Just over a year ago Quinn Popcorn was an attic run experiment selling in a few local stores. Now we are a national product available in hundreds of stores across the country. In the world of food we are teeny tiny, but it’ss still hard for us to comprehend how much as happened in a year. It’ss felt a lot more like 5 years.
Roughly this time last year Kristy was the only person working for Quinn Popcorn full time. We rented a 200 sqft corner of a warehouse to pack up the popcorn. We were in about 30 grocery stores in the Boston area and in total we had only sold a few thousand boxes. The average day consisted of Kristy working with suppliers while helpers packed up boxes on fold out plastic tables. We were totally naive. We knew so little about the food industry, and so little about what it takes to build a company. We only knew where we wanted go.
Today we have four full timers along with a crew of invaluable part timers. Our office if really just a concrete floored warehouse with desks in the middle, but it’ss a whole heck of a lot bigger than 200 sq ft! You can find our popcorn in almost every state. Now there are so many balls in the air that a typical day has our ‘soffice’s filled with the chatter of phone calls and discussion, many in response to hiccups in need of immediate mending!
Over the past year we ran out of popcorn, raised some much needed cash, went to our first trade show, added new team members, set up shop at a zillion farmers markets, quit our jobs, packed popcorn well into the night many times, and got through it all in one piece.
It may sound like we made it, like this experiment is now proven. We haven’st, and it isn’st. Early last year we met with the founders of an established food brand. One of the first questions I asked was, “When did you know it was going to work?” I was anxious to get there, to unload that fear. They laughed and one admitted, “I sat down and cried my eyes out two days ago.” Now I get it. The fear of failure never goes away. We are building a brand from the ground up. If we don’st make good stuff and make good decisions, this will all disappear very quickly.
Thankfully we have done very well so far, and we are getting better at this. The year ahead is going to find us changing as much as we did last year. There will be new products, new markets, crazy ideas, and we are certain to fall flat on our faces a few times. Just like last year, it’ss probably going to feel like 5 years. We are enjoying the journey, so a long, busy year is fine by us.