Jessie’s Nutty Cups shares these sweet tips for business success
Spreading one nutty smile at a time
Jessica Taige had aspirations of being on Broadway and no formal background as a chocolatier, however, Jessie’s Nutty Cups, a 2020 FedEx Small Business Grant winner, came to life after an experiment making desserts for a friend’s farewell
party. As Jessica continued to pursue her dreams of being on stage, she worked in restaurants and started to sell her nutty cups to patrons she met at work. They became so popular that a new career direction was forged, and her small-business brand was formed. Now, as a self-taught chocolatier, Jessica’s customers’ happiness and smiles drive her to produce quality, creative chocolate nutty cups on a daily basis.
We chatted with Jessica for a little Q&A to get answers to some of the top questions and challenges asked by small businesses looking to grow their business.
As you were preparing to build your own business, at what point in your life did you realize that you’re an entrepreneur?
I knew I was an entrepreneur when I quit my job at a restaurant for the second time because I needed to focus on my own business. I had a huge order come in and I realized with people placing orders that I had the responsibility to fill those orders. I knew I needed to get out of the restaurant and spend more time in the kitchen.
Where did you get your knowledge for running a business, including operations and marketing?
The first class I took was Fast Track, which was a general entrepreneurship class for people who wanted to start their own business that encompassed all sorts of business types. I didn’t necessarily realize how much I learned until I took a class at Hot Bread Kitchen, which was specifically geared towards food businesses. That’s when I realized I knew more than I thought I did and actually have much more of an operating business than I was giving myself credit for. In terms of marketing, I feel like I’m still figuring that out since I’m doing that on my own. Aside from the entrepreneurship classes, other small-business owners, such as those she met at Hot Bread Kitchen, have been extremely helpful.
What’s your long-term goal for Nutty Cups? Where do you hope to be down the road?
I want Nutty Cups to reach as many people as possible. I still have this little dream of having a little Nutty Shop that would serve coffee, wine and beverages to go with it. But overall, I want to continue to keep growing and reaching more people, spreading those nutty smiles.
What are your top 3 tips for small-business success?
- Find your community to lean on. Whether it’s fellow small-business owners or fans on social media, asking questions and having conversations with those who share my passions and are excited to grow and learn has been really helpful.
- Listen to your customers. New flavors for the Nutty Cups are often based on season and, more importantly, customer feedback. I’m inspired to create new and different flavors from customer suggestions and recommendations.
- Stick to your end goal. Seeing people happy and smiling is what gets me moving every day. Stick to your goal and it will be worth it at the end of the day.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest winners like Jessica are doing creative and exciting things in their businesses. See more inspirational winner stories and get insights for business success from past grant contest winners, plus other entrepreneurs and small-business experts.