Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tyler Phillips, founder of Hummii Snacks, located in Altamont, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Hummii we invite YOU to "A Healthy+Yummii Snack Multiverse!"
We are bridging Food, Media, & Web3 to create a truly interactive experience for your family & friends to adopt healthy lifestyles without dropping the FUN.
Hummii Snacks is a CPG brand launching better-for-you Mini Muffins later this year & Hummii MetaMedia is a Web3 fitness+food+entertainment community.
Our customers usually are either Gen Zers or younger Millenials looking to adopt a more fit lifestyle but still yearning for the nostalgic "vibes" of their childhood favorite snacks. The other customer group is healthy-conscious parents making grocery purchasing decisions for their family-based around clean ingredients & accessibility for a snack-centered lifestyle.
Tell us about yourself
I became interested in business at a very young age. Our family has had a chain of hardware stores in Albany, NY, since 1886 (Phillips Hardware). I often would eavesdrop on conversations between my dad & grandfather about the future of the business and even participated more as I got older.
The focus on serving others & being a welcoming place in the community always stuck out to me as important values that separate us from a Home Depot or Lowes. Once you buy into the mindset of being of service, it's truly addicting, haha, and continues to motivate me each day.
During my senior of college, I became interested in cryptocurrency technology & how it could be used to decentralize and empower communities. Upon graduating, a friend & I moved to Puerto Rico with a plan to work with small businesses on adopting this new technology. However, by the time we moved there, the "bubble" had burst, and we were left on an amazingly friendly & beautiful island but unsure of what to do next.
Over the next two years, I worked with various startups in a business development role that often had me interacting with customers, hearing their wants/needs, & communicating these to our development teams for a better product/service experience. Additionally, a lot of effort had gone into community building & forming partnerships with other startups as we grew, which still helps Hummii today.
The idea for Hummii began as a joke when I made a dessert hummus protein ice cream after a hot run on the island. My friends & family enjoyed it enough that I kept making it and testing different flavors. Along the way, we created this whole storyline & personas for Hank Hummii and his Plant-Powered Palz. This idea eventually blossomed into an early-stage business with the help of accelerators like Union Kitchen & Food Future Co, crowdfunding campaigns & startup competition prizes, and amazing support networks such as Startup CPG & ClubCPG.
Now, we are excited as ever to expand the Hummiiverse with a world of products & stories to still tell!!!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I believe that our biggest accomplishments at Hummii Snacks are way ahead in the future we are building towards. However, suppose we have been able to positively influence one entrepreneur with their business or community member to make healthy changes to their lives. In that case, I consider those "small accomplishments" to add up in the long term as ripple effects take place.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing has been navigating all the changes that have occurred since launching a pandemic and finding great foundational team members. Oftentimes people are excited by the idea of a startup but then fizzle out after the reality sets in of how this requires long hours & to be passionate about what you are creating truly.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Ironic given this platform, but first, I'd say form a very strong & supportive team from the start that can be there for each other through thick and thin.
- Test your idea/product early & take note of recurring issues/ideas that people suggest. You don't need to cater to everyone, but if it's something that keeps being brought up, then it's usually a signal to make an improvement.
- Actually, sit down and think about how much it will take to get started before generating sales/profit. Then take that amount of money and double it before you find yourself taking the plunge full-time as a founder.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We have recently experimented with and soft-launched the first chickpea-powered NFT collection featuring Hank Hummii, our mighty mascot. It has some really cool perks & unlockable reward tiers built into it, and an easy intro video for crypto newbies. If you have any questions about web3 or would like to learn more, please reach out. We appreciate any support/sharing of this initiative! (10% of all profits will also be donated to a charity focused on building healthy communities among youth)
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.