Search Interviews:

Theresa Bostic  9:34 

So the idea is I’m originally from New York, we always go to New York we have the flavors every time we go for the summer. She’s like mom, we need this in Atlanta, what could we do? And I was like, I don’t know what to tell you honey. So she went into the kitchen she started making up a couple items and I said well we need money if we’re gonna bring it here. She used to sell slime so she had a couple of dollars on the side. So she was her first investor. We found someone to go ahead and manufacture the product for us. And that’s how we got started. We created our recipes She’s an entrepreneur. She is. And I mean, she’s so much of an entrepreneur, that she said, I actually want to make my own products. So we bought the machines after we’ve been in business for like two to three years. And now we manufacture and host our own product as well.

Jeremy Weisz  10:13 

This is not an easy undertaking from slime to Italian Ice, there’s a lot of moving pieces also, obviously a frozen product, what were some of the challenges?

Theresa Bostic  10:23 

So the first challenge was is we had to get a push cart because I want to start it’s really small. So we started off with a pushcart. We did a couple festivals here and there was kind of hot and sweaty. So we was like, we got to find another way to get out there.

Jeremy Weisz  10:34 

So it was like a minimum viable product first?

Theresa Bostic  10:38 

Exactly at first. And so now we was like listed and get into some different organizations. So she actually got an interview with Delta Airlines. And she went in and she did a product interview with the marketing department. And they said, This is really good. So how about we go ahead and have you do a couple of events for us. So once we did Delta Airlines a couple of their events, we did Home Depot’s headquarters. We got a chance to do the Black History Month in 2019 for Coca Cola. We in 2021 and 2022, we got a chance to do Papa John’s Distribution Centers in Atlanta as well. And that really put us on the mark for the catering and delivering process.

Jeremy Weisz  11:15 

She’s a hustler.

Theresa Bostic  11:16 

Yeah, yeah. So with this money, we decided then, okay, we might need to go big or go home. So we decided to launch food trucks. So now we have an Italian Ice food truck that is in Atlanta, Georgia. So now we do even bigger events, bigger festivals. We do homeowners association, condos, apartments and corporate.

Jeremy Weisz  11:36 

And then you have a franchise model also.

Theresa Bostic  11:40 

Yes. So my daughter decided she didn’t want to stop there. We thought it was a great product and so did other people and other people were asking us, how can we own this too? We didn’t know much about franchising. So we did a little research we found a really great company to partner with. And they were able to launch us in July of 2022 for franchising opportunities. So now you and other people can now franchise our business through a kiosk, you can do a food truck, or you can do a store location.

Jeremy Weisz  12:08 

So where should people go to find more?

Theresa Bostic  12:11 

Kayla’s Italian Ice, you can Google us, you can go to our website, which is For our franchise, you can go to kaylasitalianicefranchise. Or if you want to look us up on Facebook, just go to Kayla’s Italian Ice. We’re on Twitter, Instagram and all different types of social media.

Jeremy Weisz  12:30 

So who came up with the franchise idea? Because you couldn’t just stop like, you have some big Papa John’s, Home Depot, Delta keep doing that. Where did the franchise idea come about?

Theresa Bostic  12:43 

Oh, I traveled for a living. And we’ve been to a lot of different countries. And my kid is like, wow, even the both of us, as a family, me, her dad, her sister and all of us. It’s like, why limit ourselves to like a store in Georgia, because then we’ll be in there working every day. And then we won’t get a chance to grow the product the way that we like. So we felt franchising was that place. So because we go to different countries and states and cities all the time, we like, I would love to see a Kayla’s Italian Ice here, here, here, here, and here. The fastest way to grow in that market, it’s franchising.

Jeremy Weisz  13:17 

How does she manage her schedule? How does she fit this in in her normal schedule? Because I have two kids, there’s activities or school. What does she do to manage the entrepreneur endeavors.

Theresa Bostic  13:29 

Rely, it’s been a challenge. But the schools are very, very, very supportive. She currently goes to Westlake High School and in Westlake they have a culinary program where she has been accepted into and they believe in kids and their entrepreneurship. She’s also part of the DACA Program, which is also about entrepreneurship and teaching kids the way. So she’s not only learning from at home, she’s actually learning and being educated in school. So along everyone has been very supportive. She’s able to keep that balance.

