See his site and menu here: http://charliesbrownies.com/products-page/
Los Angeles is full of many Hollywood hopefuls. There’s no shortage of jokes about all the young people who arrive everyday, bright eyes gleaming in the presence of the spotlights. But for the young people who’ve spent their whole lives here with the industry in their backyard, the spotlights hold no value. They spend their days looking for new, innovative ways to stand out. Charlie Fyffe is no exception as he has baked his way to some of the hottest events in Hollywood at the age of 23.
Edge: What made you start a brownie company of all things?
Charlie: It kind of started organically. In high school I was selling Gatorade and candy. I was that hustler kid. I would bring my cooler to school and I would sit on Bro Row and that was the area where all the black kids would sit at my private all boys’ school. I was on the Varsity basketball squad and we had a potluck for the team, I brought brownies and they got devoured. So along with my Gatorade and my candy, I started bringing brownies to sell, they were $1 a piece…you didn’t have to wait in line. People started calling me Charlie Brown, so it kind of started there. I was actually making good money in high school. With the nickname and the products I was making from scratch it kind of developed itself into a company. My mom bought me stickers with “Charlie’s Brownies” on it and from there it became this brand. That’s when I realized it could be something legit.
Edge: Once you saw the potential how did you take it to the next level?
Charlie: In college I got a contract with my school to sale them in the cafeteria. I was actually paying my rent by selling my brownies full time. I had to learn business in order to keep doing this. I was learning business with something that was a live and working. It officially started when I was 15 but in terms of a company, it really became a big deal when I was a junior in college because I had to make a certain amount and supply them to the school because I was under contract. I was making 96 brownie bites a day. On weekends I would deliver boxes for events, so during Thursday and Fridays I would bake 3-4 pans for the weekend business.
Edge: What’s been the coolest thing that has happened with your business venture thus far?
Charlie: I hang out with a lot of entrepreneurs and I know a lot of people who aren’t entrepreneurs. The difference in lifestyle, there are people I know who have actual jobs and they make a lot more than I do right now but the projections are a lot different of what I will ultimately make. And they’re not as happy as I am. I get to make all of my own decisions. It’s all based on my own efforts and not based on what someone is willing to pay me. The lifestyle is just different. And I’m not talking about lifestyle in terms of cars and chains and cash flow. I mean just the mentality, the freedom, and the creative ability.
Edge: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about business?
Charlie: I have this nickname, Charlie Hustle. It’s the competition. The business world is its own jungle. There are other companies out there that essentially are trying to offer the same thing that I offer. You’re only going to succeed if you can outwork others, if you can stay focus and not get distracted and put all of your love into your product. Business takes a good amount of hustle, going beyond 9-5. It’s doing whatever needs to be done in order to get it done.
Edge: Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
Charlie: I see it as a product that a lot of people are familiar with, love and have access to. I have a decent fan base but I want my product to be accessible. For example, I have a vegan line of products coming out and I want people to just be able to go in to Whole Foods and get them. I have a huge vision, a global vision but I want to start right here first. I wan to focus on LA and be in Santa Monica, Hollywood, South Central and the Valley. I want to be in stores, I want to be in coffee shops. I want to be at the all of the hot events. I want it to be known that C’s B’s are coming through I want it to be premiere. I come with all these fancy chocolates and people just love it.
Edge: Tell me what makes a good brownie.
Charlie: Well I can tell you how I make my brownies. Brownies range form very fluffy to cookie like to very fudgy and dense. Most brownies that you find are a little more on the dense chocolate side and have a lot of sugar. Brownies are branded as being heavy and treadmill food. My brownies are a little bit toned down. As more people become more health conscious and closer to vegan, their taste palettes are changing. My brownies being classier and being in that more conscious vibe, id designed lighter. It’s not fat free but it’s not super high in sugar. I do use certain ingredients like Chardonnay infused sea salts and different things to contrast the sugars that are in it so that it creates a pop. You feel it in your buds. A lot of women eat it and they say, “oh that wasn’t heavy, I want another one”. I serve bites, so they’re good for having around the house and at events. If people sit down and eat one they are going to finish it. That’s what I think makes a good brownie. Not everyone will agree.
interview by: iman n. milner
Photos by: Ashley Nguyen
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