Erika Preval - Simply Put

Tag: entrepreneurship

Spread Love: Banner Butter’s Elizabeth & Drew McBath


Banner Butter, a Charm partner, is elevating our thinking about one of the most traditional foods. Butter in its purest form has one ingredient: cream. Yet, it’s the approach that a couple in Decatur, Georgia, is taking in the processing of that cream, that’s making a difference that your palate can’t help but notice and crave.

The history of butter suggests that its creation may have been the accidental result of a Nomad having tied a pouch of milk around his horse’s neck during travel. Elizabeth and Drew McBath, however, have been more intentional with the making of their butters. Launched in 2013, this husband and wife began selling their compound butters at local farmers markets. Although the recipes for the compounds (like Balsamic Fig & Caramelized Onion and Cinnamon, Cardamom & Ginger) belonged to Banner Butter, the butter itself was sourced from a nearby farm. After touring France’s best butters, including those belonging to the Brittany region, the foodies returned home; compelled to purchase their first churn. Elizabeth and Drew began selling their own churned butter in April 2014. Their goal was to “get back to the art of butter” by recapturing the old method of churning in small batches.

What’s the difference between Banner Butter and others? It’s the care that they’ve taken with butter’s key ingredient. The pasteurization process kills both good and bad bacteria. Industrial scale butters have been rushed through a process of using unripened cream, and then later adding “natural” flavor so that it has the butter taste that you’ve come to recognize. Banner Butter is made the old-fashioned way, although that means a longer wait. They add a mixture of bacterial cultures – carefully selected to optimize taste and texture, and allow the cream to ripen for hours. Good cultures then return to the cream, allowing it to taste like the butter our great-grandmothers knew. No added butter flavoring; packaged by hand.


Banner Butter is quite a success, as you can find it in far more places than neighborhood farmers markets (they’re still there, too). These delicious butters are up in the air aboard Delta Airlines international flights, and all around Atlanta at four Whole Foods Market locations, and restaurants like the newly opened hotspot: Atlas at The St. Regis, Watershed and The Cafe at Linton’s in the Garden . They’re also available nationwide via Scoutmob Shoppe – whew!

Elizabeth’s sound advice for sustaining a successful business is to “surround yourself with positive, excited people who believe in what you’re doing, and make it a real team effort.” I’m certainly excited about what these entrepreneurs have done in such a short amount of time, and am most proud to have Banner Butter atop our table and as a partner.


  3731 Northcrest Road | Atlanta, GA 30340 | 404.401.3735

Martha McMillin: Preserving Place

One thing that’s been consistent, since meeting Martha McMillin, is that I’ve always left her Westside Provisions storefront wishing I’d had more time. Our conversations at Preserving Place flow seamlessly through a variety of topics that could range anywhere from our love of entrepreneurship to shared childhood memories of exploring the World Book encyclopedias within our homes. Though she’s been a Charm partner for years, I recently realized that she’d not yet shared what prompted her leap from a 30-year career as a corporate attorney to selling beautiful preserves and artisanal goods. I hardly expected her journey to begin in Scotland, but stories like this make Martha the perfect guest at a cocktail party, as her sister suggests.

Though Martha’s family originated in Scotland, they entered America through Philadelphia and settled along the Appalachian Mountains. She grew up hearing stories about the Revolutionary War from her Aunt Peggy, the family historian. In fact, her Great-Great Grandmother was a spy. After the war, the family was afforded a land grant in South Carolina for their military service. “Land was good for my family. It felt like it was a part of the family,” Martha shared.

The McMillin’s lived off of their land, owning a gristmill, cotton mill and farm with produce and what we’d consider organic, grass fed cattle. Her mother, now 95 years old, was an excellent cook, and the family ate what was in season or had been preserved. “My cousins were getting after me about learning recipes…and my mother kept saying food doesn’t taste as good as it used to.”


Martha started shopping at Morningside Farmer’s Market and found that the produce there tasted like the varieties she grew up with. Not only that, she found herself happier when driving to the market. It was a place that reminded her of her childhood, when the conversations were driven by land, weather and bugs.

