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30 Under 30 Award -. Top Young Entrepreneur Award -. AgriMissouri Member of the Year -. Young Alumni Award

The Basket Whiz Report
The Gift Professional's Guide to Building Long-Lasting Business
Issue Date: Winter 2013
Article Excerpts:

Basket Whiz: How have you been doing business in the recession? Did it cause you to tighten your spending or lay off employees?
MOI: What may have been the craziest part about starting this business is our timing. ... Our first eight to ten months was really about building a brand and a business model; choosing colors, designing logos, building a web-site, and figuring out production, packaging and logistics. We actually feel we could not have started our business at a better time because we did so with frugal minds which ensured focus on quality of product and presentation. ...
...We spent money only when we needed to; incorporating the business, web-site building, packaging, priority certifications, etc. ... We also focused on a core product, the gourmet pretzel with a few flavors. We did not try to be everything to everyone and over extend our budget, inventory, or talent.
...Building a strong foundation and working out kinks during a low economic time point meant as the economy picked up, we were prepared and ready when the bigger opportunities presented themselves. We are happy to say we have never had to cut jobs and as of the numbers through 2011 have grown 1,500% since inception in 2007.
...From the time Mom and I shook hands to today; there has not been a day without something new to experience, to learn, to overcome, or to revel in.

Basket Whiz: When did you decide to branch out?
MOI: Mom and I both knew from the beginning that to keep a strong, steady business with something unique like gourmet pretzels, we needed to branch out. It was/is important not to put all our eggs in one basket, or in our case, one industry. Because we see so many uses and opportunities for our product, there has always be a highly diverse clientele.

Webster University Alumni Association - Young Alumni Award 2012
"This award recognizes an alum who promotes the values and elevates the profile of Webster University through leadership in his/her profession, contributions to society through public service, and ongoing support of the University. This person must be an alumna/us of Webster University who received his/her undergraduate degree within the last 10 years of being nominated and is 35 years of age or younger."
Alumni Celebration Gala Program Excerpts:

Two words can describe why Taran Hensley-Hercules is the 2012 recipient of the Young Alumni Award: gourmet pretzels. Taran, a 2003 media communications graduate with a minor in website development, is a marketing professional, an entrepreneur and president of Mom’s Originals, a St. Louis-based business specializing in gourmet pretzels, treats and more. ...

Taran has received national attention ever since Mom’s Originals' treats were such a hit in the gift bags for the Sports Emmy Awards in Spring 2010. Mom’s Originals was then invited to include its product in the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards gift bags. Taran and her mom appeared on the red carpet in Las Vegas in June 2010 to hand out treats to the stars.

Internet domain registrar and web hosting company has since highlighted Taran and as a success story for “Quick Shopping Cart” on their website.

And the recognition and awards keep coming: in January of this year, Taran received the Missouri’s AgriMissouri Member of the Year Award for her business’ outstanding marketing, branding, commitment to community and overall excellence as a role model for Missouri-based businesses.

Other notable achievements include:
• Top Young Entrepreneur Award – St. Louis Small Business Monthly
• 30 Under 30 Award – St. Louis Business Journal
• Board of Directors - St. Louis Area Hotel Association
• Board of Directors - Webster University Alumni Association

What is next for this young alumna/entrepreneur? Two words can describe it: great success!
Featured in article along side
Article Date: 07-26-12

Article Excerpts:... Taran Hercules, President of Mom's Originals, an online gourmet pretzel store based in St. Louis, Mo., says given her positive experience with GoDaddy so far, she would be interested in using additional tools and resources as they become available.

Mom's Originals, launched in 2008, started with GoDaddy's web hosting and quick shopping cart features. Hercules says she's added seeral services like email since then.

"Just knowing that it's a GoDaddy product, I'm confident in the stability of the program and the fact that I can trust that it will be there when I need it. They're always focused on the needs of small businesses and filling in the gaps where they see a gap," she says. ...
gifts magazine
Gourmet Highlight
Issue Date: May 2012

Just the right mix!

Sweet indulgences combining the right combination of sweet and salty flavors will please the palate ... and have customers coming back for more.

Town & Style Magazine
Mother's Day Edition
Issue Date: May 2012
Article Excerpts:
Taran Hensley had more than a few doubters when she announced she and her mother were going into business together. “I heard ‘You’re going to sell pretzels?’ so often,” she says, laughing. “Friends and family were hesitant at first. I was 25 when we started Mom’s Originals. For me to be the salesperson and have our business be taken seriously was a big challenge.” ...

