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No Stopping, Keep Popping with Payshee Felt & Steve Bivans

Podcast Episode #44 —

No Stopping, Keep Popping with Payshee Felt & Steve Bivans

 
 
00:00 / 59:51
 
1X

You know those kettle corn vendors you see at fairs that pump out mass quantities of popcorn, and make it live on-site?

That’s what Payshee Felt and Steve Bivans now do (except in a not-so-generic way) in St. Paul, MN with their popcorn business, Payshee’s Popcorn.

But they didn’t start that way. They actually used their cottage food law to prepackage dozens of bags of homemade popcorn for their local farmers market each week.

And they did that from home for two years before they were ready to make the leap to some pretty-pricey equipment for popping tons of popcorn live at events.

They have gone from making just a few hundred dollars each weekend, to now selling over $5k of popcorn in a weekend!

Initially, Payshee romanticized her vision for the business, imagining herself custom-flavoring each bag for a customer in real-time, and serving it from a Cretors wagon.

That idealistic vision not only delayed their business, but also cost them a pretty-penny before they realized that they should just keep it simple and start from home.

What You’ll Learn

  • What they did when their popcorn machine broke at the worst possible time
  • What equipment you will need for a popcorn business
  • The importance of starting as soon as possible
  • Why you should start an email list for your loyal fans
  • Why kettle corn is difficult to do as a cottage food business
  • Great resources to learn how to sell kettle corn
  • How to increase demand for your products by adding scarcity to them
  • How to price popcorn, and why you should offer a 2-for-$10 deal
  • The problem with pricing your products too low
  • What types of popcorn packaging to use
  • Why you need to find creative names for your products
  • How to stand out at markets
  • A creative and inexpensive way to turn kids into loyal fans
  • Why you should never ask someone if they want a sample
  • How to make $5k in 3 days from selling popcorn
  • Why you should use multiple sources of income in your business
  • Why you should treat the vendors at your local market as family
  • How to deal with low moments in your business

Resources

Payshee’s Popcorn Website (Facebook / Instagram)

Learn Popcorn

Popcorn Equipment

Cottage Food Law in Minnesota

Intro To Email Marketing for Cottage Food Businesses

Forrager is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Transcript

This transcript was computer-generated, so there may be errors

David Crabill: Welcome to the Forrager podcast, where I talk with cottage, food entrepreneurs, about their strategies for running a food business from home. I’m David Crabill. And today I’m talking with Payshee Felt and Steve Bivens. They live in St. Paul, Minnesota, and sell kettle corn and flavored popcorn with their business. Payshee’s Popcorn. In this episode, you will hear some pretty amazing stories like when their popcorn machine died at the worst possible time, or when they spent $5,000 on a truck that they couldn’t even use.

they started this business back in 2018 in hopes of replacing patient’s corporate job. And after two years of selling under the cottage food law, they now have invested in a large kettle corn machine and make their popcorn live at events From Steve’s years of experience as a farmer’s market manager to amassing tons of research about their industry. This couple knows just about everything there is to know about making and selling popcorn. they share a ton of insights along the way. And even if you don’t want to sell popcorn, I think you’ll learn a lot from them.

So with that, let’s jump right into this episode. Welcome to the show guys. Nice to have you here.

[00:01:10] Payshee Felt: Thank you.

[00:01:11] Steve Bivans: We’re glad to be here.

[00:01:14] David Crabill: So I usually start by asking my podcast guests to tell how they got started on their journey, but this time I’m going to do it a little bit differently. I’m going to jump into the middle of your story. Can you tell me about the time when your popcorn maker died.

[00:01:30] Steve Bivans: We had a big event for a Cinco de Mayo, when was that? 2018, 20, 19, 20 19. So we were still doing cottage food at the time. So we were pre-bagging the popcorn and we planned to make like 200 bags or something for the event.

so I started that morning popping and we had just a countertop, popcorn, machine.

It was like a 16 ounce or something

So I think pace, you went to the store to get more coconut oil and so I just started what we had and I probably did close to 50 bags, but by the time she got back. A nd then she took what’s on the popcorn machine, like she normally did. And she put in a batch and it spun and spun and spun and spun and it didn’t pop. So the heating element had gone out in it.

[00:02:20] Payshee Felt: and mind you, it’s the middle of the day on like a Friday afternoon and before a big holiday weekend in our neighborhood. And we had no idea where we were going to try and get a new popper. And so we furiously get online thinking maybe we can go rent a tabletop unit. There was just no way that was going to happen.

And so we looked at each other swore a lot around the house. And then I was like, I’m just going to do it on the stove.

[00:02:51] Steve Bivans: I just grabbed our Whirley Pop,

[00:02:55] Payshee Felt: a genius instrument

[00:02:56] Steve Bivans: and out of the cabinet. Cause we hadn’t used it forever. Cause we had this counter, you know, big countertop unit and I just dropped it on the stove and I said start popping.

I was like, Payshee started popping on in the Whirley Pop basically a bag at a time. And our goal was 200 bags and we were only at 50

[00:03:16] Payshee Felt: so by the end of it, David, we were well for certain, I was covered head to toe pretty much in coconut oil from the spitting of the uh, the oil out of the top of the Whirley Pop, and Momo, our friend did pitch it a little bit. She kind of went in and, and popped maybe like 15, 20 bags worth, but we made it happen.

We did work into the evening to get it finished. We did not pop quite 200 bags. I think we did just shy of that

[00:03:44] Steve Bivans: 150 or so.

[00:03:46] Payshee Felt: Yeah. Because the machine actually, we pretty much broke it. The Whirley Pop, the turning element, the screw on the top, it’s made it a plastic gear was made out of plastic and it, it kinda melted during that onslaught.

It’s not meant for commercial use. So, but we made it happen in the next day. We showed up at the event and we were prepared and we did not sell out completely, but we sold almost all of it. And it turned out to be a success.

[00:04:11] David Crabill: Yeah. I mean, that’s a crazy story. uh, But Steve, I, I read something you wrote and you said we will always look back to that day, our worst day as our best day. Can you elaborate?

[00:04:24] Payshee Felt: We realized that we didn’t have to do it just one way. It was sort of an a mind-expanding moment where it taught us that we really can do something, even though in the first moment, when we realized the machine was broken, our heart sunk into our shoes, but we quickly were elated again, by the fact that we, we had a second option.

And you know what, even if we wouldn’t have had the Whirley pop there, I was almost going to say Whirley gig David, because I, we call it that by accident all the time. But we would’ve figured out another way to do it. Had I needed to bring out a kettle. It was just a manual. I would’ve done it that way.

So I guess we just realized, you know, we’re going to do this and no matter what we’re going to go in, we’re going to finish this. We’re going to meet our obligation. And regardless of what stands in front of us, we’re not going to stop. So that was our, that was why it was our best day.

