Entrepreneur Interview :: Jill Blashack Strahan, CEO Tastefully Simple

Jill Blashack Strahan Tastefully Simple Founder & CEOLaunchHER is thrilled to begin a new series of Entrepreneur Interviews to bring you real words of inspiration and advice from business owners. 

We begin with Tastefully Simple Founder & CEO, Jill Blashack Strahan.  Tastefully Simple is a Minnesota company that had a very humble beginning in 1995, and by 2005, Jill launched her brand into the Inc. 500 Hall of Fame.  Jill inspired us not only because she’s a local success, but also because her company employs independent consultants, many of whom are also women.  To be totally honest, I actually have Tastefully Simple products in my cupboard right now {the beer bread is amazing}! 

Enjoy Jill’s interview, and be sure to check out the links at the bottom to learn more…

LH :: Tell us about the moment you knew Tastefully Simple made it.

JBS :: In 2001, my founding partner and current COO, Joani Nielson, and I were jumping up and down and squealing with delight in the foyer after we opened up a next-day-air letter to find we were on the Inc. magazine list of the 500 fastest-growing companies. We called the whole team together into the warehouse and announced it. That made us feel like we were finally on the map.


LH :: In today’s economy, what suggestions would you give women entrepreneurs about creative ways to keep start-up costs low?

JBS :: Financing a new business is usually an issue, especially in this economy, so I encourage budding entrepreneurs to check out all the local and regional resources available to help them get started. The loan I received from the Small Business Administration was critical in my ability to transform Tastefully Simple from a dream to a reality. Beyond that, dream it, believe it and work it! Be very clear about what you want, have faith in that vision and be willing to do the work that’s necessary, because the harder you work, the luckier you get!


LH :: What are some challenges unique to women entrepreneurs, and how can we persevere?

JBS :: I’m not sure there are challenges that only women face – everyone experiences the fear of failure … and the fear of success! But fear is a great motivator. As Tommy Newberry has said, “We often don’t realize it, but we frequently come face-to-face with the exact obstacle we need at just the right time to sharpen us when we need it most.”

Start where you are, and be patient with yourself. A business is built one relationship at a time. During dark times, we can choose to get bitter … or to get better. Be prepared to make mistakes – at Tastefully Simple, we say we “reserve the right to get smarter” – and learn from them. Be willing to embrace change … because it’s inevitable. And surround yourself with positive influences, the people who help you hold onto your dreams and remind you of what you want your ideal life to be.


LH :: What did you look for when you first began hiring employees?

JBS :: I’ve come to the firm conclusion that there’s no extracting our personal life from our business life. In the same vein, the culture of any company is driven by our personal life, our personal beliefs and our personal values. Back in 1997, I sat down with our three employees and we brainstormed about what we did – and did NOT – want to be known for as a company. We developed our company’s seven core values. That was crucial because it created clarity in our own hearts and minds – and as our company grew, it ensured there would be no confusion about what our expectations and values are for anyone who comes on board.


LH :: As a woman entrepreneur and a mother, what has been your saving grace to balance it all?

JBS :: My personal definition of success is to be at peace and live a life of no regrets. When I reflect and act on my personal goals, which relate to my spirituality, family, social life, wellness, intellectual growth, finances and career, I find that sense of peace. Life isn’t perfect, but it is overflowing with teachings.           

Connect with Tastefully Simple / Read Simply Shine by Jill Blashack Strahan 


  1. Great Interview. Pushes me forward!


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  3. […] on an individual basis, to be the leader that we want to be. Jill Blashack Strahan, whom was featured last fall on LaunchHER, had all of our attention as she told her powerful business {and personal} […]

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