“You don’t realize what your kids know after college,” Jody admits. “I’m constantly blown away by how smart she is. That’s been one of the biggest surprises and pleasures for me.” ...

“We have a product that is so different, and it’s a food item, too,” she says. “In times like this, people want something a little indulgent. Maybe they can’t go out and spend alot on a nice dinner, but they can grab a treat on the way to soccer practice.” Taran also began to pursue corporate clients, landing St. Louis whoppers like the Cardinals and the Fox Theatre. Today, the Mom’s Originals client list includes casinos in Las Vegas and other nationally known event venues. ... “We have a no-fear attitude. Big company executives are people, too; they just have a cooler job title than most.” ...

The company is also a certified Women Owned Business. “A lot of larger companies have requirements to meet for using minority-owned vendors,” Taran says. “Having that certification fills their need. Plus, the pretzels are delicious, so who wouldn’t want them?” For Jody, the best part of this business—aside from professional athletes, politicians and celebrities enjoying her pretzels—is Taran. “I’m the luckiest mom in the world to work every day with my daughter, and I have such a supportive husband, too,” she says. “I’m one of the luckiest people I know.”

Specialty Food Magazine
Salty-Sweet Treats Feature
Issue Date: May/June 2012

Mom's Originals in St. Louis has set itself apart from the many chocolate-dipped pretzel rods available.
The company's extra layer of protection - a hand-wrapping of soft caramel - is key.
"Hand-wrapping the caramel keeps it soft and chewy and also preserves the integrity of the pretzel,
making breakage during shipments obsolete,"
says Taran Hensley, who co-owns the company with her mother, Jody.

Safe Connections
Headline Speaker
Together! Engaging Women/Empowering Girls
Event Date: 04-28-12

President and Co-Owner of Mom's Originals Gourmet Pretzels, featured at the Emmy Awards and the 2011 World Series Gala.

Taran is one of the region's youngest business owners to start and grow a business to the size she has so quickly.
gateway to food adventure
Video Date: 04-23-12
Meet the "Mom" Behind Mom's Originals

Learn how Jody Hensley and her daughter Taran teamed up to start their gourmet treat company.
Small Business Ambassadors and Guest Speakers
Sponsoring: Get Radical Women's Conference
Washington, DC - March, 2012
(front of event hand-out)


AgriMissouri Morsels
Video Date: 03-12


Cuisine Noir Magazine
Article Date: 02-12

Must Haves

Life is too short and too delicious not to try something new at least once a month. We stopped by the Fancy Food Show last month and was once again amazed by the variety of products represented by companies from around the world. Although there are more products that we will recommend throughout the year, below you will find our top 10 picks from the show that really caught our eye and fancied our taste buds.

Mom's Originals

Ah, who can resist a salty pretzel stick wrapped in chocolate and nuts? Not us.
They were really love at first sight and bite. These gourmet pretzel rods have a layer of caramel that is mixed with dark and milk chocolate and rolled in pecans or walnuts. The fact that they come individually wrapped allows for a little bit of indulgence control but best of all they are perfect for an on-the-go snack.

Event Date: 01-12
gateway to food adventure
Article Date: 01-16-12

Super Bowl Food that Scores

The game might disappoint, but the food shouldn't.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in it for the love of football or the crazy commercials—the Super Bowl is a great excuse to throw a party. Creating a spread that goes beyond the typical fare will be appreciated by all of your guests. So whether you’re glued to the TV or just hanging out, here are some great ideas to make food the main event.

Mom's Mix - Snack Attack

Drop a bowl of Mom’s Mix on the coffee table and watch it disappear.
A hearty mix of pretzels, peanuts, rice and corn cereals, and candy-coated chocolates all drizzled in white chocolate, this mix is an irresistible balance of salty and sweet.

Gourmet News
Article Date: 01-12

Specialty Food Magazine:
Winter Fancy Food Show
and Show Issue
Article Date: 01-12

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THE TOP... 2009... 2010... 2011... 2012... Emmy® Awards... MTV® Awards
30 Under 30 Award -. Top Young Entrepreneur Award -. AgriMissouri Member of the Year -. Young Alumni Award
Article Date: 12-11

Channel 2 News: Tim Ezell
On Air: 12-20-11

Mom's Originals is a St. Louis, women-owned company. Jody Hensley always made wonderful treats and pretzel rods. But Jody wanted to do something more and decided to open a business with her daughter Taran Hensley, who is wonderful in her own right...


ECHO Magazine
2011 Sway Holiday Gift Guide

Article Date: 11-11

"Not all of us are creative in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean we can't give the gift of decadent deliciousness!"

