I would like to acknowledge my mother, Alma Lawrence for providing me with her wonderful English Toffee recipe, for the birth of my business, in November of 1990. As a child I looked forward to the holidays when my mother would prepare this fabulous confection for my consumption.
I was born and raised in Ukiah, California and graduated from Ukiah High School in 1969. I attended College of the Redwoods and transferred to Loma Linda University. After my college experience, I lived in Santa Monica, California and worked as a Registered Dental Assistant. I loved my career, met interesting people and worked for amazing dentists.
I attended Marinello School of Beauty in Los Angeles in the evenings, while I worked as an RDA, and received my cosmetology degree and passed my state board test. I am still currently licensed.
I phased out of Dentistry and worked for Elizabeth Arden on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. I was hired for a position as a face treatment specialist in their salon. They required training in their method of treatment, so I was sent to New York for 8 week, at their expense. What a wonderful experience that was! They paid for me to live in an apartment across from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, and gave me a salary while I was being trained. I worked on Rodeo Drive for 5 years and during that time, I was number one in both product and work sales, in the U.S, for Elizabeth Arden.
I married and had two wonderful children, Molly and Justin.
After two years of working as a face treatment specialist in a salon in Ukiah, I started dating Doug. He was a man I had known, whose wife and mother of three small children had passed away. Calle, Gabe and Broc were without a mother and Molly and Justin (my children from a previous marriage) were without a father. Doug and I fell in love and married in 1989 and blended our families by adopting each others children. In May of 1990, Mandee’ was born. Now our family was complete. It is truly his, mine and ours.
I decided that I needed to develop a business that could be home based, where I could provide all of our children with a nurturing environment.
I attended a class at Mendocino College entitled, “Women as Entrepreneurs”. It was sponsored by West Company and held at their facility. I used my mother’s English Toffee recipe, and developed a business plan with their help. This is how Joan’s English Toffee was born. I would like to acknowledge my friend of many years, Robert A. Hacker, Esq., for his inspirational suggestions throughout the last ten years. He has referred to me as the “Toffee Queen” and has said of our toffee, “This is what they must eat in Heaven.”
My father, Floyd Lawrence also born in Ukiah, a graduate of Ukiah High School, and a retired builder, built my commercial kitchen for me on our property. It is approved by the State of California and licensed by County of Mendocino. My husband Doug remodeled my commercial kitchen last year and we are now able to produce 25% more toffee, per batch, in our automated cooker.
November 2013 marks the 24th year of this family run business.