[00:05:24] Steve Bivans: And you know, we, We bought new burner, you know, a new element, new pot for the tabletop unit, which we kept using which now is in the garage. And haven’t let go of it yet it’s back up. And we got, we got a brand new Whirley Pop, which sits on top of the fridge at all times, and we still use it.

We still use it. If like a customer just wants a couple of bags of popcorn, you know, we don’t fire up the huge kettle just to do that, but we can do that on the stove and no time at all and still get the job done. So we still use it.

[00:06:01] David Crabill: So, can you take me back to the beginning of this journey? I think it was 2018. When you got started, how did this whole thing go?

[00:06:10] Payshee Felt: well, it actually started in 2017. If we want to be super specific, we didn’t really start selling our popcorn until 2018. Uh, Steve was on a social media site called anchor and he had come across something called 30 things to do before you die, and one of the things was, you know, what, what do you actually want to do for a living?

I work in the financial services industry and you know, it pays the bills, but it doesn’t really energize me. And so I started thinking about what I would really like to do to make a living. And I thought, gosh, I think I want to have a popcorn company. And you know, the first time I brought it up, Steve was like, really, why?

That just seems kind of random, you know, like where did that come from? Cause we’d never discussed it before this ever. And um, I started to tell him why I liked making popcorn for people it’s associated with only positive memories. And one of the things that I really realized when I was doing this questionnaire, was, I’d like to do something that makes people happy, other people, because that makes me happy.

Right. So it’s like a, it’s like a win-win. And when I think back through my life, I like working with food. So that’s a, that’s a big deal. I also like eating food. Don’t get me wrong. That’s a big deal too. But I think about positive times in my life, I think about holidays. I think about festivals. I think about, you know, school carnivals, I think of movies, you know, going to the theater as a kid.

I think about it right now. It’s kind of giving me chills. it was always at like Halloween or Christmas or Thanksgiving, you know, really fun times and going, you know, further into the future. When my kids were little, I would work at their school carnivals and I was, I would always run the popcorn machine and there was always a line.

People always would queue up for popcorn. And they’re always happy when you handed it to them. No one’s ever mad at you, David, when you hand them a bag of popcorn, they say, thank you. They hand you their money. They walk away happy. And the only time you really see them again is when they come by to say, oh my God, I love your popcorn, or

hey, can I buy more? And I’m like, you know, I think I’d really like to do this for a living. Cause I don’t see a downside here. so we talked about it. I brought it up to some friends and a friend of mine named Jessie And I told her about this idea of potentially starting a little popcorn company. And she said, Patients just do it. Why are you even stopping thinking about this? You have a great idea And that started the ball rolling. So that was all well before 2018, the fall of 2017, right around I guess it was right around Halloween.

We started a GoFundMe campaign and I think we made just under $2,000, we bought the carnival king popcorn machine and some other supplies, a little bit of popcorn. And we just,

[00:08:56] Steve Bivans: this, this gets into how we got into cottage food, because of the original idea was she wanted a popcorn cart.

I was like, well, that’d be awesome. So we started looking into that and then we realized our car could, because hybrid, you couldn’t put a towing package on it.

And so we looked at different vehicles and they were like, what about we put it on the back of the golf cart? And then we realized St. Paul, when is, this is I’m really condensing this story, but St. Paul, we couldn’t do it golf cart on the street. And so then we were looking at other stuff and then we found the Polaris GEMs which the electric, you know, neighborhood vehicles.

and so what about one of these they’re, they’re legal on the streets. And, and so then we found one it’s like, has like a flatbed on the back of it. Yeah. It’s like a little flatbed truck that Polaris makes and the Minnesota Vikings had two of them for sale. W e ended up buying both of them And they were like okay. We’ll build the thing on the back of the truck. Right. And it’ll be kind of like an open food truck deal. Well, the department of ag didn’t really like that plan uh, because it didn’t fit, you know, it doesn’t fit in their little bureaucratic boxes, so they can tick them off.

And so we’re kind of stuck and we were coming right up to the opening of the farmer’s markets season And so then we had, this was another one of those moments where we were like, we were ready to give up. And we were like, how are we going to do this? And then at the time I was still, I was the manager of our neighborhood farmer’s market which is another part of the story.

But I should have thought of cottage food because we had several cottage food vendors um, at the market already. And I knew all about it, but my boss, she was like, why don’t you just do this cottage food? And I’m like,

[00:10:52] Payshee Felt: Well, because David, we originally were going to try and toss each specific bag for each client, each customer special. So if you would walk up to the popcorn cart, you know, this is the initial dream uh, you could say, Hey, Payshee, I want you to make me a uh, easy, cheesy, au gratin. And I want a large size or whatever, and I would toss it for you right there.

Freshly made popcorn, homemade seasonings, tossed fresh for you, pop, put in a bag and I hand it to you. And that’s what the department of agriculture was like, you know, your, your plan here, isn’t going to work. And literally it was like a month and a half, right before the farmer’s market opened at the same time, my dad who was going to help us build this, had a stroke.

And so all of these things, and he’s okay now, but all of these things happened at the same time. We were like, oh my God, maybe the universe is telling us just never going to work. And you know, to go a little dark and evil at these times. Steve’s like, all right, we can’t give up. We can’t give up.

And his boss, Molly, who was also a friend of ours did say to him, and to me, she’s like, you know, you, you really should just try and do this somehow cottage food. Maybe you can prepackage it and bring it in bags and just not pop it live. And maybe you just work on that for a year and you can do it in the future different.

And so we got off the phone with her set in our room here and looked at each other and got all sad and depressed again. And then we started thinking about, you know, what, maybe we can do it. Maybe we can do it. And this was the spring of 2018 and we did do it. we had to go buy new bags and David, we had to figure out, put together a new paradigm again.

And thankfully, you know, the department of the department of agriculture did us a favor because had they actually approved the method we were going to originally pop our popcorn in. It would have been epic fail because it would have been no way we could actually serve people in any kind of decent timeframe or even keep it clean.

And you know, we were newbs. We had No.

[00:12:51] Steve Bivans: idea. Yeah. And the countertop model, which the one that failed the next year in the kitchen was what we were going to put on the back of the car. And that was one of the problems. It wasn’t NSF and whatever. But it was a huge favor in the end because that machine would have never kept up with demand at an event. and we realized that only by doing cottage food, because as we were popping, I was actually keeping time. I was like, how much time are we spending? How many bags. I’m not really a numbers guy.

[00:13:25] Payshee Felt: He’s a total process engineer. And so thankful that he’s kept all this information. Cause I, I hate that stuff.