St. Louis Business Journal:
Home & Away
weekly insert
Article Date: 10-11

"Those who are willing to fail are those who will ultimately succeed."
- Taran Hensley

"I believe one of the most challenging assignments is to write about one’s self. How can I sum up my quirky personality, competitive nature, devotions, imaginative thinking, thirst for success, love of life, and constant craving for adventure? Maybe I just did."

Biggest career accomplishment:
My biggest career accomplishment has to be Mom’s Originals in its totality. We literally rejoice with each new learned process, account, employee, and fan message. To pin-point one event or milestone as “the biggest” would immediately be an outdated statement. From the time Mom and I shook hands to today; there has not been a day without something new to experience, to learn, to overcome, or to revel in.

Who do you aspire to be:
While I only aspire to be “the best me I can be”, if I had to choose one other person it would most certainly be my Mom. Her pleasant nature, joyful attitude, love and kindness are always refreshing. Not only is she sugar, spice, and everything nice, she is also smart, secure, and independent. These simple yet powerful traits are ones that I hope people will also see in me.

Ultimate professional goal:
To bring the company my Mother and I started from ground floor to global recognition.

Ultimate personal goal:
Marrying my Mr. Right next year and maintaining ideal balance between work and play.

Most rewarding volunteer experience:
My first experience has to be my most memorable. When I was young my parents and I added magnets to little figurines, put them in little stockings, and handed them out to the workers at The Disabled & Handicapped Workshop near our home in California. To see the appreciation on their faces taught me firsthand at a young age the joys of giving.

Something people may not know about you:
I was born in Montana; was at the starting line of the Iditarod when I lived in Alaska; began my modeling career when I lived in California; my only overnight hospital stay was when I studied abroad in Thailand; I walked the Great Wall of China at age 25; finally, I have not owned a microwave in four years.

Childhood hero:
My Hero has always been my Dad. In fact we used to call him Mr. Wizard because he always had answers to my questions. Where they always right? I can’t be sure, but I hung on every word, including the quote I have always lived by, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

St. Louis Small Business Monthly

St. Louis Small Business Monthly
Article Date: 07-11

Marketing: Pretzel Logic

Q: How do you market a company with a great product, but a small budget?
A: Non-traditional marketing and social media.

When your product is a delicious blend of sweet chocolate, soft caramel and a salty pretzel, word of mouth marketing seems an obvious way to grow your business. That’s exactly what Taran Hensley decided when she and her mother, Jody, founded “Mom’s Originals, Inc.”

We chatted with Taran about what she’s accomplished with a limited budget and limitless creativity. Here are some highlights: ... Read More

The sweetness doesn't stop with the pretzels. As a key tactic in her nontraditional marketing plan, Taran Hensley, President of Mom's Originals, Inc., works to make a positive impact in the community. She knows that her customers want to do business with companies that care.

"In youth and beauty, wisdom is but rare!" - Homer (Greek poet)

The Top Young Entrepreneurs in this section exemplify a kind of brash and raw entrepreneurship not always found. Bucking trends by unapologetically following their passion and showing a penchant for business that is usually reserved for their elder colleagues.

Taran Hensley lives her life by something her dad has always said to her: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

So when Hensley was downsized from her corporate job as a marketing specialist, she kept her father’s advice in mind. She saw an opportunity in helping her mom, Jody, turn her hobby of making gourmet pretzels into a business. “We shook hands, and I took the initiative to take on the sales and marketing since my mom had the product,” says Hensley.

After spending most of the first year branding and building out the Mom’s Originals production facility, Hensley continued to expand the business. “Of course we have our online sales, but we also do a lot of corporate gifting. We work with the food service industry as well as wholesalers and retailers,” she says. “Our national exposure continues to grow throughout all of these, and we are always welcoming new additions, such as our growth in the gift basket industry.”

Hensley has also grown her team, which she refers to as the MOI family, to 12 full- and part-time employees. “The smartest thing we have done as a business is bringing in the right people, for the right job, at the right time,” she says.

Mom's Originals at the
and DAYS OF OUR LIVES Hollywood Walk Gala
click the photo of E!'s Catt Sadler to view Press

St. Louis Bride Magazine

Saint Louis Bride Magazine
Article Date: Spring/Summer 2011

St. Louis Bride Magazine

The CoMo Collective

The CoMo Collective: Foodie Find
Article Date: 05-13-11

Mom's Originals Gourmet Pretzel Petites

Last month I attended the Drink Local Wine conference featuring Missouri Wines. There were lovely gift bags for the attendees filled with wine accessories and a few delicious snacks. One that immediately caught my attention were the chocolate dipped pretzels from the St. Louis company Mom’s Originals.

