Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with DeAnne Dodd, Co-Founder of Crackerology, located in Kansas City, MO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Crackerology™ was founded in July of 2021 by Janine Akers, Shelley Reed, and me. Located in North Kansas City, Missouri, Crackerology is a specialty appetizer company that focuses on combining convenience with delicious flavors. We found that there was a need for quick, high-end apps that could be paired with cocktails or just to enjoy a fun experience with friends. That's where the kit began.

Our kits are unique because they include all the ingredients necessary to create the perfect appetizer or dessert tray ... all within minutes! Everything you need is in the kit; just assemble and impress your guests. Makes up to 24 appetizers or desserts.

Our customer base has a wide range of ages. Kids love our dessert kits, and adults grab our kits for gatherings, hostess gifts, or just to have on hand. Wineries and breweries have been a great B2B market for us, especially if they want to provide snacks for their customers.

Tell us about yourself

I am a designer helping to establish brands. Passionate about creative work, new marketing ideas, and most importantly - people and process. I wanted the appetizer kit to evolve for ease and to take the guesswork out of which flavors and toppings should go together.

Janine has been an entrepreneur for years with a strong sales background. She fell in love with red wine crackers many years ago and found it challenging to find them, so she began making them herself. She is the one that had the idea for a cracker company.

Shelley has a background in Corporate Strategy and Development. She has a very strong business mind for the company and keeps us on track. She helps with flavor profiles and strategic initiatives.

We are an excellent trilogy of business talent to propel our start-up to great success. We are motivated by our customer's response to our entrance into the market. We are humbled and excited to meet the needs of the consumer.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Seeing something grow from the ground up can be so rewarding. Business ownership is fulfilling in a number of ways.

First – the puzzle of figuring out systems and processes, while challenging, is very rewarding. A hard-working day, week, or month yielding results is always a welcome accomplishment.

Second – the complexity of figuring out people is equally as rewarding. We're all people. Our team, customers, and vendors all have to synch like a well-choreographed waltz. Creating a business that is fulfilling for all people involved is a great accomplishment.

Lastly – Our successful past experiences have propelled us through great career growth resulting in financially rewarding endeavors. A financially sustainable business is the ultimate accomplishment. Our leadership team has a proven track record of rewarding fiscal accomplishments.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Ben Horowitz, a silicon valley experienced entrepreneur, summarized it best in his book "The hard thing about hard things." The hardest thing as a business owner is making decisions that don't feel great but are best for the business. An example would be having to switch vendors that were loyal and faithful in your start-up days, but now they simply can't keep up with your growth. That's a hard conversation, but if switching vendors is best for the business, it has to be done.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do not "embezzle" time or money from your start-up. You have to be able to appropriately invest and reinvest in your business to get it off the ground. It takes a lot of time and money. Along the same lines, don't confuse a business and a hobby. If you want a hobby, enjoy it and release the goal of turning it into a business. Likewise, if you want a business, you can't treat it like a hobby.
  2. Create a solid, scalable sales plan. The best product or service will fall on deaf ears if you are unable or unwilling to engage in effective sales initiatives.
  3. Be humble and authentic. Listen to your consumers, check your ego at the door, and be ready for the face plants. Learn from mistakes, and don't carry around any unfinished conversations with any of the people involved in your business. Say what you need to say. In order to learn, grow and facilitate, you need to keep an open, transparent, and positive mindset.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Our business is not just run by three people. We have a lot of friends and family that have truly helped us build this company. Without this team, we wouldn't be where we are today.

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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