Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Matthew Ginsburg, Co-Founder of CAPSCO, located in Huntsville, AL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At CAPSCO, we are creating products that explore the diverse breeds (and crossbreeds) of chili peppers that exist around the world. We started with a new take on Pepper Flakes by creating four blends that range in flavor and heat level. We then expanded into a line of Spicy Cocktail Infusers--a first-of-its-kind product that gives people an easier and more versatile way to spice up any beverage. We classify our customers into three different groups. We have our Heat Lovers, At-Home Entertainers, and "COVID Cooks." The COVID Cook is less about COVID and more about finding a new passion for cooking.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Matthew, and I am the co-founder of CAPSCO. My dad/business partner and I have always loved spicy things. We have also been growing unique varieties of chili peppers in his garden for years. Ever since learning that the Gros Michel banana went nearly extinct because it was a monoculture, I have had an interest in cooking with more unique varieties of plants than you typically see in the grocery store. One day I was talking to my dad, and the question was posed, "why is there not more innovation with dried pepper flakes?" We then decided to start CAPSCO as a way to educate people about how versatile, flavorful, and diverse the world of chili peppers is. My passion for inspiring people to seek out more unique ingredients keeps me motivated each day. I believe that there is more to food than just flavor--there's a history behind the origin of every plant variety.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been my packaging design and branding. Knowing the importance of packaging in the CPG industry, I knew that I needed to launch a product that would stand out in stores and make people proud to keep our product sitting out on their tables or kitchen counters. I spent a lot of time working with our brand agency to bring CAPSCO to life visually. This consisted of looking into multiple design aesthetics (aka brand archetypes for the brand nerds out there), consumer surveys/feedback, and understanding how brand extensions would come to life.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Making sure I am balancing the time I spend executing and selling while also allocating plenty of time toward strategic and creative work. Giving yourself time to think through (and think of) strategic initiatives, marketing, and innovation are incredibly important. I sometimes feel like I should always be pounding the pavement and selling, but I constantly remind myself that some things take more time to pay off.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get out and talk to people! It is so important to understand your audience and how they perceive both your category and your product. There is nothing more valuable than the insights I have gleaned from talking to people while they engage with our product and provide their uncandid thoughts and ideas.
- Have a big-picture purpose behind what you are doing. Having motivation for something bigger than just creating a great product will help you stay motivated every morning--even on the tough days when you are questioning yourself.
- Figure out healthy ways to embrace and leverage stress. You will inevitably find yourself stressed out at times. If you have good habits in managing the chemicals that stress releases in your body, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed. 10-minute meditations and cold-water exposure in the mornings are two tactics that I have tried to implement on a more frequent basis.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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