[00:13:33] Steve Bivans: By the end of the first season, I knew exactly how many, how many bags we could produce in an hour and all that. And that’s in the kitchen with a controlled environment and not people lined up waiting for the bags and I’m like, we would never be able to do this on this machine.

So then we knew we needed, when do we think the paradigm, a different machine? And the only logical conclusion was a large kettle corn machine. Like you see it huge events, right. But we didn’t really go there right away. No, we couldn’t really afford it for that second year. So we kept doing cottage food through 2019 with the idea that eventually.

We were going to get the kettle corn machine and do it live, but that would be a whole nother license and not cottage food

[00:14:21] Payshee Felt: as well as giant expense. So for 2018, what we did is every Saturday. And we really did every Saturday that year at our local farmer’s market, which was luckily only two blocks from our house.

We would pop the corn the night before on a Friday and we would bag it all up. And usually we made anywhere 50 to 75 bags on average. We’d bring them to the market and sometimes we would sell a lot of them or most of them, sometimes we didn’t sell as much and then whatever we wouldn’t sell Steve would go to a local brewery on Saturday nights while I took a rest here at home, he would go out and have a few beers with people and try and sell the rest.

And what ended up happening through that process? David was we got a good name out there in our neighborhood because we had dual exposure, not only at the brewery, but also at this lovely little nexus of the farmer’s market where many people would gather who otherwise we would not have met. And during that time, we also, and again, this was Steve’s brainchild. So total and complete kudos to him for thinking about this.

Cause it was genius. He put together. A signup sheet for an email list. And we created a, a frequent flyer card, which we called our Viper card. The very important popcorn eaters registry. That’s what the acronym stands for. You know, if you buy 10 bags, you get one free. And we still do that today. And it was very popular with people and they signed up and we got to capture their email addresses.

And through that, we were able to cultivate a holiday popcorn list. And we would email out to people when we were going to do other events. And when we were going to do our holiday popcorn, which is our caramel corn, and our chocolate covered caramel pretzel corn

[00:16:00] David Crabill: So with this email list, is the incentive for them joining just so they can get the uh, buy 10 and get one free or do they have to join? The email is to get that.

[00:16:12] Steve Bivans: They do. It’s the only way to get that deal. the thing that built it, the fastest that.

first year in 2018 was. The incentive to get the caramel corn at Christmas time in holidays because her caramel corn is it’s off the charts. Seriously. It’s the best on the planet.

I’m just going to say it. And I forget how good it is until we make it every year. And then I’m like, oh my God, get this stuff away from me. You cannot stop eating it. And so what we did was towards the end of the farmer’s market season we made some here the house and we took some samples and gave them away for free samples.

And the first time or two I was like, they were like, can we buy some now? I was like, Nope. I said, you can’t even order it yet. I said, the only way you’re going to even get a chance to order it is a sign up on the email list. that was the bulk of our list was probably that first year, really people that wanted the caramel corn after they tasted it.

[00:17:16] David Crabill: So let’s say, you know, someone’s convinced, okay, I’m going to start in my home kitchen. I’m going to use my cottage food law. what are their options for actually getting started in terms of equipment.

[00:17:28] Payshee Felt: I mean, really you need bags to put your popcorn in. You need some kind of delivery device We purchase bags on a couple of different sites. I think initially we bought bakery bags on WebstraurantStore

[00:17:40] Steve Bivans: we’ve moved away from those. I mean, for

[00:17:43] Payshee Felt: awhile, we were just using straight up Reloc bags to, you know, like Ziploc kind of bags with a little sticker on the front. And, um, and you need some kind of device to make your popcorn, like the Whirley pop or a countertop unit, a Whirley pop is about, it’s under $40 even on Amazon um, to start with.

And then of course you need your ingredients. We decided to go all organic for our footprint and fully gluten-free. So those are two things that we wanted to make sure that we maintained throughout a ll of our business practices and we started that way and we are still that way. So if somebody, didn’t want to adhere to those two rules, you know, they could certainly find cheaper popcorn elsewhere, like at Costco or online.

So get your materials, figure out what kind of oils you want to use. We use organic coconut oil, which is very expensive, you know, a lot of people use different kinds of oils. They just need to figure out and do a little bit of research on what they want to deliver to the public.

[00:18:38] Steve Bivans: Um, I would say that, you know, somewhat, it depends on what flavors of popcorn they’re planning to do. Initially we didn’t do kettle corn and that wasn’t really a thing we were planning to do. we did, we had a butter flavor, which we did with organic ghee. We call it the classic and then we had, we’ve got two or three cheese flavors And we came up with some other ones too, and all those were kind of like dry seasonings. We would use, we pop the popcorn and then we would use a spray gun with a different oils, like sometimes sunflower oil or avocado oil or olive oil.

And we’d spray that on the popcorn to help adhere the dry seasonings. So that was our process. So you need, you know, depends on what you’re going to do now, if you’re going to do kettle corn, it’s really pretty inexpensive. Yeah but it’s next to impossible to do as a cottage food because a Whirley Pop,

you can make kettle corn in it, but it’ll get ruined pretty quick. You can make like two batches and then you gotta clean it out and let it cool down a little bit. So to make any volume on that, that way, would be almost impossible. We didn’t really start doing the kettle corn until last fall. but I mean, you can do it with, with smaller kettles. You know, we did on top of.

a Turkey burner with the kettle. It’s like, I don’t even know how many quarts it is probably like 40, 50 quarts or something. But it’s, it’s not optimal. So we, we quickly went and said, all right, we’re just going to spring the money for, you, know, the big kettle corn machine. And, And we could still pop playing popcorn in it. So we can do that.

And, and toss it with cheese and all that kind of stuff,

[00:20:23] Payshee Felt: right. But if you were to start, let’s just say with a little Whirley pop and you reinvest, you know, some profit into a tabletop model. I mean, for a few hundred dollars. And I think now they’re probably right under $400, you know, if you invest some of your profit into buying one, you could scale it up fairly quickly.

Probably maybe within a few months, if you stuck with it,

[00:20:43] David Crabill: So, you started with the worldly pop and then you quickly moved to a countertop model and that’s like $400. What comes next after that?

[00:20:54] Steve Bivans: really, I mean, on sites like KaTom, I think we got it from KaTom, but they had, if you look for it’s like a caramel kettle And the kettle is probably, I want to say it’s like 40, 50 quarts or something. It’s pretty good size. And they’re about $250. I actually said, I think it’ll fit on the Turkey fryer. So it actually did. So we had one of those burners for a Turkey fryer, those, you can get from a hundred bucks we tried it out on there and it actually worked, we made kettle corn on there. It wasn’t optimum cause you know, the pot’s kind of slipping around and,

[00:21:30] Payshee Felt: it wasn’t great from a process standpoint because you can’t eliminate the unpopped kernels because we didn’t have a sifting table.

