Born Debra Jane Sivyer, September 18, 1956 in Oakland California, She was the youngest of five children. As a child, Debbi did not possess any special talents, however she did enjoy baking cookies and soon her friends, and family members were calling her the ‘cookie kid’. She dreamed of having her own ‘cookie stand’ to sell her cookie creations.
In 1969, at the age of 13, Debbi secured her first employment as a ‘ballgirl’ for the Oakland A’s baseball team. She used her wages to buy ingredients to enjoy her favorite past time of baking cookies.
In 1976, she married Randall K. Fields a 1970 Stanford University graduate and founder of Fields Investment Group. In 1977, just shy of her 21st birthday, Debbi realized her childhood dream of opening her own ‘cookie stand’. With the help of her husband, they were able to convince a bank to finance her venture and in August of that year, she opened Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery in Palo Alto California. The first of its kind, the store was not a typical bakery; its main product line was a cookie.
The first day proved to be difficult, as she had not sold any cookies the first few hours. She decided to stand outside the shop and hand out free samples to entice customers into her new store. This determination paid off, and soon people began to accept her new concept.
She later changed the name to Mrs. Fields Cookies to embody the fact that her business baked all types of cookies. This new concept of a shop dedicated to just cookies caught on rather quickly and soon the business was a booming success. In 1989, Debbi used a state of the art computer system to streamline operations and production schedules for her cookies. The same program is in use as a model for business efficiency at Harvard Business School.
Her husband served as chairman of the board from 1978 to 1990, while Debbi went from baking and managing one small store in Palo Alto to franchising more than 900 stores worldwide. In 1993, after watching her dream escalate to a worldwide entity and her name become a household word, she sold her investment in Mrs. Fields Cookies to private investors.
In 1997, Debbi and Randall divorced, and the following year she married Michael Rose (former CEO of Harrah’s, Inc). Today, Debbi Fields Rose resides in Memphis Tennessee, with her husband and children. She and her husband are quite active philanthropists and Debbi currently serves as a consultant to her former enterprise, Mrs. Fields Cookies.
In addition Debbi is also a board member of Outback Steakhouse, WKNO (a PBS station) and the Orpheum theater. Her accomplishments aside from baking also include authoring, her first book was an autobiography written in 1987 and published by Simon & Schuster, ‘One Smart Cookie: How a Housewife’s Chocolate Chip Recipe Turned into a Multimillion-Dollar Business: The Story of Mrs. Fields Cookies’. She also published several cookbooks, the most notable one ‘Mrs. Fields Cookie Book: 100 Recipes from the Kitchen of Debbi Fields’ (Time-Life Books, October 1992), reached the New York Times best seller list (a first for a cookbook) and has sold nearly 2 million copies. She hosted a television program on public TV, ‘Great American Desserts’, and shortly thereafter published another book, Debbi Fields Great American Desserts, (Simon and Schuster). She has continued writing and has appeared as a motivational speaker across the country, telling how she took her little ‘cookie stand’ dream and turned it into a $500 million dollar business.
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