Welcome to Season 4, Episode 3 of the Indie Business Podcast! This season is all about celebrating finalists in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards. So far, I've connected you with Riche Holmes Grant from the Style category and Gilyn McKelligon from the Design category. Today, it's about the Food category, and I'm pleased to introduce you to Colin Fickes and Mary Collins, the brother/sister team behind Humdinger Juice in Raleigh, North Carolina!
Colin is a former Hollywood actor who traded in his screen actor's guild card for a chance to own and manage a business of his own making and selling cold pressed juice made with local, organic ingredients. Launched in 2013 with a $600 juicer and a vision to serve the community, Humdinger Juice is a finalist in Martha Stewart's American Made Competition in the Food Category, and you will love their story! Enjoy my interview with Colin and Mary NOW!
Listen to the Audio
Episode Show Notes
- How Colin started Humdinger Juice, including transitioning from Hollywood to the purchase of a $600 juicer and a life-changing Saturday market confirmation. (starting at 3:08)
- Mary shares how she felt and what she thought when Colin invited her to quit her job and go into business with him. (starting at 7:30)
- How Colin remains content with where Humdinger Juice in the present, while also chasing the next thing for him and his business. (starting at 10:55)
- Mary talks about how loving what she does at Humdinger Juice helps her continue to create the life she loves. (starting at 14:29)
- Talking about the Maker Dream Business: color, readily available ingredients, equipment, passion, leveraging online sales and offline sales … (starting at 17:15)
- Colin shares the stages of his business and how much money he invested, from the first juice press to creating recipes, procuring permits, embracing regulations, locating a kitchen and retail space, going through inspections, etc. (starting at 20:38)
- On letting employees go in order to minimize expenses as you increase production. (starting at 23:42)
- Humdinger Juice's customers love meeting Colin and Marya when they deliver their juice. (starting at 27:28)
- A bit about the Humdinger Juice business model and systems that support selling a non-pasteurized juice that has a 5-day shelf life. (starting at 28:38)
- How Colin discovered the Martha Stewart American Made Awards, and how to vote for Humdinger Juice. (starting at 36:20)
- Colin's and Mary's tips for starting an artisan food business. (starting at 39:27)
- Where you can buy Humdinger Juice in Raleigh. (starting at 39:27)
Colin Fickes, Humdinger Juice
Five Actions You Can Take Right Now
At the Indie Business Network, we are not just about listening and being inspired. We are also about thinking carefully about what we hear, and then taking measured steps toward specific goals. Here are 5 actions you can consider taking right now based on my interview with Colin and Mary.
- Don't compete on price: Colin and Mary do not price their juice to be the cheapest option, they pric it to be the best option. Everything from their story to how they help their customers take better care of their health points to value proposition after value proposition behind the Humdinger brand. Do not build your brand around price alone. Build it around value.
- Get out into the community: Mary said that her favorite part of Humdinger Juice is delivering the product to people who love hearing about how juicing can change their lives for the better. People buy from people they know, like and trust, and when Mary shows up, those realities are reinforced. People are not really buying your products. They are buying YOU.
- Learn the regulations that apply to your business: Colin talked about the research he did to make sure he knew and followed regulations for the production and sale of food. All industries have some kind of requirements, so be sure to research and follow the ones that apply to your business.
- Lean on friends and family where possible: Colin shared how he got every friend he possibly could to help with tasks needed to start Humdinger Juice. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If nothing else, you'll discover who your true friends are.
- Do more with less: Colin talked about how necessary it was to go from seven employees to three. It is very hard to let people go, but you have to learn how to do it. Sometimes, you'll do it because you need to maximize revenues and sometimes you'll do it because of performance and/or personality challenges. But you will have to do it. Be prepared for this. As Colin said, letting people go when necessary was an important part of the company's growth, allowing him to ramp up production without also driving up expenses.
Explore Additional Resources
Rebus Works Saturday market, Raleigh, NC
The Morning Times restaurant
Open Door yoga studio, Raleigh
Ladyfingers Caterers local event catering service, Raleigh
Respite Cafe coffee shop, Durham
Terra Vita Food and Drink Festival – October 8 – 10, Chapel Hill
GotToBeNC North Carolina Department of Agriculture program
Vote for Humdinger Juice
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