1 Million Cups Presenter Highlight: Flickola and Gonzo's Candies


1 years ago

1 Million Cups is a free, weekly national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee. You can learn more here. Sustainable Starups is proud to host the Salt Lake City Communty 1MC events every Wednesday morning at 9am.

 

Flickola - Jessica Ohlen 

 

 

Jessica Ohlen presented her company, “Flickola,” an online shop that puts together unique gift boxes for baby showers.  The name comes from the word “flicka,” which is Swedish for “girl,” and “hola,” which is Spanish for “hello.”  Initially from a European background, Jessica realized that there is a huge market for babies and baby products through baby showers.  She aims to make that process easier and more efficient for those purchasing the gifts.  Currently, she offers pre-set packages in varying sizes and prices full of products for new babies, such as blankets, bottles, etc.  She intends to allow for full customization by the customer and to connect her site with various commonly-used registries like Target and Amazon.  She had three main questions she wanted answered which drove the conversation from the audience: How do you buy baby gifts and would this product be useful? What would keep you from buying this product? What is the best way of spreading the word?  Most in the audience responded positively regarding their interest in using Flickola to purchase items for their friends and family members.  Much of the conversation had to do with the customization aspect since many couples use registries to make sure they can get what they want.  She is in contact with some “mommy-bloggers” and expects to spread the word through them.  She is on instagram but does not yet have other social media specific to her business.  

Website: flickola.com 

Jessica chats with a 1MC attendee after her presentation. 

 

Gonzo's Candies - Bart Gonzales 

Gonzo’s Candies is a startup business that specializes in hand crafted brittles and nut candies, the ingredients of which are all 100% organic.  While the product is excellent and addictively delicious, it is the story behind the company that makes it so unique and important.  Founder Bart Gonzales told a story of how he was walking around downtown Salt Lake City when he saw a homeless woman holding a sign that said, “God help me.”  He spoke with her for a while and found out that she had been a housewife but currently no one would hire her since she was homeless. People ridiculed and laughed at her, and this experience pierced Bart’s soul.

This moment Inspired Bart to create his business with the purpose of employing second chance employees, giving opportunity to those who society has cast aside and let slip through the cracks.  “I don’t believe in throw-away people,” Bart says.  “She had 54 years of skills built up over the course of her life just sitting there being unused.”  Having overcome many obstacles in his own life, Bart is looking to make meaningful social change through business.  

Bart chats with a 1MC attendee after presentations. 

In terms of his presentation, he offered free samples of each of his kinds of candy, showed us his facebook page, and expressed the difficulties he is having due to certain limitations.  He is currently doing everything from an old iPhone 3s as he does not have access to his own computer.  He had a facebook page where he posts photos and info about his candy, but the page was set up as a Friend page and not a business page which can be “liked.”  He has done some outreach to local businesses and cafes and had 3 specialty stores and 2 cafes that are willing to sell his product.  The community was extremely helpful and provided many connections and resources.  He needed help setting up the business facebook page and someone offered to help with that (and followed through! Check out Gonzo's Candies and Gourmet Treats!).  He needed access to a commercial kitchen, as he does his business from home, and someone from the community had a contact for him.  Other suggestions from the audience included connecting with a professional photographer to take better pictures of his product to enhance their marketing appeal.  Another suggestion was to really “sell the story” of his cause and his own personal background as a way to differentiate and connect with customers.  The audience also suggested reducing the amount of free samples that he gives out and to focus his marketing efforts on people who would be his actual customers, those who are willing to pay for the premium product ($18/pound on average).  There was a large emphasis placed on  making sure he focused his efforts on who would really matter and to be careful with how much free product he gives away, especially since he is working with such a small budget.  Other suggestions from the audience included reaching out to schools or universities to see if he could get lessons from students on facebook and other computer literacy skills, to find outsourced bookkeeping, and to be rigorous in his approach.  

The community support for Bart and Gonzo's Candies was incredibly inspirational, and additional proof that our Salt Lake Community is filled with some of the kindest, most supportive people who truly want to see those around them grow and flourish. Bart is a regular at our Wednesday morning 1 Million Cups and keeps our community fed with delicious treats each week - we highly encourage you to come and experience first hand just how tasty Gonzo's treats are! 

If you'd to join us for 1 Million Cups next Wednesday (or any Wednesday!) you can follow events on our facebook or 1MC community page. If you are interested in presenting at 1 Million Cups, please send an email to our 1MC coordinator, Riley Greenwood, at riley@sustainablestartups.org