Jeremy Weisz  13:58 

Congratulations. Amazing. So say the website one more time for people to checkout.

Theresa Bostic  14:02 

It’s or Kayla’s Italian Ice Franchise but you can Google us and you can find that I promise.

Jeremy Weisz  14:11 

Thanks. Thanks everyone. Thank you. Jeremy Weisz here. We’re live at the Sweet Snack Show. I’m here with Alison of Like Air. And Alison tell people about your company and some of the products

Allison Lin  14:24 

Yeah, so we are a puffcorn company. Like Air melts in your mouth. I founded the company with my brother. We also have another brother working with us our CFO and we’re better for you sound friend.

Jeremy Weisz  14:38 

So what made you start the company?

Allison Lin  14:41 

So love popcorn but hate that it gets caught in our teeth. Me too, right? Yeah, the kernels dentists hate it to so are puffs just melt in your mouth. And we say it’s good for six months to 106.

Jeremy Weisz  14:54 

So what were you doing right before you started this company.

Allison Lin  14:57 

So we don’t have a background in food at all, my brother and I. We come from finance and tech backgrounds, but we have had a passion for this space for a long time. So we’re really happy to be doing it.

Jeremy Weisz  15:07 

How’s it working with your brothers?

Allison Lin  15:10 

It’s good, but can be challenging. We’ll say that, we don’t always see eye to eye but at the end of the day, we’re a family. And that means a lot.

Jeremy Weisz  15:18 

What made you decide on the flavors? What are some of the flavors you have out now?

Allison Lin  15:22 

Number one sellers, pancake. Pancakes are one of my favorite foods. So we worked with a chef to create the flavor and happy to show it to you guys here, sweet and salty. It is our take on kettle corn, but half the sugar.

Jeremy Weisz  15:35 

We are talking about proud moments. What are some challenges because there’s a lot of moving pieces with products.

Allison Lin  15:42 

Whereas I think our biggest challenge is when we had a massive order for Sam’s Club, so club business and we had to fulfill it. And as a small business, it was really a challenge. But we were able to get through that and we’re grown from there.

Jeremy Weisz  15:55 

Was it difficult to get into Sam’s Club in the first place?

Allison Lin  15:58 

It was, but we have a wonderful buyer and a great relationship. We’re coming out with small 100-calorie packs in mid-July across the country at Sam’s Club. We’re really excited about that.

Jeremy Weisz  16:09 

Some proud moments.

Allison Lin  16:10 

Proudest moments. I think just seeing the product, right. This is something we worked on for so long to see it to become a reality has been amazing. And then to have different sizes. So many people have been asking about the small 100-calorie packs which you can see here to have those is great. So it’s portion control. But also on the goes school lunches.

Jeremy Weisz  16:29 

I’m not about portion control, personally. Where can people find it? Where can people get it?

Allison Lin  16:35 

We sell at a number of retailers were at Kroger Meijer Wakefern were coming to Albertsons, which we’re really excited about. So we’re really starting to expand Sam’s Club and BJs.

Jeremy Weisz  16:47 

Congrats, thanks. Thanks so much. Thanks, everyone. Jeremy Weisz here it’s Inspired Insider and we’re live in the Sweets and Snack Show. I’m here with Tessa, who’s the founder of Norma’s. And Tessa tell people about your company and some of the available flavors

Tessa Porter  17:07 

Awesome. Norma’s is a natural fruit snack that is utilizing local ingredients as much as possible. We use local Nebraska Honey, we’re based in Omaha, Nebraska and Norma is my grandmother. She is an herbalist and naturopath all about things, natural wellness. And so this whole brand and company came about as I’m a candy scientist and have a product development companies separate from Norma’s and grandma came to me and said, I have this really great elderberry syrup. Do you think we can transform it into a gummy bear, which is what I do for a living. So we transformed her recipe for her syrup that everybody loved into a fruit snack. So we have elderberry juice, ginger juice, cinnamon, local honey. It has the same texture of the fruit snacks that we love that’s kind of bouncy, chewy. And then it happened to be rhubarb season when I was doing this development. So I went out to the garden I love strawberry rhubarb pie. So I picked some rhubarb boiled it down just to see what we could create. And we created the strawberry rhubarb flavor of Norma’s. So our tagline is no weird here. And that’s a nod to the transparency of our ingredients. We want people to know what they’re eating. We’ve got nothing to hide. We’re not making any stretch claims of any sorts. It’s just a genuinely good, authentic product.

