Meet the Makers

It’s time for Meet the Makers! Meet the Makers is a trade show where our Members have the opportunity to show off their products and connect with industry partners, investors, mentors, and customers. It is a sneak peek into items that are not yet available in our stores, and yes, there are samples… lots and lots of samples! This Saturday March 23rd from 4:00 - 6:00 PM is one of two annual opportunities to meet all of our members and sample their products, you do not want to miss this!

Read about how some of our makers, Nicole Aandahl of Ella May Candy and Confections, Luis Solis of Caribe, and Nik Zhodi of Ignite Bars, are preparing for the event below. Don’t forget to grab your ticket before they’re sold out!

1. How are you preparing for Meet the Makers?

Caribe: I am bringing a lot of juices from the Dominican Republic and also working on our sales pitch for our new line of products.

Ella May: I am making a bountiful candy buffet for our friends and guests.  Aside from making loads of sweets I am going to make sure my table looks as inviting as possible! I'll also have candies for purchase.

Ignite: Lots of baking, packaging and designing marketing materials!

2. What products are you sampling at MTM?

Caribe: We are sampling our two lines: Origin Exotic and Caribe. Caribe is a cold pressed fruit base line that is made with tropical fruits. While Origin, is a 100% fruit and vegetable functional line featuring three cold pressed juices and three smoothies.

Ella May: Events like this really spark my creativity! My table will feature two types of praline, two types of nougat, two types of peanut brittle, and multiple flavors of fruit chews and lollipops.

Ignite: I will be sampling three flavors of Ignite Bars: Salted Chocolate, Peanut Butter Hemp and Caramel Coconut Chia

3. What are you hoping to learn from participating in the event?

Caribe: I am looking to get feedback on our newest line of product!

Ella May: My sole purpose in candy-making is to make people happy and give them artisanal sweets worthy of the indulgence. Therefore I am seeking specific feedback about flavor and quality.

Ignite: I am hoping to learn more about what it takes to go from being a small startup food company to a large scale nationwide company. I am interested in meeting different buyer/investors and learning what attracts them to certain food products and why.

4. What are you most excited to tell people about your product?

Caribe: That is sourced directly from small farmers in the Dominican Republic. We proudly only work with smaller impoverished farmers.

Ella May: That I use only natural flavors and colors, and use local ingredients as much as possible.  I will also love to share that my company is named after my grandmother and that I first learned candy-making from my mom.

Ignite: I am excited to talk about functional nutrition and how Ignite Bars incorporates this concept into our products to create the most fueling energy bar out there!

5. Is this your first time demoing for potential customers? If not, what have you learned from previous demos?

Caribe: Not my first time. I have learned that I must listen to customers in order to keep improving the product and the brand, it is a never ending process of improvement in order to be successful.

Ella May: This is not my first candy demo - and the one thing that I have learned is that no one ever takes just one piece of candy, they often sneak back for seconds.

Ignite: This will be my first time!

6. What has been the most challenging and/or surprising aspect of developing your product?

Caribe: Every aspect is challenging but the most challenging is the label, it is so subjective and there is so much you want to say on it and such little space. I've learned to keep it simple.

Ella May: I could really use an extra pair of hands!  Also, it is currently more time consuming to package my products that it is to prepare them.  That is primarily because I see every piece of candy as a gift worthy of careful wrapping

Ignite: Production has without a doubt been and will be the most challenging aspect of developing my product. It's amazing how things change from making small batches in your personal kitchen to large scaled batches in a commercial kitchen I constantly have to make small adjustments to make my production more efficient and effective. It will definitely be an ongoing process as I move forward.

7. First impressions are everything, if you only had five words to describe your product to a customer, what would you tell them?

Caribe: High Quality Juice, Great Price

Ella May: Sweet, fresh, fun, luxe, and worth it.

Ignite: Healthy Snacking Sparked by Functional Nutrition (that’s six but “by” doesn’t count :) )

Don’t miss out on attending Meet the Makers and sampling products made by Ignite Bars, Ella May Confections, and Caribe. Buy your tickets now!

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