This was part of the recipe that prompted the 2013 launch of Preserving Place: a space that honors Martha’s mother and father by preserving their sense of place and honoring the land. She wanted the store to look and feel comfortable and hospitable, with a farm table to gather around and a pretty kitchen that would ensure its students left with the feeling, “Now, I know how to do it!” She’s done just that and more, with popular chef-led cooking classes, and Preserving Place artisanal products being featured by Chef Linton Hopkins on various international Delta Airlines flights.

You can also find Preserving Place goodies at H & F Bread, 3 Parks Wine and Atlanta farmers markets. Classes, like Canning 101 and Southern Put-Ups, are updated regularly online. Be sure to stop by the storefront to sample what’s in season and sit for a spell with Martha!

Play Pretty – Tracey Pearson

Last summer, Tracey Pearson, a mother of two boys, decided to launch a company whose sole purpose was to empower girls. Yes, girls. She felt the best way to offset media’s lack of representation of girls that were healthy and strong, was to provide her sons with a different perspective. So, Tracey founded Prissy Tomboy – her way of bringing girls to the forefront, by sharing their stories and encouraging adventure.

It seems that Tracey noticed how boys easily found their place in sports and activities, and as a result, grew more confident. “But you don’t even see a group of girls riding their bikes in the neighborhood anymore.” In comparison to girl athletes, she saw that other girls didn’t have the same confidence.  Preteen and teenage girls were stuck inside and on social media, or just not seeking adventure and activity.

Always an athlete and girly, Tracey’s father started calling the Atlanta native a prissy tomboy. As CEO, she runs her company with a few other women that are just as passionate about helping girls become future leaders. “When we started this journey, our mission was to get girls out to play and create a product that supports our mission. Sounds simple, right? Once we hit the road, we found it has become so much more.”

To date, Tracey has done more than 30 events; traveling from beaches to mountains in the Prissy Tomboy van: “Miss Priss”. She’s engaged girls from the UK, Hawaii, New York and beyond through the company’s three main initiatives: an Ambassador program, Girls Only Clinics that allow girls to try new sports in a noncompetitive environment, and a fundraising arm for all-girl athletic programs. “We’ve also got a range of athletic wear and beauty products that help fund our programs.”

Currently in the midst of planning for this weekend’s event, the Adventure Challenge, Tracey has assembled an all-women panel of professionals from various fields to discuss topics surrounding leadership development for its teen audience and their parents. “The whole mission is to challenge them and have them really push themselves. There is nothing more inspiring than watching a girl blossom into a confident, healthy, and ambitious young woman.”

I met Tracey during carpool (of all places) last spring, and soon thereafter, invited her to join my campers during Camp Rock Paper Scissors. I look forward to returning the favor by bringing Charm to Tracey’s guests this Saturday at Georgia Tech! Know of a teen girl who’d like to attend? Find out more here.

Erika Preval is a certified etiquette consultant and founder of both simply put, a blog that simplifies the intricacies of manners for adults as well as Charm Etiquette, the premiere source for boutique events in social and leadership skills  for modern youth. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Happy 1st Birthday, Charm Etiquette!


It’s difficult to put into words the excitement of celebrating the 1st birthday of Charm Etiquette – my modern spin on manners! I poured my love of leadership, community, eating local and courtesies that count into this first business of mine. I’m overjoyed at how well received she’s been by the public, and overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from my community partnerships.

Entrepreneurship has been much like my first years as a mother – filled with second-guessing myself and sleepless nights. There, too, is that indescribable love of what I’ve created and great desire to protect it. Like parenthood, you come to realize there isn’t always a “right” answer and you must remain flexible. It didn’t work the way you’d planned? Great! You’ve failed successfully. Recalibrate. Move forward. Someone’s counting on you to make this work! Charm has been every bit my baby, and I’ve loved watching her grow.

Thank you for your part in Charm’s successful launch! It takes a village to raise a child  grow a business. I’m so grateful that you’re here!