Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Morales, Co-Founder of Mixicles, located in Cincinnati, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Mixicles® are premium drink mixers in ice-cube form. The company was founded with the goal of delivering craft flavors to cocktail enthusiasts in a novel yet simple way. Mixicles® cubes chill and flavor beverages without watering them down, and unlike conventional liquid mixers, which typically have to be consumed within a few weeks of opening, Mixicles® stay fresh in the freezer for 18+ months. So, when you’re ready for a custom craft cocktail, just pop a cube or two into a glass and stir in your beverage of choice.
Because Mixicles® do not contain alcohol, they can be enjoyed by anyone. Our customers range from avid home mixologists to health-conscious consumers simply looking for a way to naturally flavor water. All Mixicles® are 25 calories or less per cube and contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives. These botanical “drinking blocks” are not cocktail-specific, so you can mix and match flavors to create endless combinations of delicious beverages.
Tell us about yourself
My co-founder Jason Stitt and I created Mixicles® with the goal of bringing the craft-cocktail experience into homes by capturing the freshness of handmade mixers in a convenient, fun, and ready-to-use form: ice cubes. We are fascinated by the flavors behind a great mixed drink but find it frustrating how much time, effort, and expense is necessary to create those same flavors at home (and often, depending on your skill level, with inconsistent results). Plus, quality craft-cocktail shortcuts can be hard to find — sometimes you want a delicious beverage without having to make a simple syrup, source exotic ingredients, and hand juice fruit (only a portion of which will be used, the rest most likely going to waste).
We’d seen the concept of an ice-cube beverage infusion on a few local restaurant menus, but no one seemed to be making a product like that for consumer use. And when the pandemic hit in early 2020, many people began searching for at-home DIY activities, and we saw interest in homemade craft cocktails, and mocktails really take off. We sensed this was a good time to launch our business - first locally through specialty stores and then throughout the Midwest via a partnership with Kroger. We also ship Mixicles® nationally via a direct-to-consumer eCommerce store.
At the heart of our company is a desire to produce something that helps bring people together, creating occasions to celebrate life and one another. Studies have shown that moderate amounts of alcohol in a social setting stimulate bonding, increase the amount of time people spend talking to one another, and reduce displays of negative emotions. That’s certainly been our experience (though we’ll reiterate that, by design, Mixicles do not contain any alcohol so that everyone, including children, can enjoy them).
Mixicles are an expression and extension of the friendship between Jason and me — one cultivated over many years and even more happy hours. Ours is a partnership rooted in deep appreciation and gratitude for what we each bring to the table. Launching and growing Mixicles brings meaning and purpose not only to our own lives but also to the lives of our children and loved ones, whom we lean on for emotional support (and sometimes, admittedly, for manual labor). Every day brings a new challenge or hard lesson - sometimes several at a time. You need to have the grit to launch any kind of start-up. Our motto is “we’ll figure it out” because that’s what we do, step by step, day by day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Bringing to market an innovative product and experiencing consistently positive responses. We love that we’ve created something that brings joy to people.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Especially in the early days, you are responsible for EVERYTHING, from setting the strategic vision for your business to shipping out daily orders. There is no task too big or too small — they all require your time and attention. It can be a lot to juggle.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Never stop learning, keep innovating, and make sure to celebrate small victories along the way.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Mixicles® is a certified minority-owned business. We currently produce nine flavors, including Blueberry Lemon Basil, Cranberry Rose, Lavender Peach, Jalapeño Citrus, and Orange Blossom Passion Fruit, which you can find at Kroger grocery stores in the Midwest. We also create custom flavor blends for weddings and other special events.
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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