After being laid off from her marketing manager job at Nintendo in 2008, Felecia Hatcher and her now husband Derek Pearson, launched a mobile business, Feverish Ice Cream and Gourmet Pops. The duo decided to give the traditional neighborhood ice cream truck a new twist. Investing $2,000 on their first two carts, they hand-painted the vintage looking wagons. It even had a physical store in Miami for a short while.
Today, Feverish Pop’s eco-friends trucks and pushcarts can be found at special events, catering to adult customers with 12 unique flavors such as Pineapple Basil and Strawberry Balsamic; and also a line of spiked pops with flavors like Mango Bourbon and Watermelon Ginger Vodka.
The boutique gourmet popsicle company’s core business is now branding its products for big corporate clients such as Google, Forever 21, Adidas, Cadillac, Universal Music, Bacardi and Vitamin Water. Imagine producing 5,000 Strawberry Mojito popsicles with David Guetta’s name on the sticks and wrappers to be used as a give away to promote his new album. Or making 10,000 branded popicles for Google to hand out at the Republican National Convention. The majority of the business being fulfilling bulk orders for corporate clients.
“It is a pretty cool niche that we have carved out for ourselves,” says Hatcher. Her company also does private labeling for a major yogurt franchise, called 32 Degrees A Yogurt Bar, which wanted to offer its customers gourmet popsicles.
32 Degrees is a self-serve yogurt bar concept offering 14 individual and ever-rotating flavors of yogurt, along with over 50 different and always-changing toppings such as hand-cut fresh fruits. Founded in 2010, the Birmingham-based midsize frozen yogurt chain has 20 stores in nine states.
“32 degrees is our biggest client that we have. The frozen yogurt market is a saturated business. We create branded popsicle flavors that we ship to them. We also incorporate some of their yogurt flavors and turn that into a popsicle,” says Hatcher.
The 30-year-old entrepreneur is living her vision, recalling how early on she wanted record labels to pay her to hand out free pops and play their music. By showing up and handing out free samples at fashion shows, concerts, night clubs and events on South Beach, Feverish Pops got noticed by major corporations. Her colorful mobile cart, and lines of customers, caught the eye of marketing reps.
“I worked in experimental marketing. My job from a marketing standpoint over ten years was to create campaigns for companies. Big companies were sampling their products because it gained traction and got people talking,” she explains.
Hatcher relies heavily on social media and client feedback when coming up with new flavors and lines for a special event. A heavy focus in 2014 is getting into major retail chains like Whole Foods, Walgreens and Fresh Markets. Also on the horizon is licensing or franchising the brand concept to a small business in Dubai.