So for us going to the big kettle corn rig was the best step, but like he said, you could potentially go to a midsize,

[00:21:47] Steve Bivans: You would need something to dump it into that had like sifting holes. So you could eliminate, you know, the unpopped kernels and stuff

really. The next. Is a kettle corn machine. Like, you know, there are some out there that are only like 80 quart, and they’re a little cheaper,

[00:22:05] Payshee Felt: maybe a thousand dollars cheaper for the rate.

[00:22:07] Steve Bivans: It’s more than that. It’s probably more like around $3,000. And you could get like an 80 quart kettle corn popper. we decided we’re going to make the leap. At that point, we just went to the 160 quart kettle corn machine.

And with this big sifting table and you know, that’s in the range of like 5,000

[00:22:27] Payshee Felt: or so, and let’s be clear, we did not have that money to spend, like on hand. So I dipped into my 401k and took a loan to do that. So this was a significant investment for us. And we were like, okay, this is time for us to go big or stay home.

[00:22:39] David Crabill: I did see Steve, you wrote that you were growing tired of popping in the kitchen and pre bagging everything, and that this business had become a bit of a Drudge. What was it like at that time of your business?

[00:22:54] Steve Bivans: You know, like Payshee said at the beginning, why she wanted to do popcorn, it was about, you know, it was really about that experience of popping popcorn and handing fresh popcorn to people.

[00:23:08] Payshee Felt: And that’s really energizing,

[00:23:09] Steve Bivans: right. It’s very energizing, whereas, you know, doing it in the kitchen you know, we get to look at each other for two or three hours That helped, b ut it, you know, after a while, it’s, you’re you get the feeling that you’re working in a factory kind. I mean, it’s a very tiny factory in our kitchen,

[00:23:30] Payshee Felt: also popcorn expands when you pop it. So you start off with a, sort of a small container of popcorn, but once you pop it and you have all these bags made, half of a room is filled. It literally explodes

[00:23:46] Steve Bivans: plastic bins, full

[00:23:48] Payshee Felt: filled with bags of popcorn. And it smells amazing. I mean, you walk in the house and it smells fabulous, but you know, your house quickly becomes overrun with your product.

[00:23:57] David Crabill: So as you’re scaling their, your business where were you learning? Were there any good resources that you found to learn about how to uh, turn this into a business?

[00:24:11] Payshee Felt: Two words, Greg sweet. Yeah, the pot, the kettle corn Maestro on the mountain. Uh, Steve researched that man’s videos and boy, did we learn a lot from that? And Steve, I’m gonna let you talk about Greg Sweet’s videos.

[00:24:27] Steve Bivans: If you want to learn about, especially scaling up a popcorn business or kettle corn business you just go to YouTube in typing, kettle corn, and what will come up is Greg sweet’s videos, Greg sweet passed from Parkinson’s I think, about three or four years.

He was only in his forties when he, when he died. But his family still makes and sells kettlecorn equipment But just an amazing resource, his videos alone. Well, they’re entertaining because this is a guy who absolutely love making popcorn.

I mean, like screaming out loud, making popcorn. He just loved it and, and it’s infectious. So just watching his videos sometimes when I’m like kind of down, I’ll watch his videos and like, oh, you know, making popcorn. It’s pretty awesome. Um, He’s great also you know, on the business part of vending food vending in general is learnhotdogs.com, Ben Wilson.

uh, made his website alone ha s tons of stuff on food, vending as a business, and basically get almost all of it for free. I actually wrote an article, another article for him on how to do popcorn as cottage food.

[00:25:45] Payshee Felt: So really we dove in to, and when I say we, I mean, Steve um, he’s really the genius behind all the research he dove in to really research the industry. You know, where for me, it started off as a bit of like this romantic dream, right? With this image of a Cretors wagon on a sunny day, handing happy people, lovely, you know, intoxicatingly delicious smelling popcorn.

And then he actually started to really help make it a reality. This is a true team effort. And without him diving in to do all of that, we wouldn’t be where we are, but. looking at all the resources he just mentioned,

[00:26:20] Steve Bivans: if you get into kettle corn, you will end up with Greg sweet because everyone doing it knows who he is.

[00:26:28] Payshee Felt: He’s the Godfather. I mean, he’s the guy who made it,

[00:26:32] David Crabill: Yeah. And I did see that you wrote that article on learn hot dogs, and it’s a great article. I will link to that in the show notes. you were doing the cottage food thing for two years, I think before you stepped up with the, you know, into the kind of commercial side of things, producing popcorn, live at events, But you said that you guys were burning out by the end of the first season because you’re making so much popcorn at home. So what did you do to kind of improve things in the second season, even though you hadn’t changed your equipment.

[00:27:05] Payshee Felt: So, you know, I have a full-time job. I work anywhere from 50, sometimes 60 hours a week, you know, in 2018, I went to an office five days a week so that was exhausting. Um, And then Saturday morning, you know, Friday night we poppin until nine, 10 o’clock and then we’re up at 5:00 AM. Getting ready to go to the farmer’s market. And we do that until noon. And again, it’s hot, it’s on asphalt. Any note it’s exhausting. And so that’s why I got burned out.

So we’re doing it every week, every single week. Yeah. Cause we were like, we’re just going to go in, you know, we went, we went right in and we dove right in, which was extremely important for that first season. But the second season we backed off and I only went twice a month to the farmer’s market instead of every single week.

[00:27:48] David Crabill: So if you were only doing two markets per month, instead of about four, does that mean that your profits got cut in half in your second?

[00:27:58] Payshee Felt: No, I,

[00:28:00] Steve Bivans: I, I think it was important for us to do that the first year, because we weren’t established But by the end of the first season, Payshee’s popcorn was, a very popular, attraction at the west side farmers market.

and people knew us we had a following already. And so I thought, going into the second one. I was like, well, you know, she was like, I really don’t want to go every week. And I was like, I don’t think we should either. And I said, it’d be interesting to see what happens.

I said, what, what I think will happen, this is my guess beforehand was that it will create an amount of scarcity on those weeks when we’re not there. And I said, I think we’ll sell more each time. Maybe not double, but more because one, they already, you know, a lot of them already knew it was good.

They knew what they liked. And by not being there every week, then they couldn’t just say, well, I don’t know you get it this Saturday. Cause they’ll be here next Saturday anyway. Right. And so they’ll load up. And that’s what happened. I mean, we didn’t double sales each time, but I would say we probably went up by 50%.

We

[00:29:09] Payshee Felt: made more money in 2019 than we did in 2018.

