Name: Jeri Freeman & Lauren Ohl
Business/Location: Stack Happy Sweets / Montville, New Jersey
Specialty: Creating unique and custom flavor combinations of bite-sized desserts for special occasions
What problem does your business solve?: Other desserts box you in to one flavor. By offering a variety of petite treats, our customers enjoy many flavors with less guilt.
What makes your business unique?: We pride ourselves on our unique flavors and re-imagining traditional desserts into delicious Stack layers. Our menu features 8 Signature flavors, 4 Nutty flavors and 4 Extreme flavors, plus we have more than a dozen special flavors we introduce throughout the year depending on the holiday or our mood. We call them New Stacks On The Block and they always garner much excitement on social media.
What’s your story?: We met years ago when our oldest sons became friends. As we chatted during drop off/pick up, we discovered we were both foodies looking for something to do with our free time. Our conversations led to several food business ideas, and we settled on desserts as it seemed to leverage our skill sets. Plus we had five kids and two husbands who were happy to be our taste testers!
The first flavor we created was Uptown Brownie (brownie topped with peanut butter and sweet & salty pretzels) for our family of sweet & salty peanut butter lovers. It was a huge hit! After perfecting the brownie recipe, we moved on to creating our other unique flavor bases like Lime Blondie, Coffee Bar and Snickerdoodle. After many combinations and permutations, we settled on 10 flavors to showcase at a local marketplace. There we got some “real” customer feedback along with a bunch of orders. Soon we were on our way to satisfying other sweet tooths with our petite treats. Our boys are now driving and heading off to college, but we’re happy to be on this journey together and look forward to more sweet success.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: As Nike says "Just Do It". Try not to over analyze things. Talk to anyone and everyone - you'll learn so much and grow in the process. People have been so generous with their expertise and industry knowledge (especially Djenaba!). We have been pleasantly surprised by all the support we've received from family, friends and even strangers we've met along the way.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business: There is so much we didn't know before heading down this path but we've been able to divide and conquer. This has worked really well for us; as issues arise we discuss and tackle them. We knew we would have to communicate but how we communicate has become critical. The key for us is to speak freely, listen carefully and keep our business objectives at the forefront of our decisions.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it: Packaging by far has been our biggest challenge. There are so many components to it depending on which customer we're serving and we've gone down several unsuccessful paths. We are tackling our packaging challenge by remaining focused on the key attributes (product protection, ease of use, flexible size, clean look) and working with partners who are committed to our success. It has been an iterative process, but we're getting close to launching a solution for our corporate clients.
What are you most proud of about your business: We are most proud when we see people's positive reactions upon tasting our Stacks. While they may not know what to expect, their smiles are testaments that we're on the right track.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur? We both love being in the kitchen and handcrafting Stacks but the rest depends on who you ask. Jeri loves the creative aspect to the business ... creating new flavors, developing the website and designing marketing materials. Lauren loves the social aspects of the business ... heading up the sales efforts, networking and overseeing our social media presence.
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