I met the man of my dreams while studying at Cal Poly in the early 2000s. He was an animal science major and I was majoring in social sciences. We were studying on different sides of the campus, but we found ways to connect with each other between classes. We couldn’t have known at that time that the relationship we were building would lead to a happy marriage, two beautiful daughters, and a prosperous gourmet marshmallow company.
That’s right…I said gourmet marshmallow company.
Brian graduated ahead of me and took a job managing cattle at Cal Poly’s own Swanton Pacific Ranch, the most beautiful cattle and forestry land we had ever seen. We married just after college and I moved to the ranch with him to begin our life together. Within a few years, his college education landed him a job with a respected animal health company. We moved to the Seattle area where he became a territory manager. Shortly after our move, I became pregnant and our life changed forever.
When our first daughter, Madyson, was four years old, she asked us, “How do you make a marshmallow?” We had no idea, but decided we should learn together, and began whipping up marshmallow recipes in the kitchen! Our marshmallows were delicious and we began sharing them with friends. Soon, my daughter and I were selling our confections at local craft fairs and actually earning a few dollars. We decided to make it official. We rented a commercial kitchen, got the proper licensing and started our own website, and Madyson’s Marshmallows was born.
It’s been six years since that little girl asked her mom and dad how to make a marshmallow. Over the six years, we’ve met challenges, as any small business would. In large part due to our Cal Poly education, we’ve been able to navigate these challenges and make sound decisions for our family and for our family business. We’ve also met with many successes! While we started selling our marshmallows to local stores and mom and pop shops, we now sell our “homemade” confections to national retailers like Starbucks, Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table. We’ve built a not-so-small family business around a child’s curiosity about one of our favorite sweets.
We’re proud of our education at Cal Poly and our time at Swanton Pacific Ranch, because these experiences laid the foundation for our future. One day, we hope our daughters will also decide to call Cal Poly home.
Breeze Wetzel, founder and CEO of Madyson’s Marshmallows, has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences with a concentration in human resources from Cal Poly. She has extensive experience working in the fields of human resources, supply chain and executive business operations. She and her family now reside in a beautiful valley outside of Park City, Utah.