Entrepreneur Turns Breadbaking Hobby into Successful Online Business
Eric Rusch, owner of Breadtopia, enjoys the challenge of being a small business owner and online breadbaking expert. His web-based business has created a vibrant online baking community and features recipes, articles, product research, educational videos (created by and starring Eric), personal correspondence, and a Baker’s Store of carefully chosen products for sale, from baguette pans to bread boxes to dough scrapers.
Want to learn how to bake a grilled sourdough pizza with a perfect crust? Watch this video. Looking for the “best of the best” in breadbaking cookbooks? Peruse Eric’s Baker’s Bookshelf. Need help in choosing a grain mill? Read his informative review.
Eric graduated from Maharishi International University in 1982 with a BA in Business. Early in his career he worked as a salesman for several Fairfield companies, and even began a few business ventures of his own. But it wasn’t until December 2006, when he launched Breadtopia, that he invented his dream job.
“Going to MUM was great preparation for working in business,” says Eric. About MUM’s Consciousness-Based Education approach, he adds, “It’s about a deeper experience, one that informs all sorts of aspects of the work you do. It’s holistic. It covers so much. MUM was a fantastic experience that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.”
Eric shares his love for baking with his wife Denyce, who once owned a bakery. The husband and wife team combined their skills and expertise to build Breadtopia from scratch. As preparation, Eric spent a year studying Internet marketing, while Denyce contributed her lifetime of graphic design experience to create a fun, informational, and alluring website.
More than just an online store, Breadtopia is a community of home-based bakers who share recipes, stories, and knowledge. The Rusches attribute the website’s success in large part to the free online baking videos, as well as the close interaction they maintain with site visitors and customers. “People like to support a family business,” says Eric. “Being able to say you’re from Iowa also establishes an immediate trust.”
Eric finds Fairfield, Iowa ideally suited for an Internet business. Overhead costs are low and its central location in the U.S. makes shipping efficient. He runs his business with one full-time employee and part-time seasonal help. The Rusches also appreciate the like-minded, health-conscious community and wide range of cultural and outdoor activities that are available in Fairfield.
But managing all the diverse aspects of running a business can be challenging at times. Eric’s 38-year practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique helps him handle the pressure. “Having the time to meditate is a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle,” says Eric. “It’s like going on a vacation. It makes so much possible.”
Written by Warren Goldie