Day observances.

Brother sent this pic, it's the neighborhood they moved from a few months ago.

– On a street near the hospital that had been destroyed, volunteers were cleaning up the home of a neighbor they barely knew.

– 2,200 people have registered for help with the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Please join me and the good people of Moore, OK by doing what you can. I welcome you to buy S’muffins , or to make a direct donation (to me to give to the people when I go back this summer). Another great organization that donates 100% is the  Oklahoma City Tornado Recovery Fund and Community Emergency Fund.

Thank you and God bless. Carmen Lindner, Founder & CEO Gotta Have S’more

You can place an order online or call me directly with a donation my cell 917-868-1340. Thank you!

I Hired a Call Center…. HUGE MISTAKE!

April 19th, 2013

My little CRV next to a huge Semi at a loading doc.

A few weeks ago I made the biggest business mistake I’ve ever made.  I’ve actually been told there are no mistakes in business, only lessons that make you smarter and better.  If that’s the case, then go ahead and start calling me Einstein!

You see, for the past three and half years, I’ve been forwarding my S’more calls to my cell phone.  My business is not a typical “office job”.  I’m usually running around sourcing materials and ingredients, hunting down new packaging, shopping at extra large stores like Restaurant Depot, going to large storage facilities and warehouses, packaging orders, and taking care of deliveries.  In the evening my tiny army and I take care of all of the baking.  I’m just living the dream  :-)

In addition to having my own business, I’m the mom of two of the cutest little girls you’ll ever see.   They are both with me during the day.  I wouldn’t have it any other way!  When Maddie was a baby I was working a corporate job and she went to a sitter during the day.  This time around Emma has been with me all day every day.  I’ve been able to experience all her “firsts”:  first word “Dada”, first wave, first time to crawl, kiss, etc.  It all sounds so magical and lovely, right?  The reality is, although I wouldn’t change a thing, it can be extremely hectic and overwhelming.  Running a business is all consuming; when you toss one or two kids in the mix, it can become out of control!  Kids, especially babies are noisy; especially when they’re expressing their happiness or displeasure … they are just loud little people.

Kiddo's hanging out at the loading doc

Maddie carrying Emma around the house

 I’ve been taking my calls with my kids in the background since day one.  About a month ago I took an early morning call, which I typically don’t do because I know better.  I answered the phone and went to a more quiet room.  As I was taking the order, I could hear little voices getting closer and closer.  I was wrapping up details of the order, address, credit card, yes, yes, ok thank you.  Little did I realize, Maddie was carrying Emma and they were standing right behind me.  I quickly turned and accidently knocked Emma in the head with my elbow!  Emma now screaming and Maddie saying, “Here mama, Emma needs you”.  I frantically explained the unprofessional noises in the background and quickly got off the phone. 

At that point I decided, that was it! That was my last unprofessional S’more call with kids screaming in the background.  So I did a bit of research and hired a call center.  The call center was going to be able to take S’more calls 24/7, answer questions, and process orders!!  I felt like the gates of heaven had opened; I was free, no longer having to quiet the uncontrollable forces, known as my kids.  A week of my new found freedom passed, and then I decided I needed to hear how the calls were going.  Of course I still wanted my callers to get the best possible customer service; I mean how hard can it be to answer the phone? 

Shopping with Emma

I had four of the recorded calls emailed to me.  As I listened to each one it was like a dagger going deep into my heart.  They were painful to listen to.  The person answering had no idea how to answer simple questions like, “where are you located?”, “what are your hours”?  My callers would hang up annoyed and frustrated by the lack of knowledge and poor customer service they were receiving!   My heart sank…what had I done?!  I immediately switched my phones back to my cell phone and cancelled my contract.  I didn’t even want to give it a second chance.  The call center was so bad that I received a one star review on yelp!  For three and a half years no one had ever complained on yelp about kids being loud in the background, but within one week of using a call center I got a one star yelp review, ouch!   I reached out to the person who wrote the review and am hoping to get a second chance to make that first impression.

My Little Darlings

Now I’m back to answering my phones with my little darlings in the background.  I actually love speaking with my customers and answering questions; obviously no one knows my business better than me.  Outstanding customer service has always been something I take a lot of pride in being able to offer.   So if you happen to call, you’ll get to speak with me, Carmen, the owner.  You’ll get AWESOME customer service and you’ll probably get to say “hello” to my kids!

Williams-Sonoma, Made By Meg and So Much More!

March 28th, 2013

Want a glimpse “behind the scenes” of Gotta Have S’more? Well, hold on tight, because this company is in the middle of a whirlwind!

Ever since I went on Shark Tank, there has been an amazing influx of articles, interviews, blog posts – and opportunities. Opportunities like Williams-Sonoma!

Yes, Williams-Sonoma is carrying S’muffins!

From the website:

What tastes like a s’more, and looks like a muffin? It’s the S’muffin! The inspired invention of Los Angeles mom Carmen Lindner, a S’muffin captures all the scrumptiousness of s’mores in a delightful, easy-to-devour mini-muffin shape—for a treat unlike any other we’ve tasted. Lindner’s company, Gotta Have S’more, crafts each S’muffin by hand from the bottom up, starting with a buttery graham cracker crust dipped in dark chocolate and topped by a fluffy cloud of perfectly roasted marshmallow. Inside is a rich bite of Ghirardelli dark chocolate ganache or Ghirardelli milk chocolate with caramel sauce (the topping indicates the filling flavor). S’muffins can be served at room temperature, but they’re even better when briefly warmed in the microwave or oven.

Each set of 12 comes with six Chocolate Ganache and six Chocolate with Caramel, for $49.95. While they’re pricier than on my website, anyone shipping to the East Coast will save $5 by ordering through Williams-Sonoma (shipping is only $10.50!). Plus you’ll be enjoying exclusive, limited-edition gourmet s’mores!


Speaking of new places to order S’muffins, I couldn’t be more proud of my good friend, Meg Hall, who opened her first-ever, brand-new brick-and-mortar cafe in Redondo Beach! Made By Meg: Counter and Kitchen celebrated its Grand Opening on March 20, and is open 6 days a week! Here is some press from Eater Los Angeles, and Patch.com.

Monday through Saturday, from 11am – 8pm they will serve five different farmer’s market-fresh salads and sandwiches, as well as unique drinks, snacks and desserts – desserts like S’muffins!

So do drop in, Redondo.

Those are just a taste of what we’re cooking up, so stay tuned for more info here and on Facebook and Twitter!