We immediately wanted to profile Millie when we realized we share one very serious passion – good food. While many people have an intense love for what they eat, Millie was able to find a way to turn her passion for good food and helping others into a great career in the start up world. She joined the Good Eggs team as their third employee and has watched it grow into a full-blown success over the past year. Get your garden tools ready, because this interview will make you want to roll up your sleeves and start working on your passion, especially if it’s homegrown tomatoes.
Name: Millie Shamburger
Instagram Handle: @burgermillie
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Occupation: Foodmaker, Good Eggs
Secretly Obsessed With: My job and fresh flowers
On My Nightstand: Lavender pillow spray
Last Thing You Read: An article about the World Cup of Farming
How did you get started?
Well, that’s an interesting question. While I was in college I fell in love with New Orleans and after graduating and moving away, I stopped at nothing to make it back to the city. I’d always been passionate about good food and helping to create change, so the timing with my opportunity at Good Eggs could not have been better. I was looking for a new adventure and Good Eggs was in crucial start-up mode in New Orleans at the time. I loved the mission of the company and that it aims to grow and sustain local food systems nationwide and educate consumers about their food choices.
I’ve always loved knowing where my food comes from, who grows it and creating a relationship with that person if it’s available to you. The most impressionable part of my journey with food was growing it myself. Nothing quite measures up to the flavor experience of homegrown tomatoes, and for that reason, Good Eggs seemed like a perfect fit to start my career.
What key elements played into your success?
One of the main contributing factors to landing my dream job at Good Eggs was persistence and networking. One of my best friends and old college roommates knew about Good Eggs through her work with a famous restaurant group in town. She was well-aware of my passion for locally grown food so she introduced me to a team member at Good Eggs, and from there I didn’t rest until I got the job.
I think another huge part of why I feel working for Good Eggs is a major success is because I’ve seen it grow from basically the very beginning. When I was hired at Good Eggs, I was the third person on board and they had been doing deliveries for about two months. Working on a small start up team makes everyone a critical part of overall success, which is incredibly gratifying and fuels your passion. It’s hard work, but it’s work that’s done with great love.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
The best advice I’ve received is learning how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. If you embrace discomfort and know you can always look back retrospectively to see what can be done to improve, you’ll be a good fit for a start up. While it’s important to keep to overall goal in mind, being flexible is a necessity in success in a start up. Good Eggs is constantly changing and pivoting our business to make sure we deliver the best product to our customers, and this is a key piece of our success.
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
There are so many challenges in the world of both start ups and food. Our overall business model is unique because everything is harvested, baked or prepared to order. Good Eggs is trying to change the way people think about food and help them understand what good food actually costs.
When you go in a supermarket, the market price of most food doesn’t truly reflect the hard work, time and integrity being put into making that product into your home and on to people’s plates. We are trying to change the way the supply chain works by bringing more fresh food to the consumer, paying the farmer for what the food actually costs, educating the public about sustainable agriculture and reducing waste all at the same time. I’ve learned to be patient and understand that we are trying to fix an incredibly broken system that has been neglected for far too long, which will take time.
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
Simone Reggie, one of my co-workers at Good Eggs, is like my sister, my mentor and most importantly, my friend. I’m not sure what I would’ve done without her guidance this past year. Her passion for helping small businesses is contagious, and doing something you love with people you love is incredibly rewarding.
What accomplishment are you most proud of and when do you feel most successful?
We recently started some new promotions for certain foods and we had one of the biggest sales weeks since opening. The sales for our producers was astonishing, and we’ve been able to help small farmers truly scale up and make real businesses that support their families, lifestyles and passions. I feel most successful when I see that this business model is truly a win-win for everyone involved. Delivering good food to customers and supporting farmers at the same time is a great feeling.
What advice would you give to girls looking to enter your industry/space?
Find something that makes you really happy because as cheesy as it sounds, you’ll never work a day in your life. I love my job and I wasn’t lying when I said I’m secretly obsessed with it. (Seriously, ask any of my friends!) I love going to work because I love the people that I work with and the amazing things we are accomplishing. Don’t settle for something you’re not passionate about as your career. There’s something out there you’d love to do, so keep looking until you find it.