- Tell us something about yourself, your background
I am an immigrant from the beautiful island of Barbados who relocated to New Jersey after high school to live with my mother. I pursued a Bachelor of Science with concentration in Accounting and began working as an accountant in several industries: Investment, Entertainment, Health Care and Media Press Release. Subsequently, during a transitional period in corporate, I decided to pursue a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice; a decision I made with the intent to become more knowledgeable in fraud. In 2018, a dissolution of my corporate employer led to a transitional period where an idea ignited my passion of entrepreneurship.
- Tell us about the products you developed with a brief explanation:
Kickerfeast fruit and vegetable-based pancake & waffle mixes are unique as they are made with 100% fruit or 100% vegetable powder. Launched in four flavors; carrot, blueberry, beet and pumpkin, each mix when blended with water highlights the natural colors and flavors of the fruit or vegetable it represents. Our fruit and vegetable-based pancake & waffle mixes were created to assist parents in preparing healthier options for their kids disguised with natural vibrant colors and flavors.
- How/Why did you start developing products. What set you off?
Kickerfeast Pancake & Waffle Mix was an accidental venture. My business idea was generated in 2018 when I asked my then nine-year-old son to drink some freshly made carrot juice — a challenge I often encountered as a parent, while preparing healthy meals for my son. My son declined but requested pancakes for breakfast. A lightbulb moment initiated. So, I blended some of the carrot juice with the pancake mix and gave my son the carrot pancakes which he gobbled up and politely asked for more. At that moment, I realized that a niche exists in the marketplace which can be bridged by utilizing the natural flavors of fruits and vegetables within a comfort food.
- How did you get from idea to finished product?
After I realized that an opportunity exists in the market for a healthier option of pancake & waffle mixes, I decided to pursue the venture. I took my idea to a mentor at the Small Business Development Center who instructed me that my first objective was to create my own pancake & waffle mix. It was at this moment that I made the decision to self-finance my venture since inquiries into financing proved impossible. At this time, I decided to obtain a domain name and registered my business with the state & the IRS. I also enrolled in culinary school at night, a desire I always wanted to pursue. While my initial mix was carrot juice, I was stumped by understanding how to mass produce. I posed my question to one of my culinary chefs who informed me to seek fruit and vegetable powder for production.
Following his guidance, I first researched my competitors’ products to understand the ingredients they use. Through trial and error, I created my own pancake mix from a basic homemade recipe. Occasionally, I would send samples of my pancake & waffle mixes to family and friends to critique, in addition with a questionnaire. I was also fortunate to let my culinary classmates sample the mixes. When the process became a green light, I sent samples of the product to a Food testing lab to create nutritional labels and conduct shelf-life testing for a year. FDA guideline must be followed strategically. Subsequently, I began to search for a graphic designer, a co-packer and registered with GS1 US to purchased barcodes (UPC) for each product. Creating a logo, a website and social media platforms for the anticipated new product became a factor. Approximately two years later, after intense research, trial and error, self-financed and enrollment into culinary school, Kickerfeast was launched on Shopify.
- Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e., Books, websites, software etc.
- Small Business Develop Center (SBDC), Score and the Small Business Administration (SBA) (seminars/webinars/websites)
- Books – Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
- The Successful Business Plan by Rhonda Abrams
- Foundations of Cost Control by Daniel Traster
- Where are you with your products?
Kickerfeast Pancake & Waffle Mix was launched last year, a delay enhanced by the unforeseeable pandemic.
Kickerfeast Gourmet Fruit and Vegetable-based Pancake & Waffle Mixes are available online
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