Playing With The Big Boys

Over the past 16 months Coulter and I have been going full speed ahead trying to get Quinn Popcorn on the shelves. There wasn’t time to think about competition, to worry about those who could crush what we have been working so hard on. I always joked about them jumping out of the bushes, but I wasn’t really joking per-say.  It actually scares me more than I care to admit. (We blanked out the name and company in the above photo…it wouldn’t be right to share any of our customers info without asking!)


So today, when an order from came in, I pretty much lost my cool for a solid 15 minutes. After realizing who the customer was I simply refused to ship it, refused to ship the product that we have been working so hard on to one of our biggest competitors.   Yes, I could have said their credit card got declined, or shipped them empty boxes, both brilliant ideas from friends, but instead I slipped a handwritten note inside the package. I even used Quinn Popcorn stationary, recycled card stock reserved for buyers, distributors, media, and  the like. I also threw a Quinn Popcorn sticker on the seal just for kicks, but mostly to prove a point:  We have stickers, we are a real company. (joking.)


When I calmed down a little I started to realize that this is why we created QP in the first place.  We wanted to reinvent the microwave popcorn category, we wanted to initiate the change that needed to happen. Quinn Popcorn was born out of the love of food, using “real” ingredients. Turning a synthetic chemical filled product into something healthy, a snack worth sharing and experiencing with  family. The good thing about all this is that maybe this huge conglomerate is going to follow our lead.  They might learn that just because you have access to harmful materials, chemicals, and modified ingredients, doesnt’ mean you actually have to use them; learn that there are other options out there, better for consumers, better for the planet. If we have convinced them of this, then we have accomplished what we set out to do.


Instigating change is a good thing, but sticking around long enough to create lasting effect is a great thing. We knew this day was going to come, It’s just hard when it smacks you in the face. I’m not worried anymore. We are way too determined to be steamrolled. That all said, the very large box is still sitting under my desk.  Do I have to ship it? Yes. So, if they are coming to us, coming to learn the secrets of QP, awesome. The Quinn Team is looking forward to seeing what evolves.



  1. Tom Gilley wrote:

    Good for you! I like your reaction and action. Following the moral high ground will benefit you in the end. You have nothing to fear because you have a great product and obviously a commitment to your vision.
    Keep poppin’!

  2. Ivan Y wrote:

    I agree and I like the fact that the note is very classy. No sense in stirring anything up & getting personal since — by and large — people who work for large corporations take pride in what they do and can probably think of many improvements / other bright ideas, but are limited by inability of large corporations to innovate at the same pace as start-ups not to mention the dreadful M word (marketing).

  3. Ivan Y wrote:

    It’s probably hopeless to try to keep a competitor from acquiring your product, but it’s got to burn to be the one mailing it straight to them, I bet! I wonder if [blank] even realized that AbesMarket products are dropshipped directly from sellers… A conspiracy theorist in me would think they may have been used this order to put you on notice, so to speak, but probably what happened is they were ignorant of Abe’s shipping policy.

    It’s not like they have a lot of choices from where to get the popcorn now that Amazon sold out. I know, you said you sent a big palet to them, but I sure am grateful I got on Batch Two action last week. Ordered one of each 3-pack and gifted one box of each flavor to a friend/coworker. She had assumed I got first batch it from WF & looked in a store, but — since we are in Texas — none was there.

    Anyway, getting back to [blank]. I guess all your competitors are going to keep an eye on your for awhile, but eventually some may come knocking on your door with a check.

  4. Anonymous wrote:

    “Any­way, get­ting back to [blank]. I guess all your com­peti­tors are going to keep an eye on your for awhile, but even­tu­ally some may come knock­ing on your door with a check.”

    That’s exactly what I thought. If they like your product and – more importantly – think the customers will like your product enough to hurt their business, they will try to buy you while you’re “small” and “cheap”, in relative terms.

    On the one hand, I guess it’s a compliment, on the other hand,I totally see your point too…

  5. Margot wrote:

    Kristy I think its important to remember that they are not competitors. What you make and sell is so different and unique that its in a segment of the market alone. You guys have raised the bar,and proved that their are folks out their willing to pay for a clean product. I am sure that your product won’t fit their profit margins. And remember that the businesses that brought you in did so partly because of your values and commitment to a clean product, plus the Quinn Popcorn show. I think its awesome that you’ve been noticed. Bring it on! you guys have the magic.Can’t be beat.

  6. Tom Gilley wrote:

    Great point. You are definitely in whole other league.

  7. Cindy wrote:

    You should be proud that youhave accomplishes something so unique that they are looking to copy you. But there is a whole market of consumers who will remain loyal to you and your brand especially when you may feel threatened by the big boys. I just launched a small biz and am nervous too but keep marching and you will be on top!