Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ice, Ice Baby

Bev and Charlotte are two mothers who met while dropping their children at school.  It didn’t take long after meeting for them to discover their matching entrepreneurial spirits.  They discussed numerous ideas and projects, constantly coming up with new businesses to research and pursue.  Over the years, they filled up files with notes on their various plans and investigations, which included running their own newspaper, hosting murder mystery dinners, and operating an advertising and PR firm.  With so much drive, it was inevitable that something would break through for them.

Using their family members as guinea pigs, Bev and Charlotte also dedicated significant time to studying home remedies and herbal properties, and working up a variety of concoctions.  One day, they were talking to a friend who was suffering from a foot condition.  He was an Air Force pilot who had served three tours of duty, often wearing heavy boots for days at a time, so the affliction was pretty bad.  After some discussion, Bev and Charlotte felt sure that they could help with his problem.

Formulating a natural recipe, they bought the ingredients and cooked up the mixture on Charlotte’s stove.  They mailed it off to their friend and waited.  Eventually, they heard back from him that it had worked.  With that small success, it seemed they had found the right outlet for their ambitions.  The pair went into business making all-natural salves to deal with difficult skin issues.  They began selling to several health stores, herbal markets, and even doctor’s offices in their home state.

It was during this time that they came up with the idea for a unique candy made from an all-natural syrup with a unique name.  Xylitol originated as a safe sweetener that wouldn’t affect insulin levels in people with diabetes.  However, it was also determined to be beneficial to great dental health because germs and bacteria won’t stick to it.  Bev and Charlotte wanted to create a healthy candy that would taste so good that their grandchildren would eat it the same way they liked to eat sugary sweets.  There were a few varieties on the market, but none had the zing or burst of flavor the women felt was necessary in a delicious alternative to regular candy.

Being novices in the world of candy making, they weren’t limited by too much of the wrong information.  With little knowledge of the industry at large, they didn’t learn until later that making hard candies from Xylitol wasn’t thought to be possible.  Which really didn’t matter, because by then, they’d already made one.

Most hard candy is made by machines and formed into small pieces that are exactly the same size. Bev and Charlotte came up with a unique process that really makes their candy stand out from the competition. Their candy is made in large pans and when it hardens, it gets hit with a hammer, shattering the candy into different size pieces. The result is candy that looks like different sizes of ice chips and that’s how they got their name. Today, Ice Chips Candy is sold in 17 different flavors ranging from peppermint to piña colada.

It took less than a month for Bev and Charlotte to realize that their healthy Ice Chips Candy was a million dollar idea.  Everyone they talked to wanted it and told their friends.  People clamored for more flavors, and stores began asking to carry it.  Moving from the garage into a legitimate shop building, they hired office assistants, a bookkeeper, and their own husbands to help with the business.  Within three years, they had sales approaching a million dollars and were selling Ice Chips in all fifty states. They even employed their grandkids to teach them about business.

How did they go from two grannies in a garage to a multi-million dollar business? Here’s their advice on how to follow your dreams and make a big impact too:  “Begin with a passion to make your product the best it can be, then engage talented, successful people to hook up with your vision.  Together you can make anything possible!” 

There’s no minimum age to start living your dreams, and passion has no expiration date either. Bev and Charlotte are both grandmothers with 37 grandchildren between them.  What’s the perfect age to launch your dream?  How about…now!

Until next week...

Live Your Dreams


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