As a Hee Haw Honey on one of the longest-running comedy/music series, Mackenzie Colt shares snapshots of her life including how as a teenage mom she found her way to Music City, landed on Hee Haw, and was influenced by the program and music icons including Buck Owens. Mackenzie later launched what today is now the oldest chocolate business in Nashville. In this podcast she shares how as a young female entrepreneur and business owner she leveraged everything to create Colt’s Chocolates.
Q: What brought you to Nashville?
A: Well, the music of course. I’m a singer and a songwriter, and I was on the Hee Haw show for many years as one of the girls that popped up out of the cornfield and told jokes. As the only girl on the show who was a songwriter as well as a singer (and the only girl who was a musician), they would ask me to sing one of my original songs on the show.
So, it was kind of cool. Every year the producer Sam Lovullo would bring me into his office and say, okay, sit down, play for me what you’ve written lately. And then he would select a song from those, and I would sing it on the show. And it was really, really inspiring for me to continue the songwriting. Hee Haw was taped here in Nashville. So, I came to love this town and I thought, why don’t I move there and pursue the songwriting and the country music industry. So that’s what brought me here, doing the Hee Haw show.
She offered a glimpse of being a cast member on the program, doing the well-known Hee Haw bloopers and comedy routines, as well as working with industry legends and then newcomers who are now legendary superstars.
Q: What made you leave Hee Haw? Tell us about your second chapter?
A: I would bring baked goods to the set, I would always hear, oh my gosh, you should sell this. You should sell this. When we would come to Nashville to do Hee Haw they would find me a kitchen in someone’s home so I could make this and give it out the next day on the set. I had so much encouragement from everyone, and I thought I’m really… I’m going to start my own company and do this. And that’s what I did in 1984.
In our interview, Mackenzie gives us the skinny on her best-selling chocolates revealing which one is the favorite of Dolly Parton. She also shares poignant moments that inspired her to be a successful entrepreneur and how her role as a performer has paid dividends in her chocolate business.
Q: You’re a proven female entrepreneur. What’s happening with the business now?
A: Someone told me once you start a business to sell it, and that makes sense because we don’t live forever. And I’ve always had people wanting to buy my company through the years and I would just say, you know what? I’m not ready. I’m still having too much fun… She goes on to explain how she recently transitioned her chocolate business including the highs and lows of that effort.
Q: What words of wisdom do you have for others launching a business?
A: You have to enjoy the problems too… all the parts of it. I remember thinking I love solving problems. Okay, this problem today, we’re going to fix this. It’s going to be hard, but we’re going to get it handled. We’re going to get it done and we’re going to move on. When that happens, it’s the best feeling in the world. Solving the problems is part of the joy. And if you can combine all those things, I think that’s what allows you to keep going and growing.
In this podcast Mackenzie Colt touches on being a Hee Haw Honey; the role Wally Amos and his cookies played in her life; and how Minnie Pearl’s test kitchen helped propel her entrepreneurial spirit. Give this a listen to learn more about why this entrepreneur had to end her education at the 10th grade, and how her passion for reading and learning new things as well as using her performance skills in new ways, enabled her to successfully launch a very sweet and successful endeavor.