[00:29:11] Steve Bivans: Yeah, we did. It, it certainly the sales went up each time we were there. And we increased our price. We increased the price of one bag to $6 from five. And then I was like, let’s give them a two for 10. And the two for 10 absolutely works. That

[00:29:32] Payshee Felt: was a great move.

Cause we sold more product and we actually made more money because of it because they would buy two bags usually instead of

[00:29:39] Steve Bivans: one, especially the return customers. Cause they already knew it was good. They already loved it. And they were like, oh, I can get two for 10. to jump ahead.

We actually with the kettle corn. We, we went with a small and a large bag with basically the same kind of deal, But then by the end of the season, I was like, let’s go back to just small bags. It was a gallon size, $6 two for 10. And uh, we were there last week and sales were better because paradigm because they didn’t have to commit $10 for one flavor.

[00:30:11] David Crabill: On the topic of pricing, you know, you’re charged five and then $6 for one bag, but you’re using all organic ingredients. As you’ve said, you know, organic corn, organic coconut oil, which is expensive. If you are using non-organic ingredients, how much do you think you would be able to charge for the.

[00:30:34] Steve Bivans: Yeah, it’s, it’s hard to say because we don’t,

[00:30:37] Payshee Felt: I mean, I don’t know that I would ever sell it for less than $4 a bag.

[00:30:41] Steve Bivans: Uh, probably not.

[00:30:42] Payshee Felt: And I will say this about pricing. Again, I’m in the financial services industry and we’re not wealthy by any stretch. We’re very much middle American income. But don’t give away your product is my big message.

You are putting all of this time and effort into it. So even if someone using a non-organic products is looking at trying to start off, don’t sell yourself short. That would be a big message that I would give out. That’s why I said I would never start less than $4 a bag in any market, really, because.

You have to put all the time and energy into it, you have to move your equipment back and forth. And again, it’s your business. It’s not just something. I mean, unless you really are doing it for fun, in which case, just give it,

[00:31:25] Steve Bivans: I still don’t, you know, look, we give away lots of popcorn. I mean, because nothing sells popcorn like popcorn.

for instance, we were just at the irish fair Minnesota. huge event, He, In the past they used to have something like a hundred thousand people this year. They had like 15,000, but it was still a big event. you know, if you, if you price yourself, Too low, you just start a race to the bottom for everybody else. people make the mistake. A lot of business is making the mistake of trying to be the cheapest. you know, when we started out, I was like, I do not want to be the cheapest.

I, I wanted to be the best popcorn that we can make within reason. Right. I mean, I’m sure we could probably source some of these ingredients from, you know, Zanzibar or somewhere and pay three times as much.

But would it make it three times better? Not necessarily. So we still try to find the best deal on coconut oil, which is actually Costco by the way. And nobody beats it. I’ve looked all over the planet for the best price on an organic coconut oil. But yeah, it’s, you know, it’s just a mistake To sell yourself short

[00:32:36] Payshee Felt: again, the big takeaway is this is your business. And if you eventually want to make it into something else trying to do giant jumps in price later on, as you do grow your business to help fund, maybe your um, transition to a bigger business model is very shocking to your clientele and your customer base. So you want to start off at a reasonable price point where you’re making enough and they’re getting a product they can afford, and then doing small increases as you build your model is, is probably the best way to do it.

And again, it could be event specific. Like when we go to a big festival, it’s always more expensive than it is like at a farmer’s market because there’s more fees involved for us.

[00:33:15] Steve Bivans: Yeah. I mean, for instance at the Irish fair. I mean, there’s, there’s a big fee to get in as a vendor and then there’s percentage on the back side that they want off the top.

I, my advice really, you starting out, find what you find your local farmer’s market. when, I mean local, I mean the smallest neighborhood one, where it’s, the fees are cheap, I mean, we could go like downtown the downtown market St.

Paul, But you know, their fees are high, you know, you might, you probably make that back. I’m sure. But we’re talking

[00:33:50] Payshee Felt: about the difference of maybe five times more expensive than our local market in our neighborhood

[00:33:55] Steve Bivans: right here. And when we say, I want to say, when we say price, you know, a $6 bag for us, that’s now a full gallon of popcorn, You know, and so the price also depends on how big your bag is, right? you know, very few people balk at the price. I mean, there, there are people that occasionally do, but they don’t really want popcorn to start with.

[00:34:17] Payshee Felt: Not even 1% of our customer base has ever even made a comment about price

[00:34:24] Steve Bivans: 1% maybe.

[00:34:27] David Crabill: In terms of the bags. You said earlier that you were using sip block bags inside of a paper bag to package your popcorn. And I was wondering, is that actually cheaper than just buying the big tube, kettle corn bags that you see at the.

[00:34:44] Steve Bivans: definitely not. It was definitely more expensive. We wanted, a certain look, it was really about the packaging, and we wanted a kind of classic look to it. So

[00:34:57] Payshee Felt: a bakery treat uh, with our sticker and our branding on it that people would remember, because again, we were our, our real thought here was that we were going to try and make a splash and make people.

[00:35:10] Steve Bivans: Right. And so we literally, the first week we did. We didn’t have the Ziploc inside of it.

[00:35:16] Payshee Felt: Very bad idea. Don’t do it.

[00:35:18] Steve Bivans: Don’t do that. And here’s why, because it doesn’t keep as well that way, especially when you’re popping it ahead of time. Now, if you were literally dumping it in the bag and they’re going to eat it right then, fine, you know, it’s just like in the movie theater, but not if they’re going to take it home or if you’re going to pop it, you know, if you’re doing cottage food, you gotta pre-bag.

It, you know, there were some of them, especially the classic and that had a lot to do with the ghee or the butter we were using it the first time was you know, someone was a little chewy. Nobody wants chewy popcorn, unless it’s caramel.

[00:35:53] Payshee Felt: It’s very susceptible to humidity. And so you need to encapsulate it in plastic. And you know, we wanted to have a very green footprint. We have this little cute electric truck. We use organic ingredients. We wanted to use compostable bags, but there just aren’t any, or at least at the time there weren’t any available for what we needed.

And so we were going to start off with just this wax paper bakery bag, and that was fail. So the next week we decided to use relocs inside of. The bakery bag and a reloc is just an industry term for a Ziploc bag,

[00:36:25] Steve Bivans: I think the second week we actually bought, the knockoff Ziploc bags from wherever the grocery store or somewhere.

But then we, quickly found some through another supplier that were way cheaper, but you have to buy them in bulk. Yeah. You said, you know, we bought like, I don’t know, a thousand or more um, it would be cheaper to do the two, you know, kettle corn bags and really the best deal on those is a place called polybagllc. com and they have the best deal on their website is from like 1997. It’s basically non-functional. Y ou can’t do anything there except for find their phone number and then call them, which they’re awesome.

