Female Founders Series | Katherine, Crackle Caramel Popcorn

Hey guys, I’m Katherine and I’m the owner and creator of Crackle Caramel Popcorn. Oh did I also mention, I’m the maker, admin officer, marketing manager, customer service operator, bookkeeper and full time popcorn sales hustler too?

Multi-tasking is an understatement in my life. I have ALL my fingers, in all the inner workings of my business. To me, there is a sense of pride in growing, learning and challenging yourself in all aspects of your business. It gives me confidence to take charge, back myself and know exactly what I’m talking about.

Passion is my driving force and I never do things in halves. Some might say that’s been my key to success, and others say it’s the key to my madness but hey, it’s all up perception… right?

About the brand

Crackle Caramel Popcorn is the best caramel popcorn you’ve ever tasted. It’s super light, crunchy and free from any nasty preservatives or additives. I take pride in handcrafting it in small batches, and it’s because of this slow and mindful production method that my popcorn stands apart from other (market leading products) you’ll find at the supermarket.

People are always suggesting I should scale up and incorporate more machinery into my production method.

"But for me it's the human touch that gives our popcorn it's good vibe energy  when you're munching and crunching on a bag of Crackle Caramel Popcorn. This will always be an aspect of my business that I will refuse to compromise on."

What inspired you to start your own business?

I’m a classically trained pastry chef by trade and really love the connection I have with food. I truly believe that great food is derived from mindful cooking methods, instilling the passion from your heart through to your hands, and then into the food that you eat.

Having my own business allows me to practice mindful cooking methods and I’m able to spend the time it takes to consciously make a product without the pressure of cutting the costs in labour and ingredients.  

"I’m hoping I can show people that when food is made consciously with the best intentions, it can be more satisfying than consuming a large quantity of cheaply made product."

Share the biggest challenges you’ve overcome or faced as a female founder.

"My biggest challenge has nothing to do with being a female, but rather being a mindful maker."

It's impossible to compete with the big brands in regards to production costs and pricing. The challenge comes when my popcorn sits on a supermarket shelf, right next to the big brands (which are a third of the price of my Crackle Caramel Popcorn) and trying to convince a customer to buy my popcorn over a recognised brand.

Fortunately / unfortunately in Australia, we've been blessed with low cost groceries (which is great for the weekly budget), but I can’t help feel that Australian's may have also lost touch with how much it actually costs to produce food.

The other day I saw a jar of Mexican Salsa which cost $1. Looking at this jar made me wonder - how this is physically possible?! When you start to consider how much it costs the farmer to grow the ingredients, and pick and pack them. Then the cost of transport and manufacturing, labelling and bottling. Add the cost of transport again and then the profit the shop selling it will need to make on top of that for wages and operational costs... you start to realise that it doesn't add up. Somewhere within that production chain, someone is losing out.

Is it the farmers on the other side of the world, or the pickers that they hire for next to nothing?  Or is it the consumer, who's eating sub-par quality food that are made with high intense plant fertilisers and chemicals?

Re-educating people to ‘Eat Less, but Eat Better’ or to ‘Consciously Consume’ and truly care and understand where their food comes from, needs to be part of the bigger conversation in Australia. 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who gave you this golden nugget?

I heard this on a show a few years back. A man who has had an ice cream business of 20+ years was being interviewed and I thought his message was perfect in its simplicity.

"The secret to a good business is believe in what you’re doing, love what you’re doing, and never give up."