We are: pops. community. social justice. a pushcart. heart. soul. local. organic. sustainable. connected. hella good.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Advice for doing your own thang, tha-thang, thang, thang:
Step 1: Make Aland's face, shown here, often.
We are excited to announce that East Bay Edible picked up an article about us! However, this blog isn't really about that, Aland ( pronounced: eh-lahnd) wants to write about that anyway, because Rob is one of his BFF's. (I think they have matching brass knuckles. Aland has the " BF," portion and Rob has the " Forever," portion to officiate this sacred bond. They also have a clubhouse in which, I'm never allowed). Anyway, I'm only mentioning it because we had to answer a list of questions and from there, Rob wrote an article about us. My favorite question didn't make it into the printed version of the article ( someone please play me the world's smallest violin), and so I thought I'd write about it here. The question was, " What advice would you give to young food entrepreneurs who want to follow your path or create their own?" And there are a lot of obvious answers to that question; anyone who has been doing the whole creating for capital for an nth of a second longer than us,could answer waay better than us. Obviously, the creator needs to be passionate about their product. Obviously, the creator should fill a need. Obviously, the creator should research their product, their market, etc. etc. etc, but there are a couple of things I see people in my generation shying away from, and I think they're crucial to a successful business, (I'd love to hear your feedback on what you other young entrepreneurs deem mandatory for start-up) here's what works for us:
-Contrary to popular belief,business is not always about the bottom dollar, but is ALWAYS about the people. We think it's important to keep in mind that the customer may not always be right, but the customer is always someone's mother, father, sister, brother, etc and should be treated with such respect, even if we don't agree with them or can't do exactly what they want us to do.
-Creativity is not always about more, being esoteric or being obscure. Despite what everyone around us may be doing, we're not pressured to over gild the lily. Something extremely well made and simple is more. Bakesale Betty's has a line out the door, and though some people are there for their scrumptious cookies, most people are there for that sinful, oooh-mommmaaa Chicken Sandwich. One of my best friends drove all the way from San Diego on limited time, with 3 of her five kids and spent a good 30 minutes in line for one of them bad boys. Our Hibiscus Pineapple Limeade has four ingredients: Organic Pineapple, Organic Lime, Organic Cane Sugar, and Hibiscus; it sells out quickly. Creativity can be creative without "more," being esoteric, or it being obscure. -Rely on help and critiques from others.There are people who have been doing things way longer then we've been alive and are amazing at what they do. We are not ashamed to ask for their advice or help. Aland hates for me to throw a pop away,but if it's crap, it's crap. Not only do we set high standards for ourselves as a business, but we rely on the honest critiques of others. Not everyone is going to like our product, because they have their own set of individual taste buds. However, no one can refute that our pops are well-made, fresh, and gourmet. As much as we'd like to give ourselves credit for being perfect, honestly it's been our friends, family and guinea pigs who have helped us to present our followers with an excellent product.
- Hang around people who are passionate about what they do, and amazing at it. They don't have to be fellow foodies, maybe they're Dancers or Finance Officers. Hang around people who are the best at what they do, it honestly rubs off on you and redefines standards and makes networking and brainstorming adventurous, fun, and exciting.
- REST. When we're off, we're off, so that when we need to be on, we're on and crackin'. Aland and I refuse to mix business and pleasure. Meaning, if we're on a date, I don't talk to him about the labels that need to be made, but I focus on enjoying our time together---this rule has really kept us sane.
What about you guys? What advice would you give young start-ups?