People very helpful. And they get them out to you, man. They don’t mess around if you make an order and it’s going to be to you probably in the same week. that’s certainly a way to do it. I mean, you’re looking at a cost of between seven and 10 cents a bag So they’re pretty cheap.

Yeah, that’s, that’s just the plain bag with no label. You can get the ones that they have, the pre kettle corn thing on them, but we wanted our own branding. So we just get them plain. And we, we have stickers printed from print runner, I think that I designed and we get them printed and we just slap a sticker on them once we fill them.

the bag and sticker together. It’s under 20 cents which is, you know, you can do it cheaper but we wanted labels on our bags so that people got to know the brand and the flight knew what flavor they had and fell in love with the flavor and knew the name of the flavor. And we spent a lot of time on the names taglines and stuff.

[00:38:05] David Crabill: Yeah, I did want to ask about the flavor names and just flavors in general. You know, you talked a little bit about what flavors you started with. If somebody was trying to start a cottage, food, popcorn business, are there flavors you think that they need to focus on first and kind of side tangent to that is how did you actually come up with the names for your flavor?

[00:38:29] Payshee Felt: When I first started thinking about the popcorn business and what I wanted to do, I initially began thinking about cheese popcorn, because it’s seriously, it’s awesome. Right? Who doesn’t like cheese popcorn. Um, So I thought, okay, what kind of flavors can I make? And I thought about the flavors I like.

So I came up with a a taco cheese flavor because I like taco chip flavors, like the taco Dorito flavor or something similar to that from the seventies. Right. Again, cause we’re, we’re old David and then I thought just a regular kind of cheese flavor, maybe a little smoky flavor in it. And as I was thinking about the recipes to put these flavors together, I think about food that I make at home.

And how do I translate like my own Turkey taco recipe into a flavor for. Popcorn. And you’re like Turkey tacos and popcorn. Come on, lady. What the heck? But seriously, that was the evolution of that process. And the same was true with the, what we call our easy cheesy, au gratin. It’s my cheesy potato flavorings translated into the powdered ingredients that create our popcorn with that same name.

So what I did is I tried to incorporate some of the recipe names that I make on an everyday basis into the popcorn flavors. And that’s where they came from. The one difference I would say is herby flurby, which kind of came to me in a dream. How dumb does that sound? But that’s actually what happened. that’s the nutritional yeast based flavor.

And it was like, some people call that hippie dust. Some people call it nooch. Some people call it like brewers yeast. E ither way you look at it, it’s a little bit weird, you know, it’s not a normal thing that you might see on popcorn that you’d get at a movie theater. But it’s delicious. And I was like, hippie dust.

Okay. I need to come up with a name that’s like similar to that. I was like herbs and herby flurby because flurby sounds kind of goofy and hippie and fun. And so that’s how that one came up. And, you know, that’s a similar process to how we named the rest of our products. Like we have our chocolate covered caramel pretzel, corn that we make at Christmas time.

We had a heck of a time trying to figure out what to call that. Like at first we were like, oh, let’s call it Christmas crack. Well, if you look on the internet, there’s a billion things called Christmas crack that have nothing to do with popcorn. And we wanted to set ourselves apart. So we labored, I don’t know, maybe for hours of one.

Yeah. In the middle of summer. Right. Trying to think of a Christmas popcorn name for that coming year. And we came up with December decadence, cause we were like, well, we don’t want it to be holiday specific so we came up with that, but it, we take time to think about it Steve uh, came up with the name for our kettle corn, just our regular kettle corn with sugar, salt, oil, and popcorn. And he came up with old fangled kettle corn, It’s old fangled. So instead of new-fangled something it’s old fangled kettle corn, which is sort of like it’s old-timey but it’s a new spin on it because it’s organic.

We definitely put a lot of time into it because we have found that customers, they remember the names they become fans of certain brand names that we have. And that’s a big deal because that means they remember us and our product and they come back for more.

Right. And that’s, that’s what

[00:41:42] Steve Bivans: we want. My advice is to stand out, right. I mean, it’s like Seth Godin calls a purple cow, right? I mean, be a purple cow, not a brown cow. There’s plenty of brown cows out there. So if you stand out, people are more likely to remember you, And, and, you know, we try to do that in just about everything we do, right. I mean, from how we make the popcorn, you know, the ingredients themselves in the process all the way down to the bag and how, you know, how we make it live now.

I mean, you know, at Irish fair, I started, every time she cranked up that kettle, man, I started yelling out kettle corn time, you know, and, and, and we, then the crew would start screaming by the end of the weekend. The vendors next to us were screaming after I said, and I was like, what am I going to say?

You know, they’d start, you know, so have fun with it is a big one. Cause I’m like, if it ain’t fun, Yeah, it’s popcorn.

[00:42:43] Payshee Felt: So it can, it should be fun.

[00:42:45] Steve Bivans: You know, I tell people you better be fun for the customer. It ain’t gotta be fun for you necessarily all the time, but it should be fun, especially doing popcorn. It should be fun for the customer. It’s a fun food.

[00:42:55] Payshee Felt: You don’t have to eat popcorn. You can completely live your whole life without it. I don’t recommend that because it’s fun.

[00:43:01] Steve Bivans: We recommend you eat it every day.

[00:43:05] David Crabill: I did see route every bag we sell is really to a child either in years or in heart. And along those lines, I did want to ask about Payshee’s popcorn pals.

[00:43:18] Steve Bivans: Oh, yeah,

[00:43:20] Payshee Felt: Steve thought of this and it was a genius idea yet. Another one. That was the second season. And in the first season, we realized that a lot of kids, right. They’re very attracted to the bright colors and the popcorn because who doesn’t like popcorn. and we wanted to engage them on a different level and make them feel special. So he created just these little, like, you know, like, hi, my name is so-and-so sticker, but he put a header on, it says your popcorn pal. And then I would ask them their name and I would write their name on the sticker and they got to wear it.

And, oh my God did that energize. Not only them, but their parents were like, oh, that’s the sweetest thing. And from a capitalistic standpoint, they bought more popcorn brother. They bought more popcorn. So it was a great device. And not just to make more money, it was really to engage the community because we have some serious fans who are children.

[00:44:17] Steve Bivans: Well, one of the reasons why I wanted to do it. You know, I believe that this is serious, power in remembering people’s names. Right. And so we like to learn our customer’s names and we, we always try to have a name tag on ourselves, so they learn ours I mean, we have one guy, one little guy, man, Henry and Henry would show up.

I mean, I don’t know was like eight or nine, maybe nine or 10. Yeah. And, I know the second year when we didn’t, we weren’t there every week. I was there cause I was a manager and there were times when Payshee wasn’t and he would come around the corner with his mom and his siblings.