Jeremy Weisz  18:31 

What made you decide to be a candy scientist?

Tessa Porter  18:33 

Oh, I love chemistry and science. I always have I was interested in food. So long ago, I discovered food science and I studied Food Science and then I discovered candy science and that you can be a candy scientist. Sign me up. And once I found that out and I got into it, I just really love creating things for the sake of creating and being able to do that with candy. Like it’s a dream job.

Jeremy Weisz  19:01 

Where can people find it?

Tessa Porter  19:03 

Norma’s is for sale online. Right now at We’re in a few select retailers and gourmet markets in the Omaha Nebraska area. And we’re here at the show to expand that.

Jeremy Weisz  19:14 

So I want to hear some proud moments, some challenges with any company there’s always it’s not always like a straight shot. What are some challenges?

Tessa Porter  19:24 

I will say one challenge that turned into a bit of a proud moment is sourcing the rhubarb while we have rhubarb in the development that came from our garden sourcing it commercially was a challenge and we ended up having to ship it frozen all the way across the country. So we paid more for frozen shipping than we did for the rhubarb. And that spurred us to plant our own rhubarb farm. So we now have a rhubarb farm that we’re harvesting for the first time this year that will go into our fruit snacks, and the farm-to-fruit snack distance is less than a mile. So we’re using that as just continuing as we grow to make our ingredients more local, more transparent, that we can point to the farmer and know who’s providing the ingredients that go into this.

Jeremy Weisz  20:13 

It’s hard because there’s a lot of costs in logistics and shipping and you want to keep the pricing at a reasonable amount for people. There’s a challenge there with how do you come up with what to sell them for?

Tessa Porter  20:26 

Oh, I don’t know that we’ve really figured that out quite yet. As we go and continue to optimize our supply chain, and how we’re producing them. We started with a call man, but my other business is development and processing. And we’re in the process of starting up our own facility under the business of Sprinkk and soon we’ll be producing these in-house in our own facility.

Jeremy Weisz  20:50 

Yeah, because you have really premium ingredients and all of them are, like you were saying, your grandma’s an herbalist, all those are nutritionally, like, I’m feeling something I’m coming down with something, I get elderberry syrup, I have the ginger. So all the ingredients that are in the gummies. So talk about your grandma’s influence on you a bit.

Tessa Porter  21:09 

So this really was spurred all by her wanting to transform her syrup into gummies. And she really just wanted to share it with my nieces and nephews during the pandemic for immunity. And once we started working on it, we realized like this is a really good story. This is a really good product, that we shouldn’t keep it just to our own family, and we should share it. And so she really is the inspiration behind it of using genuinely good ingredients. And then when we processed them, we wanted to maintain the integrity of the ingredients as much as possible. We’ve got local Nebraska Honey, there’s benefit, you know, there’s natural vitamins and minerals in that the juicers that we use. And so we actually cook this under a pretty unique process of cooking under vacuum, so that we’re not exposing it to as much heat but we’re still getting the same textures, still long shelf life that you would have in other gummy products.

Jeremy Weisz  22:04 

And how did you come up with the packaging? So you can see here Norma’s talk about the packaging. This is also not easy to figure out as well.

Tessa Porter  22:14 

Yeah. So when we started and we were building the brand, I left corporate and started my own company. And I was connected with some other entrepreneurs who were also starting their own branding agencies, developers for graphics. And so we came across a fantastic graphic designer who is just starting out on their own doing some freelance work and he’s been doing all of our graphics for Norma’s and it was just really fun because they got to interview grandma Norma and get to know her and really create a brand that is authentic to both grandma Norma and to me.

Jeremy Weisz  22:53 

Awesome. So where can people learn more? What’s the website?

Tessa Porter  22:56

Jeremy Weisz  22:57 Check it out. Thanks, everyone.