Modern Muffin made its debut at a fund-raising event in August of 2011. Claire Putterman started her business because her family urged her to start selling the delicious and wholesome muffins she had been making for 30 years. Now, Modern Muffin is a family affair, with husband, sons and daughter each handling a portion of the continuously growing business.
Putterman, 63, is from Dillon, SC. She taught French at Providence Day School for 16 years. Once her children were born, she cooked and baked for them with the intention of making everything healthy and clean.
“I was always putting fruits and vegetables in my brownies, cookies, waffles, pancakes and, of course, muffins,” said Putterman.
Putterman’s view of healthy eating carried over to the mission of Modern Muffin: to educate the community about living a healthy lifestyle and the importance of sourcing good quality foods to nourish your body.
For the first two and a half years, Putterman baked the muffins in her home in Charlotte and sold them online.
She said, “I was baking from sun-up to sun-down, seven days a week. People would order online and simply come to my house and pick them up.”
When the business grew, Putterman needed to move the production of her recipes to a larger kitchen. Now 4,000-5,000 Modern Muffins are baked in a co-packing facility each week. Although Putterman’s hands are not in the batter, so to speak, she does oversee each step of the process.
The muffins come in five flavors: banana chocolate chip, lemon blueberry, orange pineapple poppy seed, strawberry berry and pumpkin cranberry. They can be purchased in Harris Teeter and Whole Foods markets and range in price from $5.99-$8.69 for a four-pack. Muffins are also available online. A six-pack is $15 plus shipping and a 12-pack is $32 plus shipping.
Putterman answered C5’s Small Business Series questions:
What are the best ways to develop business relationships with corporate companies?
“You really have to persevere. You can’t give up. You have to love and be passionate about your product and your company and the people you are working with. You just have to tell them that you have a fantastic product and that it is perfect for them and for their clientele.”
How do you manage quality control when you are producing on a larger scale?
“That’s absolutely crucial and so important to me. I want to make sure that my product is as perfect as it can be when it goes out on that shelf. When my bakery is in production, I go over there and watch what’s happening.
“I scrutinize every single rack to make sure that they taste good and that they are according to my recipe.”
Not everyone running the business is located in Charlotte. How do you stay in touch?
“We have executive board meetings several times a year. We have FaceTime meetings multiple times a week. Modern Muffin is always in our daily topic of conversation, whether we are texting, calling or emailing.”
When do you strategize and what does that process look like?
“We strategize three times a year, and each of my vice presidents brings their own agenda. At the end of the year, we choose three main goals for the following year. We promise ourselves that we will not stray from those goals in any way.”
When you are not baking muffins, what are you making?
“I cook almost every single meal. I love when we all get together and cook meals. I make vegetable creations like quinoa vegetable lasagna, lentil soup, breads and healthy desserts with dates, almond milk, yogurt and chia seeds. I love to create dishes from anything that may be in my refrigerator. My specialty is making very delicious, healthy organic granola.”
Photos: Rachel Friedman
Family history and my own fascination with people and their motivations prompted me to begin this series about Charlotte’s small business owners. Industry, situation and questions will vary. Have a suggestion for a small business owner or entrepreneur to interview? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Small Business Series.”