And he was looking for Payshee’s popcorn. and he would come around and he would just, his face would drop when he saw it. He’s like popcorn lady’s not here, you know? And I was like, she’ll be here next week. You know, I was like, it’ll be all right. Trust me, Henry. We’ll be back. So yeah, it’s a big, it’s a little tiny thing.

[00:45:17] Payshee Felt: Didn’t cost us. I mean,

[00:45:19] Steve Bivans: I didn’t, you know, I got the printable, you know, name tag sheets or whatever. and payshee would write their name on it stick it on their chest. And, and they just thought it was the biggest deal, you know?

[00:45:33] Payshee Felt: And then after a couple of weeks, the same kids would come by and say, can I have a sticker, can I have a sticker? That also created not only a sense of community, a sense of connectedness, but fans.

[00:45:43] Steve Bivans: And some of them kids, man, you can’t buy sales like that, salespeople like them. I mean, they’ll get their bag and they’ll go around and you should get Payshee’s popcorn. I mean, they’ll go all the way through the market, telling everybody they need to get popcorn. Can I give out

[00:46:00] Payshee Felt: free samples? Absolutely.

[00:46:03] Steve Bivans: So, you know, that’s why we give out samples. It’s like, people don’t want to give away, you know, product. And it’s like, it’s food, People want to know what it tastes like.

everyone, and this is something Greg sweet talked about. It’s like every kernel you giveaway is a seed for your business. And he was the master at given away samples. I mean, he would go out in front of his tent with a bag of kettle corn and just literally tell people, can’t go by unless you have some. And just dump it in their hands.

I mean, didn’t ask who would you like a sample? He’s like never, ever ask. Tell ’em. And so I did this at Irish, fair me and Momo, who was there helping us we’re out there with our little sample containers. And I literally was like, have some kettle corn and just dump it in their hands, up and down my competitors, well not competitors, the other food vendors lines and.

it worked, people came back later and I’m like, oh my God, that sample. That was the deal. He was like, you should just keep doing that. I was like, don’t worry. We’re going to keep doing it. And we gave out of popcorn at Irish fair.

[00:47:07] David Crabill: What’s the most you’ve ever sold at an event.

[00:47:10] Steve Bivans: It would be there. I mean, we,

[00:47:11] Payshee Felt: cottage,

[00:47:13] Steve Bivans: cottage food would have been that, that Cinco de Mayo with, with, with the worldly pop, like 119 bags of the 150 or something that we made.

Uh, So, you know, it was probably around $600 or so the, as, as cottage food, that was definitely the record.

[00:47:34] Payshee Felt: And that was like a six-hour event,

[00:47:35] Steve Bivans: right? Irish fair. Well, we popped 300 pounds of popcorn. A nd gross around 5,000.

[00:47:46] Payshee Felt: Three days,

[00:47:47] Steve Bivans: 30 hours. It was a marathon.

[00:47:53] Payshee Felt: We had a team of people that helped us too

[00:47:55] Steve Bivans: It was a marathon. It felt like a sprint

[00:47:57] Payshee Felt: is an excellent learning opportunity. We did not go negative

[00:48:00] Steve Bivans: COVID made it harder.

[00:48:03] Payshee Felt: And so crowds were lower. But it was still an excellent event. And so, as you can see from 2019 doing a one day event for six hours making $600 in pre-pop popcorn to 2021 doing a three-day event and making $5,000 in sales is a giant jump.

[00:48:23] David Crabill: You said that at the beginning pay, she asks, do you think it could make enough money eventually to retire on you’re now a few years into this what’s the answer.

[00:48:34] Steve Bivans: Yes. Question mark. Um, Yeah, it, it probably can. you know, we’ve had lots of discussions about this recently. This is why we’re laughing. What we’ve gotten into lately this summer just a little bit kind of basically getting our toes in it. Is catering like we’ve done, we did popcorn for like a popcorn bar for a wedding and then one for a bat mitzvah.

And we got an actual live popping event on Tuesday coming up that was catered and prepaid. So all I gotta do is show up and pop popcorn and hand it out.

And so doing that, that catering part, I think, we’ll probably be really big part of what we do in the future.

[00:49:25] Payshee Felt: So that plus farmer’s markets plus events, and then our holiday popcorn, we’re hoping will be our future paradigm and enough money for us to, for me to not have to have the corporate job and to take a few months in winter to not be in Minnesota. Cause it’s cold and snowy and rainy. I see. Sorry. That’s what I meant. Cold snowy and icy.

[00:49:53] David Crabill: So if you’re going to big events, big fairs, I know it costs a lot of money to get into those things, but if you’re making 5,000 plus dollars at an event and when COVID, you know, ends then it probably be making more because they’re going to be more people out at these events you said you’re still doing the farmer’s markets. Why would you still do the smaller event?

[00:50:14] Steve Bivans: Was almost no risk.

[00:50:17] Payshee Felt: Right. And it’s a steady, we know how much we’re going to make. Usually it’s a range. Typically it’s anywhere from three to 400 a week and for four hours on a Saturday, that’s nice grocery money. And so if we do that in addition to some events at least a couple of times a month, I mean, that’s just, that’s more steady income than a bigger event?

because, you know, whether it be the one contingent factor. Well there’s a couple of contingent factors with bigger events, weather plays a part.

And you know, COVID now has just thrown a wrench into a lot of things too. So you’re not sure about attendance. But weather is probably the biggest one. Cause if you get rained out at a big event, you’ve planned for large sales, and let’s say, you’re relying upon that for a big chunk of your annual income, and you don’t make it.

You are going to have to supplement with some other things. And so we want to make sure that we have a nice um, redundancy and robustness, if you will, to our business plan so that we have the steady eddy gigs, like a farmer’s market the catering, the holiday stuff, as well as the big events,

[00:51:20] Steve Bivans: right? For us, the west side farmer’s market, it’s our home. I mean, it’s, it literally feels like home when they’re there

[00:51:28] Payshee Felt: and it’s so easy to make money there because people know us, they just come and buy it. Right. It’s our home base. It’s like breathing.

[00:51:33] Steve Bivans: It’s easy now. That is where we established, you know, our existing customer base.

Some of the couple of the catering gigs that we’ve gotten lately through referrals from people, other vendors and customers from the market

[00:51:50] Payshee Felt: our recommendation would be that if you started a place like that, unless something catastrophically terrible happens where you don’t ever want to go back there to keep that, because that’s a nice way to continue to reseed, uh, future flowers for your business garden as it were and like I said, it’s just always a nice idea to have a couple of different ways to ensure that you have that money. So that if one thing fails, you have the, the backup.

[00:52:15] David Crabill: So Steve, have you ever, Do you think that you would have been as successful as you have been if you had not formerly been the manager of the farmer’s market and seen all the vendors over the years?

