This is a post by Denise D. Resnik, Matt’s Mom, SARRC Co-Founder, Autism Speaks Housing Committee Member, Founder of First Place & Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) Leadership Council Member. Denise's son Matt has created SMILE Biscotti, a successful home bakery based in Arizona as a way to start supporting himself and saving for his own place to live! You can read more about Matt's story on our site here.
Exactly one year ago and just following our son's high school graduation, we developed the concept for SMILE Biscotti (Supporting Matt's Independent Living Enterprise). For four months, Matt produced and refined thousands of biscotti samples for family, friends, my agency clients and prospective customers. Since officially launching his company last October, he has sold more than 40,000 individual pieces of biscotti and produced even more smiles as a result.
While Matt is well established in the biscotti-making business, he is also in the business of making people happy. Happy they are supporting an individual significantly impacted by autism who is working hard to help himself. Happy they are spreading the word about the abilities of individuals on the spectrum. Happy they are socially conscious and able to share a quality product with their families, friends, and business and professional colleagues.
Matt's biscotti have exceeded the expectations of his customers. As Julia Patrick, publisher of Frontdoors magazine notes, Matt's biscotti are "not the teeth-breaking, jaw-cracking, you don’t know what decade it was baked in biscotti. This is melt in your mouth, cry for your Italian mamma, even though she is Irish biscotti. This is also a confectious treat that does more than work its namesake’s magic. SMILE Biscotti does make me happy."
Consumers of SMILE Biscotti aren't just redefining and recalculating their taste buds, they are redefining their expectations about the potential and opportunities for adults living with autism. Thanks to training from SARRC's Rising Entrepreneurs program, Matt is changing minds and opening doors one smile at a time.
One day soon, we hope Matt will be in a position to employ other individuals with autism so they too will benefit from his SMILE's.