American Made Since 2012

Jen and Jeff Martin

New York, New York
Pipcorn is delicious mini popcorn! Our small kernels are much more delicate on your teeth so say goodbye to those thick hard shells!
Food, Dry Goods

Tell us about your business.

Pipsnacks was started in April 2012 by the brother sister team, Jeff and Jen Martin. To make a long story short, Jeff was in Chicago helping Jen move apartments when the Pipcorn seed was first planted. After a very long day of packing and unpacking boxes, they were in desperate need of a snack when Jen remembered these itty bitty kernels she picked up from the health food store where she worked. About 5 minutes later, we were snacking on the best popcorn we’d ever had. About 30 seconds after that, we realized we HAD to package and sell it. After two years of kicking the idea around, the timing was perfect, so we went all in! We launched on April 28th, 2012 at Smorgasburg food market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Ever since then we’ve had the absolute time of our lives growing Pipcorn and being able to work together all along the way!

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

To think that we started popping in two large spaghetti pots, sifting all unpopped kernels with a fry basket, it’s hard to believe where we’ve ended up today. This June we moved into our beautiful new production facility in East Harlem, after previously working out of a few shared spaces in New York City and New Jersey. Having our own space will allow us to grow more rapidly than the few facilities we bopped around beforehand. The space is divided into two main areas: the kitchen and the office/warehouse. On the kitchen side, we pop everything in small batches and season by hand. The bags are filled and sealed and then carted out to the office/warehouse! On the office/warehouse side we box all orders and either deliver locally or ship across the country. Oh yea, we also crunch numbers and hold super important meetings (usually about what to have for lunch).

What inspires you?

Being a part of a rapidly growing food artisan community is hugely inspiring for us. Launching at Smorgasburg really threw us directly into such an overwhelmingly supportive environment and definitely spoiled us a bit. Working at the markets and spending time with other people in the industry allows us the opportunity to see all of the amazing things people are doing. It’s after these markets and random meet ups to talk about other people’s businesses that makes us most inspired.

What makes your business stand out?

The fearlessness to pursue our gut and the determination to successfully reinvent the classics. To start a business is obviously not a simple task, but we always stuck to our guns and pushed through all of the hardship. We knew we had something special from the beginning, but it was our will and ability to forge forward that allowed us to get to the point that we were able to start convincing everyone else! What also makes our business stand out is the ability to take a product that has been around forever and put a fresh, brand new spin on it. We were able to create a brand new snack that people have been eating their entire lives!

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Our largest piece of advice is to continue pushing forward. It’s so easy to get stuck in the nitty gritty, or hung up on the status quo. The largest obstacle is yourself. It’s important to build a capable team and continue pushing forward with whatever initiatives you’ve set. Get out of your own way and let yourself be successful! The fact of the matter is, each hurdle you tackle can not be considered a problem, but a path to a solution. By solving daily issues, especially in a creative atypical way, it fuels your confidence in overcoming any hiccup that may arise. At the day of the day, that is what really separates successful entrepreneurs. The drive to never let anything sway you from goals and relentless optimism to whether any storm.

What does American Made mean to you?

American Made is not only a literal way to manufacture products, but it’s also a state of mind. We’re not only proud of the fact that we source most of our ingredients in the USA and manufacture in the USA, but we’re also incredibly proud of the fact that we have the ability to create jobs and give back to the neighborhoods that have been so unbelievably supportive to us.

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