REV Recap - Stickalicious Pops
We reached out to Stickalicious Pops, a popsicle maker, and one of last year's winner of TS Bank Tank (now REV) to see how things have changed in the past year. Read all about the great things they have done and advice they have for another local businesses or start-ups below!
Tell us about your business.
We make gourmet ice pops using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible with an eye on allergen sensitivities. We wanted to create a treat that everyone could have after personally experiencing how difficult it is to find delicious treats that won’t cause us to have reactions to the ingredients. Basically, we make a wide selection of pops that are vegan, non diary, no refined sugar, no added sugar, nut free, gluten free, soy free, or a combination thereof.
Tell us about your experience at TS Bank Tank.
I enjoyed working with TS Bank so much that I moved my personal and business checking account to the Council Bluffs branch. I feel that TS Bank truly wants to see small businesses flourish and grow and have proven through this event that they are here to support us and help us reach the next level. Not only did I get to network with other great small businesses, the TS Bank Tank event introduced me to other movers and shakers in the small business world and opened up a whole new world of resources that I didn’t know I had access to like the SBDC at Iowa Western. I’ve attended lunch & learns, ribbon cuttings, and Chamber of Commerce meetings that I never would have thought to look for.
How did you use your prize money? Has it changed things?
We won $6,500 from TS Bank Tank and our whole world has changed. We no longer make 50 ice pops in 6 hours in our home kitchen. We purchased a machine from China that freezes 40 pops in 20 minutes. What would have taken us a full day to do we can now do in less than an hour. With the new machine our quality has improved and so has our texture. We never used stabilizers to help with the texture of our pops and that made them icy, hard and sharp. With the new machine our pops have a smoother mouth feel and we’ve been surprised at how rich and creamy we can make our pops. With the increased output we have increased our sales. I left my full time job and am focusing on making pops and selling them at farmer’s markets. We are at the Aksarben Farmer’s Market, Harrison County Welcome Center Market, Council Bluffs Main Street Market, and occasionally at Downtown Omaha’s Farmer’s market. We have also signed on to do some of the music festivals and we just worked at the College World Series!!!! I was up to my elbows in pops prepping for CWS: 18+ hour days, little to no sleep, and I’m pretty sure my feet were going to fall off but it is so much fun and so worth it! Plus I pretty smelled like fresh fruit all the time - can’t beat that! :D
Has anything else changed within your business?
We had talked about franchising previously but it had always seemed so far off. We have had people ask about franchising opportunities and we’ve even caught the eye of a Blue Bunny distributor! We are focusing on growing our business organically but with an eye on future growth.
We have discussed purchasing Ellie’s Ice Cream shop across from Bayliss Park in CB or moving into a shared kitchen with some other food business friends and because of TS Bank it is all possible.
What advice would you give anyone who plans to apply this year?
Apply! Even if you think you’re too small or you don’t like public speaking or you haven’t put your business plan together- APPLY! I didn’t have my plan together and was operating out of my kitchen on limited funds. I didn’t think I stood a chance up against companies that were already established and had projected sales in the millions but I believed in my product.
Also- if you get to do a live pitch definitely bring samples of your product and friends! Invite as many people as you can to come and support you. No matter where I looked in the audience I saw a face I knew and was encouraging me. If I stumbled my Very Important Pop Lovers (VIPLs) had my back and I wasn’t nervous because I was just telling my friends about my business.
How can someone get in contact with you or buy your product?
They can call me, email me, visit our website or Facebook message me.