They take snacking to a new level by elevating pretzels to dessert status. I was a little leery because I am not always a huge fan of nuts. But soon I was lost in the caramel/chocolate/salty goodness. There’s something about that sweet/salty combination that gets me every time. And I even loved the pecans.

...They make the perfect gift, party favor, or just snack to have around the house...(read more)

By the way, I wasn’t compensated in any way for this post. I just really dig their pretzels.

BasketWhiz National Publication
Article Date: Spring 2011

BasketWhiz Feature

Sourcing unique and quality products to make up gift baskets can be a time consuming task. To make this a whole lot easier however there is Here you are going to find delicious treats that will add the final touches to any gift basket you want, that speaks of only the best in quality, taste and looks.

Although you will find several delectables here to choose from, you will most certainly not want to pass up the best of the best which is the gourmet pretzels. These are ultra fresh pretzels that are coated with an exquisite layer of caramel, then hand dipped in the finest chocolate, and rolled in pecans or walnuts, or white chocolate is generously drizzled over them. Finally they are each carefully wrapped for preservation and presentation.

You may want to pick up a few extra when stocking up your gift basket inventory, as no doubt you will be tempted several times over just to try them out.

ALIVE Magazine

ALIVE Magazine: ALIVE Blogs
Five Gift Ideas For St. Louis Moms
Article Date: 05-11

We’ve got some great products and services offered by some moms who happen to live in and around the ‘Lou! Here are some of my favorite picks.

#3 "Sweets"

Mom’s Originals — Because many a mom has a sweet tooth, this gift idea is bound to appeal. Mother-daughter duo, Jody and Taran Hensley are the creators of the biz specializing in gourmet pretzels. In fact, the treats were enjoyed by those at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. You can pick up some sweet and salty goodness at many places throughout the Arch City but here’s a list in case you’re wondering...
FEAST Magazine

Article Date: 04-11

FEAST Magazine Feature

The Omni Majestic is Sweetening Your Stay

February, 2011

The Omni Majestic Hotel, a 91-room, luxury boutique property located in the heart of downtown St. Louis has joined forces with Mom’s Originals Inc. in an agreement to offer a localized culinary experience to its guests.

In a relentless effort to provide the finest in local flavor, guests of the Omni Majestic will receive the opportunity to experience the finest in luxury hotel accommodations as well as the refreshingly unique choice in Mom’s Gourmet Pretzels.

“We are confident that both leisure and business travelers are going to experience a true St. Louis treat in this partnership.” Said Martin Pittman, General Manager of the Omni Majestic Hotel. “The history of the Majestic coupled with the national notoriety of Mom’s Originals solidifies each brand’s commitment to providing the ultimate customer experience.”

“Impress from first glance, to last bite!” Taran Hensley, President of Mom’s Originals, Inc. tags in each of her signatures. “What a great fit for our ideal; walking through the front doors of the Omni Majestic will certainly impress at first glance, followed by the renowned hospitality of the entire Omni staff. We believe this partnership is the perfect marriage of customer care and sensory indulgences.”
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THE TOP... 2009... 2010... 2011... 2012... Emmy® Awards... MTV® Awards
30 Under 30 Award -. Top Young Entrepreneur Award -. AgriMissouri Member of the Year -. Young Alumni Award
Mom's Originals at the

Click the Emmy® to view our photos and press.

Emmy® Award

Sauce Magazine

Sauce Magazine: Holiday Guide
Article Date: 11-01-10

What to get the locaores on your list? They've already stocked their larders with Missouri wine, locally made roasted coffee and plenty of jam from the farmer's market. Tickle their little local hearts with any one of these Missouri-made products.

#3 : Mom's Originals Gourmet Pretzels

These cute caramel and chocolate covered pretzels, made by a local mother-daughter team, are the perfect salty-sweet stocking stuffer...
Sauce Magazine

St. Louis Small Business Monthly

St. Louis Small Business Monthly
Article Date: 07-10

Case Study: Tweeting Toward Success

In 2007, Taran Hensley and her mom, Jody, became business partners. Having come to a crossroads in her career as a marketing specialist in the corporate world, Taran decided to take her skill set and apply it to the launch of Mom’s Originals, a gourmet pretzel company with the product made, of course, by Taran’s mom.

Hensley began marketing Mom’s Originals. She started by creating a website, ... Read More
Article Date: 06-18-10

Quick Shopping Cart Success Story: specializes in gourmet pretzel treats. This women-owned business is based out of St. Louis, Mo. and uses Quick Shopping Cart® to market and sell their pretzels online.

