Meeting Jessie Taige of Jessie’s Nutty Cups is a sweet experience—literally. The young, energetic entrepreneur radiates joy, just like the salty-sweet nut butter cups she creates.
Originally started to supplement her acting career, Jessie began making nutty cups full time in February of this year. Now she creates seven delicious flavors (plus an additional flavor of the month) out of shared kitchen space in Hot Bread Kitchen’s Incubator in Harlem, where she’s lived for seven years.
We caught up with Jessie to hear her 5 tips for aspiring food entrepreneurs.
Cultivate your community.
“Joining a community of small businesses in my field, like HBK Incubates, was a game changer for me. Before I joined the HBK Incubates in 2016, I attended their Prep for Success business planning class for food entrepreneurs. Until that point, I felt like I was constantly running against a wall. After meeting with fellow business owners, particularly those of other aspiring food enterprises, I realized I wasn’t alone, and that I actually knew a lot more than I thought.”
“Especially in the food community, people are very willing to help out—we all want to see each other succeed. After asking one tiny question to a fellow food entrepreneur, I received a long email back with tons of tips on markets and invitations to Facebook groups! Don’t be afraid to ask—the worst that happens is someone says “no.” I learned that the word “no” is not the enemy.”
Get professional (legal) help.
“When I first started Jessie’s Nutty Cups, someone told me to get on LegalZoom and start an LLC—I had no idea what I was doing and really wasn’t ready for that step. Take advantage of programs like Start Small Think Big or the The New York Small Business Development Center, which provide pro bono legal and financial advice to burgeoning businesses.”
Take care of yourself.
“Sleep. Take time off when you can. Spend time with the people at home supporting you.”
You’re the boss.
“Early on when things were tough, I felt an enormous pressure to succeed. Simply reminding myself that I was in the driver’s seat was really freeing. It’s ok if you decide entrepreneurship isn’t for you. It’s all about learning and growing.”