Leslie Haywood - Grill Charms
Leslie Came Up With a Way to Keep Your Grill Orders in Order
I love to talk to barbecue people, and Leslie Haywood was an absolute delight. I saw her neat Grill Charms online, and we touched base. She has a great outdoor cooking story, and I'll just step back and let her tell you about her invention and about how she came to be a grill accessory girl.
Leslie Haywood's Grill World Story
Hi! I’m Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products LLC, inventor of Grill Charms™. Grill Charms™ are dime-sized solid stainless steel charms that are placed in your food BEFORE grilling. The serrated stem holds the charm securely in place while moving, flipping and grilling as you normally would. Grill Charm™ your food prior to cooking to distinguish spices and flavors, steak temperatures, or to avoid health or allergy issues. When dinner comes off the grill everyone knows which one goes on their plate.
How My Charming Grill Accessory Business Got Started . . .
The whole crazy process of running a grilling gadget empire started one sultry April night in 2006. My husband was grilling some fantastic boneless chicken breasts for my friends and I. The flavor of the evening was Jerk, which we all love. Some people happen to like their chicken “jerkier” than others. IE, more rub equals more spice and heat. Some of us like ours on the milder side. Once all the chicken came off the grill, arranged on a serving plate, brought upstairs and served to our guests, my husband couldn’t tell which chicken was spicy.
Wouldn’t you know it… me being a “mild” person, I bit right into the hottest grilled jerk chicken of all!
My husband said “I wish there was a way to tell which chicken is which,” and immediately I knew we had something. I wasn't really sure what, but it was one of those grill light bulb moments.
Hum . . . this grill food problem could not be that complex. There had to be a solution, and I had an idea.
I Could See the Light - And I Knew I Could Help Other Grill Chefs and Guests Out There
I really did not know where to start or how I was going to do it, so that night (after cleaning up the kitchen) I started scribbling drawings of a prototype on a note pad. I thought that this sketchy idea could be something I could see in every American home with a grill. After all, it really is hard to keep all those special grill orders, and it should not be all that difficult.
No - I Did Not Have a Big Head - But I Did Have a Big Heart
So, who am I? And, what makes me qualified to undertake and succeed at such a monumental task? After all, it is a pretty big deal to put something out there on the market that is brand new.
Well, the short answer is . . . I'm just a regular person like you.
But, nobody told me that I couldn't make my mark! (And even if they did, I wouldn't have listened anyway.)
I worked for corporate America until I had our first daughter and left a fantastic company and wonderful career to be a stay-at-home mom. That gave me a base where I felt like I could accomplish and could make a difference.
Being a Grill Gadget Inventor Had Not Been "In My Cards"
I didn't mean to throw myself head first back into business after I made the decision to put my child first, but I just couldn't help myself. Once you "have a life" (outside the home), you miss that.
I have since tried very hard to balance family (passion #1) and business (passion #2). I hope to make our two daughters proud one day, and even though I am making some sacrifices now (trying not to make too terribly many as they are only babies once), I hope that, in the future, my girls can look at what I have done and know that their opportunities are limited only by their dreams.
I'm always there for my girls, but I have my Grill Charms going on the side. It really is the best of both worlds. I get to be there to see my babies grow up, but I also get to scratch that itch to make some kind of mark on the world at the same time.
Life is Short - And I Do Understand That
Oh yeah... one last part of "who I am."
I am a Survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2006, had a bilateral mastectomy in August of 2006 during the middle of all the start-up stuff involved with launching a grilling accessory company, and now, two reconstructive procedures later, I'm better then ever!
This October, I launched The Pink Collection of Grill Charms™ which I donate 10% of the proceeds to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. When others "give" and when you need help, you learn the importance of giving back.
My mother and I were both diagnosed with breast cancer in our thirties, and with two daughters of my own now, I'm sure you can understand the sense of urgency I feel to find a cure. I am thankful for my recovery and thankful that I can help others now with my Grill Charms.
Loving the Grill Crew Too
Thank you so much Cyndi, for letting me tell my story of how I became “The Grill Charms™ Girl. People hooked on outdoor cooking are are a tight and supportive community. We do share a love of food on the grill, but we also care about the person behind the grill or the person who helps make the grill chef's life easier.
Leslie Haywood -
Inventor of Grill Charms for Keeping Your Grilled Foods in Order
I had the good fortune of meeting Leslie online. The Internet has really been great as far as letting those with a passion hook up and share notes and stories.
Leslie's Grill Charms caught my eye first. What a great idea! I had to follow up and find out more about these markers that help keep the various special grill orders straight. It is hard when you have some folks wanting rare and some well done or some hot and mild. Having a way to mark the meats is a great idea.
It was not just Leslie's idea that was great, she's a great person too. You could not ask for someone more lively and upbeat. It was great fun touching base and talking on the phone. I don't guess I can talk Leslie into moving, but if a house comes open near here, I sure would enjoy having her as a neighbor.