Taran Hensley, president of Mom's Originals™, shared some tools of their online success. ... Read More

Webster University

Webster University | School of Communications
Alumni News

Article Date: 06-15-10

Mother/Daughter Duo Making a Name for Themselves

Webster University alumna Taran Hensley will grace the red carpet later this month at the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards in Las Vegas, Nev. — and it’s a gourmet pretzel that got her there.

Hensley (BA, Media Communications, 2003) is a marketing professional, an entrepreneur and president of Mom’s Originals, a local business specializing in gourmet pretzels, treats and more.

Hensley and her mother Jody will travel to the ceremony to distribute their treats to stars traversing the red carpet.
... Read More | Breaking Schmooze
Article Date: 06-15-10

“Mom” and Taran Hensley of Mom’s Originals to hand out gourmet pretzels at the daytime Emmys

A HENSLEY HIGH: The local mother daughter team of Jody and Taran Hensley thought they’d scored big when they were asked to include their Mom’s Originals gourmet pretzels in gift bags that will be given out at this year’s Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards show.

And then they were invited to hit the red carpet and help hand out their amazing caramel-chocolate-pecan-walnut-dipped-wrapped-and-rolled pretzels at the 37th annual awards ceremony in Las Vegas on June 27.

Are the ladies excited? You betcha! “Ecstatic,” in their own words. ... Read More

St. Louis Business Journal

St. Louis Business Journal
Article Date: 04-30-10

Mom’s Originals' Gifted at the
31st Annual Sports Emmy® Awards

St. Louis’ own Mom’s Originals Gourmet Pretzels were among the goodies in the gift bags handed out April 26 at the 31st annual Sports Emmy Awards at Lincoln Center in New York. Jody Hensley and daughter Taran Hensley started the company in 2008 at the urging of friends and family, who loved mom’s pretzels, which are hand-wrapped in soft caramel and coated in chocolates and nuts. Yumm.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat

St. Louis Globe-Democrat
Article Dates: 04-09-10

DIGITAL CLARITY: Building successful Twitter profiles

Social media is all about engagement, and Twitter is no exception. ...
Just like Facebook fan pages, you should consider what your Twitter profile offers visitors. What is the value to your followers and customers? Why should they care? What can you do for them?

Mom’s Originals is known for gourmet pretzels, treats, and other confections.

After pouring through different small business Twitter profiles, Mom’s Originals is, hands down, one of my favorites. With more than 2,000 followers, this Twitter profile is doing something right. While at first glance, I thought the background could be better optimized and they should be listed more with that many followers, I continued reviewing the profile. What I found was engagement. Not only does Mom’s Originals post content about products, this business has taken the time out to engage with followers.

During my review, I noticed the Twitter stream (series of posts from Mom’s Originals) contained retweets, general statements, positive comments to other Twitter users, questions being asked, and product information.
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THE TOP... 2009... 2010... 2011... 2012... Emmy® Awards... MTV® Awards
30 Under 30 Award -. Top Young Entrepreneur Award -. AgriMissouri Member of the Year -. Young Alumni Award

Show Me St. Louis
Show Me St. Louis
Air Dates: 06-16-09, 08-10-09, 05-15-10, 01-01-11, 02-05-11

(Video will open in a new window)

St. Louis Business Journal

St. Louis Business Journal
Article Date: 04-17-09

Mom’s Originals' Sweet -and Salty- Success

Sauce Magazine

Sauce Magazine: The Daily Sauce
Article Date: 07-09-09

Mom’s Pretzels

While most of us cringe at the thought of being in business with our mothers (“You’re wearing that to the board meeting?”), Taran Hensley and her mom Jody went into a business where twisted is acceptable. For 10 years, Jody made all sorts of delicious treats, especially cakes and gourmet pretzel rods; Taran was always nearby, lending a hand. Mom baked and Taran got a media degree. It was only a matter of time before mom’s handiwork was taken to a new level: Mom’s Original’s, Inc. Those pretzel rods are the company’s bread 'n' butter: a thick pretzel hand-wrapped with caramel and dipped in chocolate before being rolled in chopped nuts or simply drizzled with white chocolate. While the mom-and-daughter company caters to online customers, you can pick up Mom’s sweet ’n’ salty treats around town.

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THE TOP... 2009... 2010... 2011... 2012... Emmy® Awards... MTV® Awards
30 Under 30 Award -. Top Young Entrepreneur Award -. AgriMissouri Member of the Year -. Young Alumni Award

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