After a trip to the US, we discovered gourmet popcorn. We were bowled over with how tasty the popcorn was and how many different flavour combinations there were across the pond. We came back to the UK feeling inspired, so we set ourselves a challenge to make the finest and tastiest all natural gourmet popcorn in the world, using flavour concoctions and textural inclusions that tasted better than the ones we had tried in the States. We had always flirted with the idea of running our own family food business together, and in a moment of madness around our 30th birthdays, we had a “now or never” moment. We set ourselves a challenge to follow our passion of delicious food and create the best tasting popcorn in the world. Little did we know it would lead us to packing in our city jobs and heading off to the garden shed!” After months in the kitchen (we managed to blow up a popcorn machine and break a hob in the process!) we finally hit on a winning recipe and had so many requests from friends and family that we ended up making so much we had to store it in my mum’s garden shed. My family started calling it the Popcorn Shed, and that’s how we named our business.
Popcorn shed was created by cousins, started in my mother’s garden shed and now export to over 11 countries and are available in place like Selfridges and Ocado. We are rewriting the rules of the snacking category, in the UK and beyond! Saying goodbye to boring, tasteless popcorns. Our gourmet popcorn tastes better than the competition, is beautifully branded and our pack formats are both unique and eye-catching. Our production process is complex. Whilst our competitors apply spray-on and powder coatings in an industrial process. We use an artisan cooking process by making a fresh caramel batch with each production run. Our popcorn is tumbled in fresh caramel before being scattered with melted chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. This ensures a deep, rich flavour and provides a lovely texture to every single kernel. We are passionate about great tasting products, and building a lifestyle brand from scratch that has real meaning and resonates with consumers. We believe that our popcorn brings people together, enhancing those special moments we spend with friends, family and loved ones. By sharing and consuming our popcorn treats, our customers lives are made that little bit happier and more joyful! Popcorn Shed exists to build relationships, and put smiles on our customer's faces.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
There were lots of initial hurdles… Finding a manufacturer was tough, it took a lot of research lots of unanswered emails and phone calls.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
Ooo, I’m reading This is going to Hurt by Adam Kay which is really makes me chuckle and can I recommend two podcasts instead ? How I Built this and Screw it, Just do it.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight? I think at the beginning they all though we were mad, but now Popcorn Shed is very much a family business. Our parents and sibling all help out with various things.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
What’s the worst that can happen? I always say it’s ok to try and fail but it’s not ok to not try.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I think I didn’t anticipate how hard it was to get a brand recognised by consumers and what it took to penetrate the market.