Tanesha Sims-Summers knows that sometimes friends make the best business partners. Magic City Momma recently spoke with her about, Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co, the company she co-owns with Tiffany Turner.
Tell me about your company, Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co.
Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co was started in July of 2014 by two best friends in Birmingham, Alabama. The idea of starting a business started over 25 years ago when we used to sell Popsicles during the Alabama and Auburn Games that were played at Legion Field stadium. Our neighborhood was packed with cars for blocks and blocks. We were adventurous little girls with dreams. Fast forwarding to today, we were able to pursue a concept that gave us that same nostalgic feeling of selling Popsicles car to car or even hearing the ice cream truck.
Our concept is currently mobile. We sell fresh hand-popped kettle corn. All of our flavors have a Sweet and Salty base, hence the name Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn. We connect with our customers by doing various farmers markets such as Pepper’s Place Farmers Market, Urban Cookhouse Markets in The Summit Mall and Homewood Park and Ross Bridge. We do private events, networking events, corporate, weddings and other community events. Outside of this, our Popheads can find us at Sozo Trading Co, in Avondale, Alabama, or by sending an email request to email@example.com.
Why did you decide to start it?
There is always a profound moment that drives people to take steps towards entrepreneurship. I do believe that it’s something many are born with, it’s just a matter of who will tap into it or not. I’ve always known that I was supposed to do something outside of Corporate America. While I’ve learned a lot such as leadership and management, sales strategies and planning as well as a great mixture of experience, I’ve always felt it was something more and I wouldn’t be satisfied until I at least tried. The “thing” that really pushed me over the edge and inspired me to step out was the birth of my last two children. My aunt knew how badly we’ve always wanted to start a business and thought this would be fun and exciting to introduce to the Birmingham Market. She also knew I didn’t want to go back and spend thousands of dollars paying someone to see all of their first while I put endless effort into moving up the corporate ladder. I’ve always done well in corporate America but that wasn’t enough. I enjoy utilizing all of my skills I’ve acquired over the years in my previous Careers and being able to apply them to my own company. I am able to meet and surround myself with more like minded entrepreneurs as well as give back in ways that I never imagined such as mentorships, community and motherhood.
My partner, Tiffany, has many of the same sentiments. She values her time and freedom and has always admired successful entrepreneurs. She loves the creative side of growing a business and giving back to the community.
What can people expect when they purchase your kettle corn?
People can always expect a fresh consistent product that they will easily become addicted to. They can also always expect a fun experience and stellar customer service.
What is the hardest part of having your own business?
The hardest part of owning your own business is knowing when to shut it off. It’s easy to find yourself sleeping, eating and drinking the business all of the time because it’s a part of you. but it’s important to allocate time you’ll spend on the business and learn to shut it off and reset yourself daily. It can also be tough to create systems that can be duplicated for long term growth because you become so concerned with trying to be there and make sure it’s done a certain way. Spend time on systems.
What’s the easiest? The Easiest is the freedom to schedule your days accordingly based on the load you have. Also, working hard comes pretty easy especially when you know your efforts will determine your success. No caps if the business is done right. You don’t have to settle for just 50 or 60 k a year. The sky can be the limit.
What advice do you have for women interested in starting their own business?
Ask yourself can I really do this? Can I deal with the good of the business as well as when things seem a bit grim? Am I prepared to make efforts to evolve myself and my business? Will I commit to training and development and getting out of my comfort zone? If so, you can do it. Be sure you have examined all of the aspects of the business positive and negative. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Get a mentor or a business coach to help you through difficult decisions. Use all resources. It’s always great to get an outside prospective. Keep God First! Stay Positive. Don’t give up. Have fun!
What advice do you have for women who are juggling raising a family while pursuing their dreams? Well I know this all too well. I’m a wife and a mother of four. I would say make sure that you have your families support as in your husband if you have one, and or children. Make sure they understand your commitment and that they may even have to become a part of the business. It takes everyone being all in and working as a team. It can put a lot of strain on relationships so keep the goal clear and try to make it fun for everyone. Put your family first. Although we wouldn’t want to think of a business ending in a disaster, the reality is that you may have to try something else. You don’t want to live with regrets of putting all of your time and energy into a business and missing out on time with your family. Try and find balance and Communicate.
What’s next for Tanesha Sims-Summers and Naughty But Nice?
Well my partner and I are masterminding on how to take the brand and this awesome product to the next level. We are working to increase presence and awareness and creating a brand that so many will love and know for years to come.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
If you haven’t tried our addictive kettle corn it’s a must. Become a Pophead for life. Taste it, we dare you.