Cheese Interview

Interview with Specialty Cheese, Inc.
Don Lee
Marylhurst University
Instructor: Alain Gracianette

Eileen Eichten-Carlson, owner and manager of Specialty Cheese, Inc. was gracious enough to conduct a live telephone interview from her barn in Center City, MN.   I came across Eileen’s name from a close friend Ruth Stevens from Romeo, MI.   Eileen and Ruth are first cousins and their mothers are sisters. I chose Eileen based on their knowledge and success of their dairy and cheese business.   Specialty Cheese, Inc. has been in business since 1976 and it was Eileen’s parents who started the business on a small farm.   Eileen has been working on the farm her whole life.   Even though Eileen and I had a lovely conversation, I could almost see her sitting on a bale of hay talking to me about her business and being very passionate about it.   The purpose of the interview was to help me with my International Marketing class project in determining my target audience and first product offering.   Eileen provided me with priceless information I could not have found conducting research. I have now determined I am going to market a high-end high-quality cheese of Dutch Gouda to the Japanese market.
The Interview
After completing the first two sections (cultural and economic) of my international marketing plan and talking to Eileen, she offered insight that only her experience could provide.   I first introduced myself and how I acquired her business contact information as the subject of my interview assignment.   We talked for a brief period about her family and I had mentioned that I was planning to export cheese to Japan.   She said that her younger sister spent several years in Japan (more on that later) and found it a very interesting and culture rich country.   She began the interview by giving me a brief history of the company business.   Her father started the business raising dairy cows for cheese manufacturing and wanted to differentiate their business from all...