Founder of Seacoast Sweets Kirstyn Pearl started selling her grandfather’s peppermint patties out of her dorm before she started selling treats year-round and across the country in 2015, with a revenue stream of nearly $100K last year. Up until this January she kept her full-time job as a financial analyst, clocking in 100+ hours weekly to keep her job and business afloat. Now she aims to add a few extra hands, has moved from her mom’s kitchen to a factory space she built herself, sells three additional flavors — coconut, peanut butter and s’mores patties — and shifted her clientele to corporations, wedding planners, and more recently, hotels.
Create Buzz for Your Sweets
Pearl has a social media manager (@RPRboston), but she also seized opportunities to garner media attention and network with locals and other businesses. She advises, “Take advantage of all the amazing Facebook networking groups out there and don’t be afraid of the big names or opportunities — just ask. A lot of marketing/business programs at colleges also choose start-ups to do projects with — that’s free, out-of-the-box ideas and consulting for you!”
Pearl bootstrapped her business initially. She says, “I pumped a lot of my own money in at first, but it still wasn’t much. Luckily, I just needed enough to get me through my first holiday season and I knew the money that came in for those two months would be enough to carry me through to the new year.” Pearl then created a business proposal and presented it to my boss at the time. She offered him a portion of her company.
In March 2016, Pearl was going to be in the Boston Globe and saw it as an opportunity to do a crowdfunding campaign, so she could raise enough money for inventory. Her goal was $36k in 30 days. She reached $5k in just 48 hours and thought she had it in the bag. She says, “Then you realize you have 28 more days and you have to get REALLY creative. I became that girl hitting up every networking event and mentioning the Kickstarter campaign in the same breath as my first name.” Needless to say she met and exceeded her goal.
Now, she continues to sell online, in several retail locations and still hits up her local farmers markets.
Pearl’s Advice to Other Women Entrepreneurs
Pearl recently hired a new business development director. She’s focusing on the hotel sales and slowing down retail sales. She’s taking the quieter months to (finally) revisit a long-term strategy, applying her years of financial analysis experience to her own company.
We’re confident this approach will lead to sweet success for Seacoast!