In speaking with Holli Vanderslice, founder and owner of Slice of Heaven Catering, you immediately pick up on her vitality. Her passion for her work is so strong it’s impossible not to get caught up. Slice of Heaven Catering is all about the clientele – making their event a success and everyone feel loved. Holli says “This isn’t about the money. For me there is no better sign of success than hearing ‘You made my event awesome!’ from a client.”
June 16th, 2014, Slice of Heaven celebrated its 10 year anniversary. Prior to starting a catering company, Holli had been working for seven years at a large corporation. It made good money, but wasn’t something she was passionate about. Her husband told her, “I don’t care what you do for work - just come home happy.”
She and her husband are big entertainers and always have friends and family over for meals and celebrations. Holli’s father-in-law joked they should start charging their friends for all of the food they fed them. With her husband’s request to be happy and her father-in-law’s joke, all the signs seemed to point her toward a big change. So she quit her job and started Slice of Heaven Catering. She had some capital already saved up plus she'd attended culinary school, worked at a 5-star culinary resort and gained valuable business management skills from her previous position.
Holli admits she isn’t much of a planner and is more of a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal”. Upon starting her catering business she rented a 5 x 7 storage unit, a co-op kitchen space and had a cell phone. From there she bought things as needed and invested any money she made back into the company. She joined the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce early on to jump-start her business by networking within the community. She credits this, her business coach Colm Kelly, along with her vision for what enabled Slice of Heaven to reach a quarter million dollars in sales.
It was during this success that she stopped and assessed her business. Sure it was successful but she felt like everyday was becoming a drain on her energy. It takes a strong, passionate entrepreneur to come to this conclusion; and an even stronger one to do what Holli did – scale back. At this large level Holli found there were too many internal issues and that she missed having personal contact with her clients. In scaling back, she changed directions to focus on her true passion – her clientele and making them happy.
These days Slice of Heaven Catering has more of a small company and family environment feel. It’s her company philosophy to treat others above finance. She enjoys the increased communication and direct contact she now has with her clients. Some have even become her close friends; like the time when Holli was planning a wedding for a client’s son. The week before the wedding the client’s daughter got engaged – so another wedding needed to be planned! The two worked together for almost two years straight.
What's the future for Slice of Heaven Catering?
With a four year old daughter and another due in early September, Holli’s focus is all about doing what makes her happy. Despite her many challenges, she’s found stability. These days she opens her kitchen to other small food companies who need a commissary. This allows her to go back to her roots and cater small parties and corporate drop-offs. As she puts it, “this helps pay the bills but keeps the fun factor alive”. Plus it's a nice way to give back to the community and those who are starting out in the industry.
Some parting words of wisdom from Holli:
“Truly follow your heart and passion and it won’t feel like work."
“Passion makes success.”