Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tessa Porter, President and Owner of Sprinkk, located in Omaha, NE, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sprinkk is a candy product development and manufacturing company. We serve candy companies ranging from large national brands to new start-ups looking to create new products or processes. We fill the gap between the initial idea and full-scale manufacturing to bring candies to life.
Tell us about yourself
I started my career in candy when I was a student studying food science. A scholarship provided by The American Association of Candy Technologists introduced me to the world of candy science, and I have loved working in the industry ever since. After working in the industry-leading Innovation and Technology for a major candy company, I realized that there are many great ideas that never get to see the store shelf because production is often restricted, or approachable capacities for production just don't exist with larger contract manufacturers.
With Sprinkk, we offer full formula and process development, plus we are working on a flexible manufacturing facility where our clients can also produce their products with lower minimum order quantities and flexible process design. I am continuously motivated by the challenge of creating new things and exploring new ideas with our clients. It is incredibly rewarding to get to celebrate producing a new candy product together with the people who started with the idea in the beginning.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
So far, I have helped numerous brands create new products and have also helped a few facilities improve efficiency with improved process design. One of the most fun projects started as a side project of creating a fruit snack product together with my grandmother Norma. This originally was just a fun project on the side but has evolved to be a full new brand of more sophisticated fruit snacks targeted toward adult taste buds. We've been able to use it as a test for the Sprinkk business model and get the view from a client's point of view of fully creating something new with Sprinkk. We officially launched the product for sale last fall online at www.normas.com and was recently selected as a finalist for Natural Product Expo's NEXTY Awards for Best New Sweet Snack!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a small company right now, the biggest challenge has been optimizing time management and determining when to hire work out and when to tackle things myself. I tend to be an avid DIY-er and sometimes try to take too much on by myself. I get really excited about projects and the great ideas of our clients that I often put my own needs and projects on the back burner.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Hire help. Everyone says you can't do it alone, and I didn't want to believe that in the beginning, but it is so true. As soon as you can afford to hire things out, do it!
- Trust your intuition. Not every opportunity is a good opportunity, and not everyone has your best interests in mind. Be selective about who you engage with and stay true to your personal values. Things work so much smoother when they align with who you are.
- Save money and start frugal. Everything costs more than you might imagine. There are creative ways to save money in business, but it generally means moving slower. Figure out where to save and where to spend wisely.
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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