Teach For America With A Twist


An Inspired Day, by  Kim Holstein

Today I felt the incredible energy of “pretzel power,” and I had to share my story here. Scott and I were invited to speak to a 9th grade class as part of Teach for America week. We went to TEAM Englewood Academy on the south side of Chicago, and we taught a 9th grade class.

10% of graduates at the school go on to college, and our committment is to educate students about the importance of college and opportunities to start their own businesses along the way. I think often of the phrase “if you feed a friend a fish, he/she eats for a day. Teach them to fish, and they eat for life.”

The students asked lots of interesting questions, and one had a great business idea of her own. We presented our “Twisted Tips” for empowering entrepreneurs, and we also offered to mentor anyone who reaches out to us from the class. The students enjoyed the variety of pretzels that we warmed up in the classroom, and they also shared some great flavor ideas.

In our business, we talk about how we must live “pretzels with a purpose”… our intention to be more than just pretzels…to really make a difference in our world community. Today I felt the energy of this committment. I also feel grateful for the support and guidance that so many offered us as we worked to build our dream the past  13 years.

In this challenging economy, we are inspired to share the idea that something can be created from nothing…that a dream can become a reality. Check out our “twisted tips” below, and hope we can inspire you!

May you feel empowered to realize your dreams.

All the Best,

Twisted Tips for Building Your Dreams!

“Give a friend a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach them how to fish, and you help them feed themselves for life.”

We started our pretzel company in May 1995 with a credit card and a dream. Through the ups and downs, challenges and successes…it has been an incredible twisted adventure! Over 13 years later, we sell our gourmet soft pretzels at grocery stores across the country, from Jewel to Dominicks and Whole Foods…in bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders….at Midway Airport….on QVC television…and more! We hope our story can be an inspiration for building your dreams.

*Find a mentor who can guide you and support you.

“We sought out a husband/wife couple who had a successful bakery business. They agreed to mentor us, and we learned so much from them.”

 *Seek local organizations, which have classes on starting your own business.

“I took a class from the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago. It was one night a week for 4 weeks, and it gave me the foundation to know how to get started. They also offered free counseling which was invaluable!”

 *Write a detailed business plan!

“To know where you are going, you need a plan. It’s critical to write a plan to use as a road map for the future.”

 *Don’t take “no” for answer, and stay away from naysayers.

“It’s critical to surround yourself with people who believe in your idea. If you get a “no”, consider it one step closer to the “yes.”

 *Write affirmations of what you want to create, and put them everywhere!

“We wrote the affirmation….We have a million dollar business…when we had less than $100,000 in sales. We put out the idea of what we wanted to create, and we made it our truth. Make it your truth, and you start to build the reality.”

 *Never give up!

“We believe there is always a way. When challenges come our way….as they do…we write down all the different options and different people who can help us. Giving up is not an option. The dream and vision is way too important.”

*Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your weaknesses. Find people who are experts in different areas and surround yourself with great people.”

“This has been a valuable lesson for us. The more we let go of the areas we are not great at, we start focusing on our gifts and what we are best at doing.”

 *Live your passion.

“If you love what you do, and it has deep meaning and fulfillment for you…the money will come. It has to be about much more than money…with deeper intentions that are true to your mission in life.”


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