[00:52:30] Steve Bivans: No. I learned a whole lot. I mean, before I took that job, I didn’t know none about running a farmer’s markets . Or being a vendor or being a vendor really. but being there for six years watching, you know, not only the other vendors, but us as we started there a couple, three or four years?

ago was It definitely played a huge role in learning what works and what doesn’t,

[00:52:55] Payshee Felt: I would like to just speak to this whole, you know, when you first start as cottage food, find one of these little markets. Find that little community who will help you grow your business and collectively you’ll be more powerful than you would be ever on your own.

[00:53:10] Steve Bivans: yeah. And collaborate with other vendors.

Yeah. Yeah. For sure. We do this all the time. We trade some popcorn, which we’ll trade for, you know, beignets or cookies, whatever. we have live music at the market most of the time. And almost always take a bag of popcorn down there as tip for the musicians, like give them some popcorn.

Cause then they talk about it sometimes over the microphone. And, you know, it’s hard to buy that kind of advertising. And we, and we do it occasionally, you know, I just show up at the market and I’ll have an extra popcorn. I did a couple of weeks ago and I just went in there and I gave a bag to one of our key volunteers as like, just pass it, let everybody have some volunteers or whoever you want, it’s basically family, it’s not basically it is it is family and we treat it that way and they treat us that way.

[00:54:03] David Crabill: So you wrote that the dream has evolved as many times as there have been months.

[00:54:12] Steve Bivans: that was good. I don’t even remember writing that.

[00:54:14] David Crabill: Do you see any end to this?

[00:54:17] Steve Bivans: uh, end? I guess when we’re dead, when we’re

[00:54:19] Payshee Felt: dead, it might die. Unless my son wants to take it over. Right.

[00:54:23] Steve Bivans: I mean, we, I guess I mean it might come a point where we physically can’t do it anymore down the road, but. No, we, I mean, we’d love it. I mean, trust me, I mean, there are times still, Friday night at Irish fair, it was one, it was definitely way slower than what we were expecting.

It was Friday the 13th. However, I just remembered that today. I was like, Well, maybe that was it. it was okay, but it was like, wow, we’re really gonna have to ramp it up Saturday and Sunday to make it, I mean, we were depressed is a good word. That night, very dejected and down and the same thing the next morning.

And we got down there and we’re already exhausted. it was just me and pace at that point. and she was like, you know, starting to go down the drain emotionally. I was like, I was like, stop. He’s like, cause if you go down the toilet, I’m coming with you and then we ain’t gonna do nothing.

Right. it’s like, that’s not going to work. So we, somehow both of us have to change our attitude.

[00:55:26] Payshee Felt: And that’s a giant piece

[00:55:28] Steve Bivans: of ourselves out of the toilet here and get back to just get to work

[00:55:33] Payshee Felt: the same. It was a similar moment to God the day before

[00:55:38] Steve Bivans: Cinco, it was absolutely just like

[00:55:41] Payshee Felt: have to move past. Even though it’s painful

[00:55:44] Steve Bivans: and we’re like, why are we even doing this? Uh, it’s never going to work

[00:55:48] Payshee Felt: and it turned out great.

[00:55:50] Steve Bivans: I was like, I don’t have any control over the weather, which was high. It was sunny at least. I don’t have any control of the weather. I don’t have control over how many people show up to this event.

The only thing I can do is make popcorn and my attitude and my attitude, hopefully, theoretically I can anyway. And then, I was like, I can put popcorn in people’s mouths. And so that, that was my goal that day. I was like, I’m going to put, I’m going to get popcorn.

in every single person that comes by here, if I can. and I just did it over and over and over, it was exhausting, but I had fun with it too. You know, it was like, I’m the popcorn troll. You can’t get by, you know, whatever you . Have some popcorn for breakfast or, you know, second breakfast or whatever, and just kept doing it, kept doing it, kept doing it.

And it worked in the end. We sold popcorn. People came back. Oh my God, it was so good. I have to have a bag. I can control that. Find the energy somewhere. And I was, you know, I’m old guy, exhausted. My back was hurting. Everything was hurting, and I’m sweating and my sweat was sweating, I think at one point, but you just, you kind of have to just suck it up and keep going or quit.

Right. But if you quit, you know, see that’s

[00:57:01] Payshee Felt: just it. It’s like, David, you ask a good question. Do we want to keep doing this? Yes. Wholeheartedly. Yes. Yes. Yes. Because a bad day selling popcorn is significantly better than a great day in corporate America. and we believe it. Uh, Yes, we will do this and eventually it will be what sustains us until we are fully on social security and taking pension money. and maybe even into. I think we want to do this for as long as we can

but on the other side of it is a business. So you have to make time for it. You have to show up every day, you have to do your work, your due diligence, you have to pay your bills. You know, you have to get out there and, and make a plan.

And then you have to follow up with it. You have to get online to the boring stuff, like figure out, you know, your taxes, you have to do spreadsheets and you have to like, do your accounting and figure out your square reader and your POS system.

[00:57:52] Steve Bivans: Uh, and the website and social media. This is all stuff that I do all the time.

it’s a lot of stuff because when you’re starting now, you’re it. I mean, we can’t afford to pay somebody to do all that stuff. and it’s stuff you gotta do. I mean, you ain’t on, Facebook, you don’t exist as a business.

I mean, seriously. You know, and there’s obviously mostly hate relationship with Facebook. Uh, these days. it’s like, Amazon. It’s the big dog man, and you can’t avoid it. if you want to play on the playground, you gotta play with Facebook and Instagram, at least, there’s lots of stuff that’s got to be done, but in the end of the day, that’s our job. That’s what we do.

[00:58:37] David Crabill: Well, it’s really cool to hear how your business has grown over just a few short years, and If people want to learn more about you or find you, how can they get in touch?

[00:58:47] Steve Bivans: paysheespopcorn.com and Facebook, same thing, paysheespopcorn on Facebook, Instagram. Um, Yeah, I mean, those are the three big ones.

[00:58:59] David Crabill: thank you guys so much for coming on the show and sharing with us today. It’s been a pleasure

[00:59:06] Payshee Felt: Oh, our pleasure. Thank you so much.

[00:59:08] Steve Bivans: Absolutely. Thanks.

[00:59:11] David Crabill: that wraps up another episode of the Forrager podcast.

For more information about this episode, go to forrager.com/podcast/44

And if you enjoyed listening to this episode, please head over to apple podcasts and leave me a review. A review is the best way to support the show and we’ll help others find it as well.

and finally, if you’re thinking about selling your own homemade food, check out my free mini course, where I walk you through the steps you need to take to get a cottage food business off the ground to get the course, go to cottagefoodcourse.com.

Thanks for listening. And I’ll see you in the next episode.

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