atlanta's independent entrepreneur network
Steven Carse is the King of Pops.
LRBN: We’re in this (metaphorical) elevator together for 30 floors – Hi there, what do you do?
SC: Make and sell popsicles.
LRBN: I think most of us are pretty familiar with your popsicles, but just for kicks, what makes them different from any other old popsicles you can pick up at the corner store?
SC: We make them with a lot of love. We make an effort to use local, organic produce whenever possible. Also, since we're making on such a small scale, we can try anything. No preservatives or processed sugars.
LRBN: Leaving a job (voluntarily or not) seems to be the catalyst for a lot of people to start their own gigs these days. The big question for people who want to do that is often funds in that situation. So let’s talk cash. How did you fund this thing of yours?
SC: Savings. I'm young enough that I wasn't afraid to extend myself.
LRBN: Did you have a projected plan or timeline to break even or make a profit when you started, or is trial and error?
SC: Sure, I had a plan, but it was based on very little knowledge. Essentially trial and error.
LRBN: So how good was your guesswork?
SC: Not bad. It's gone better than I expected.
LRBN: Good job! You seem to be a marketing and social media genius - you're everywhere! What's your secret?
SC: I guess part of it is try to be everywhere. I don't go very many places without my popsicle cart. We try to go to events that we would want to go to anyway. Aside from that, just have fun with it. We are selling popsicles, so it doesn't have to be incredibly serious.
LRBN: Have you noticed better results from Facebook or Twitter or something else I'm probably not even aware of? Do you find that the same people are responsive in all those places or do you get different hits through the different mediums?
SC: For the people that are looking at the menu every day Twitter is better I think. More people on Facebook just look when they get home. Both work great though, and as far as generating buzz, Facebook might be better.
LRBN: Any surprises to owning your own business (positive or otherwise)?
SC: I told myself when I was unemployed that I was getting my time off then, and I would be working really hard once I started the business. I had no idea how hard the work would be. It's been a lot of fun, but 15 to 17 hours a day, every day. And I know I wouldn't be able to do it if I didn't like it.
LRBN: What's the biggest mistake you’ve made along the way?
SC: Not sure. Made a lot. Maybe papaya popsicle attempts.
LRBN: Hahahah. fair enough. How did you build up your customer base? There was a lot of buzz around the mural by Buddy's before you launched. Was that the main avenue?
SC: Ya. When we painted the mural a lot of people asked about it, and then the food blogs took it up. From there the attention has just kept going.
LRBN: What’s next for King of Pops?
SC: A few more carts, some tabletop freezers with local artists for coffee shops, and tons of new flavors.
LRBN: Looking forward to that! Any parting words? (Please feel free to shamelessly promote yourself here if you so desire…)
SC: It's been a lot of fun, and I think the reason is people are dealing with popsicles, so I usually get them at their best. So I'm thankful for that. Everyday I watch a bunch of people sitting in traffic, and although I'm only about 4 feet away, if you get out of your car and take a breath and eat a popsicle it's pretty easy to start unwinding and feeling a lot better.