40 Under 40: How they zoomed

A new book reveals the secrets, strategies, and insights of five years of Fortune's 40 Under 40.

Katrina Markoff

ZOO07 katrina markoff 1

Vosges Haut-Chocolat

In 1998, Markoff moved to Chicago, where she set up a kitchen in her Logan Square apartment. That first year she worked zealously making chocolates and in 1999 successfully courted Neiman Marcus. Carrying a box of her Naga truffles, she walked into the epicurean department of Neiman's big Chicago branch and asked for the manager. She showed him her chocolates and said she'd like to sell them there; he thanked her, took them, and threw them on a table in the break room. The next day he called and said he had to order more immediately; the staff had eaten all of them in minutes and was demanding more. He ordered some for the store to sell too.

From there she landed Whole Foods (WFM, Fortune 500). It all happened so quickly that she was still making the chocolates by hand. "I was selling to Neiman Marcus out of my house," she says. "I touched every single truffle."

Zoom: Available now wherever books are sold

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated September 19 2013 09:33 AM ET
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