If there is anything that can teach us the rich history of self-made croissants, is their incredible persistence.
Bill Gates saw his first company collapse and Walt Disney was forced to close his own because he was told he was not creative enough.
Steve Jobs took over from Apple and King Camp Gillette sold only 51 razors in the first year of his business.
His story business is full of such episodes, which show that determined people do not understand from failures.
A special place among them has Milton Hershey, who made his name synonymous with chocolate. This, of course, is the end of his adventurous story, an incredible success story born in the ashes of total economic disaster!
Until the age of 26, Milton Snavely Hershey was practically on the ace. With three failed companies to his credit, he did not exactly look like an ideal candidate for wealth.
And yet, with his unshakable vision and insatiable curiosity, he made a story that remains the epitome of success.
The poor childhood years
Milton Hershey was born in September 1857 in a Pennsylvania county town. Farmer was his dad, and so Milton grew up in the fields for a living.
And of course he had his eye on business, but he failed in everything he did. Until 1867, Henry Hershey was out of the family.
The reasons for his parents’ divorce are not known, but Milton biographers assume that his mom got tired at some point from the constant failures of her husband. Henry had run a farm, a daycare center and many other things, but nowhere did he find the success he was looking for.
The little one left school at the age of 13 to go to the bio-fight. Her years poverty who passed in his childhood would always follow him, shaping an important part of his character, his unstoppable charity.
He went to work for a publishing company, but he was very clumsy and was soon fired from the small press. The following year, at the age of 14, he expressed the desire to apprentice with a pastry chef, which he did.
The first failures
In 1876, the 19-year-old and always ambitious Milton decided that he had learned all her secrets confectionery and now it was time to try his luck. He said he would move to Philadelphia, just in time for the glorious celebrations of the first centenary of the Declaration of Independence.
Milton thought that big national events would bring him hot money, so he told him to build his own patisserie. So he borrowed a significant amount from an uncle to set up his shop in the heart of Philadelphia, but also to advertise it throughout the territory.
He even brought his mom and aunt to town to help him out at the patisserie. Despite the hard work of all of them, however, the young man did not make money. Debts and loans overtook him, so he had to lock up after 5 difficult years.
Persistent as he was, he did not compromise with failure. He moved to Denver to find his father, who had made some contact with his only son. There he got a job at candy store, only it would not land.
The businessman inside him did not let him remain an employee in the work of others. And so he sought his fortune again as his own boss, first in Chicago and then in New York. In both cases, however, it failed miserably.
Despite the three catastrophic failures he had in his assets and the lenders who were chasing him, he did not say to give up. Even in New Orleans he found himself trying to catch the good one, however he saw the fourth failure early and picked them up to return to his hometown.
But all this would not be completely lost…
You become an entrepreneur, you are not born
Returning to Pennsylvania, the only thing he seemed to have gained so far in his life was the knowledge of sweets. And especially one thing, the valuable lesson he learned from the Denver confectioner: how to make candy from fresh milk.
He was now 26 years old (1883) and literally without one in his pocket. He was so poor that he could not even bring his belongings from Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
His family considered him an opportunist and his uncle chased him and returned the loan. Only Milton was convinced that despite the failures, he could build a profitable confectionery company.
And for the first time in his life he saw luck smile on him. An old employee of the Philadelphia store paid for his belongings to come to Pennsylvania and helped him stand on his own two feet.
Once again recruiting mom and aunt in the new business venture, Milton began experimenting with caramel and soon had the recipe for what would become known as Hershey’s Crystal A, a caramel dessert made from fresh milk that “melted in your mouth,” as the advertisement.
Lancaster Caramel Company was founded to bring the product to market. The lot was saved for him by a large order from a British importer. With the order paper in hand, he flew to Lancaster National Bank for a loan.
The manager was so excited about the caramel dessert that he not only gave him the money, but even guaranteed it on his behalf. When the Briton sent him the first check, ολόκλη 500, Milton went crazy with joy.
He ran up and down the street with his apron on and the check in his hand. So he went to bank to file it. It was his time, he had in his hands his first good money, which he could spend for himself.
First job, buying a big house for him and his mother. The success continued unabated and within a few years you found its candies not only everywhere in the US but also abroad.
Until 1894, he was one of Lancaster’s most respected and prominent citizens.
The first million is the most difficult
At the Chicago International Fair in 1893, Milton first saw the art of making up close of chocolate from something Colombian confectioners. And he was immediately enchanted. It was an opportunity he would not miss.
With the candy company booming, it would not take him long to start a second one, the Hershey Chocolate Company. He had in mind milk chocolate, this very expensive dish that was exclusive to all the Swiss.
But he wanted to find a new way of processing that would allow him to prepare it in bulk, reaching the shelves at an affordable price. So that everyone can taste it, not just the rich. But to do that, he needed money. A lot of money.
His biographers tell us that he did not hesitate to sell the now-successful Lancaster Caramel Company in 1900 for $ 1 million. The 43-year-old businessman would play all over again.
Three years later, he was found building a huge one chocolate Factory in his hometown, with the most modern in terms of confectionery and equipment. But also production line.
By then he had perfected his formula for an affordable chocolate. When completed in 1905, it was the largest chocolate factory on the planet, setting new standards for the industry.
His huge machines produced 114 different chocolate products from the first moment. As is often said, the candy gave him the first million, but it was that chocolate that made him rich.
Hershey saw early on the madness of mankind with chocolate. He was even convinced that he had to dedicate himself to it when he saw some German machines for its production. However, no one had gone as far as him.
While his factory was being built in the wilderness of Pennsylvania, with his wife and co-workers considering him crazy for wasting his money, he and a handful of trusted employees were locked in the workshop.
They worked day and night, non-stop, to find the perfect mixture for milk chocolate. As one of these employees recalled: “No one told Mr. Hershey how to make milk chocolate. He found it himself in the difficult way “.
The success of the Hershey Chocolate Company was heard all over the world. He was now marketing one chocolate after another. In 1924 it included the wrapper from aluminium foil in its products, common practice ever since.
Croesus Milton never forgot his difficult childhood years in poverty. He was one of the capitalists who took great care of his employees, even building a model corporate city for them.
It was known as Hershey and had, in addition to homes, schools, parks, churches and recreation areas, including a golf course and a zoo. You even had a public transportation system. Now he had time to dedicate to charity.
He never had children with his wife, so he dedicated his fortune to the poor and orphans. With orphanages, schools and educational institutions for the underprivileged children of America.
The his charitable work continued with undiminished intensity even during the significant decade of the Great Depression of 1930. Now he was building like crazy in his city, new houses, a hotel, theaters, entertainment venues, and even a new headquarters of his colossus, just to have a job his employees.
His generosity was in stark contrast to that of America’s other great capitalists. He continued to work until the end of his life, always living simply and humbly.
After all, from 1918, years before he passed away (he died in 1945, at the age of 88), he wrote all his fortune in the institution that managed the school and his other charitable activities.
“One can be happy only when it makes others feel happy,” he said. And he firmly believed that wealth must be shared in society.