Breadtopia owners Eric and Denyce Rusch
Eric pulls a finished loaf from their wood-fired oven in Fairfield, Iowa
The Rusches learn pastry making at the School of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire, UK
MIU Alumnus Turns His Hobby Into Successful Online Business
Eric Rusch, owner of the Internet business Breadtopia, likes to wear many hats. On his website he sells baking supplies; but that’s not all he does. He also makes his own educational videos, writes recipes and articles, maintains the website, conducts product research, and corresponds with customers.
Eric graduated from Maharishi International University in 1982 with a BA in business. He has worked as a salesman for several Fairfield companies and began a few business ventures of his own. But it wasn’t until December 2006, when he launched Breadtopia, that he invented his dream job.
He has always loved baking and his wife Denyce used to own a bakery. So the husband and wife team combined all their skills and expertise and built the business from scratch. He spent a year studying Internet marketing online. She lent her lifetime of graphic design experience to create the look of the site.
More than just an online store, Breadtopia is a community of home-based bakers who like to share recipes, stories, and knowledge. The Rusches attribute their success to the free baking videos and the interaction they maintain with their readers who become their customers. “People like to support a family business,” Eric said. “Being able to say you are from Iowa also establishes an immediate trust.”
Eric finds that Fairfield is ideally suited for an Internet business: the overhead costs are low, and its central location in the US makes shipping efficient. He can run his business with one full-time employee and some part-time seasonal help. The Rusches also appreciate the like-minded community and the wide range of cultural and outdoor activities available in town.
Managing all the diverse aspects of the business can be challenging at times. However, Eric has practiced the Transcendental Meditation® technique for 38 years, which has helped him handle the pressure. “Having the time to meditate is like a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle, and going to the Dome is like going on a vacation,” he said.