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Meet Lauren McMullen of Craft Corn

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren McMullen.

Lauren, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
It all started when my daughter and I were traveling to Toronto and went on a food tour. Our tour started at an amazing popcorn company where we sampled all of their unique flavors, and incidentally, I am a huge popcorn fan! Anyway, we left having purchased the perfect flavors for each of our family members back in San Diego. It was at this moment; I realized this was just the thing that was missing from the So Cal snack scene.

It turns out, the instinct to bring our gourmet brand to the community was a good idea. The San Diego/Southern California region welcomed us with enthusiasm as our SoCal flavors brought something fresh, new, tasty and fun. People were surprised and delighted when they first tasted our Watermelon Pineapple Tajín. They were even more excited when they learned to pair this with their favorite cocktail… (we recommend having a margarita)! Another favorite with other customers is pairing our Churro popcorn with a delicious coffee or hot chocolate.

Three years later, our customers can find us in multiple outlets both locally and nationally. These include fine retailer Nordstrom Ebars, local gourmet markets such as Seaside Market, Ranch 45 in Del Mar, and many high-end hotels such as Estancia La Jolla, Rancho Bernardo Inn, and the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Craft Corn also caters to corporate gifting and related events and are currently working on many orders for “return to office” swag bags. Customers can also buy Craft Corn and accompanying gifts through our website at www.eatcraftcorn.com.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
We have encountered challenges as we have grown. One particular challenge has been resisting the urge to grow too fast and to engage in too many channels of distribution. It has been our goal at Craft Corn to stay true to our core values by building strong, long-lasting relationships with our customers and our vendors. This has been one of the most fulfilling parts of running a small business, especially having gone through the year we have all just experienced.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I have been fortunate to have some terrific mentors who sit on my advisory board. These are entrepreneurs who have grown various consumer brands and have experience that I have been able to benefit from as a startup. My advice to your readers is to find those trusted people in your life who you believe in and who have road-tested experience in business. And make sure to hire experts in key areas of bookkeeping, taxes and legal. In my case, it also doesn’t hurt to be have an extremely supportive husband with 30 years of finance experience working with business owners and entrepreneurs!

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