For most entrepreneurs, creative business ideas are born from a problematic experience. For one local entrepreneur, “It all started with crappy snacks”.
In March 2017, Nick Hinton started following a new Ketogenic diet, finding it very difficult to find snack food that aligned with the low-carb, high-fat diet. He was tired of eating gas station pork rinds, or even the high-end cracklins. Wishing there was a portable, crispy pork snack more similar to a traditional chicharron, Nick decided to try his hand at creating his own version of the South American snack using local ingredients and a seasoned twist. Much to his surprise, he saw his creation becoming a hit among friends, family, and co-workers.
Nick will be the first to admit that he “accidentally made all the right decisions”. When he realized that he could turn his product into a successful business, he quickly found an affordable packaging solution, came up with a catchy name, refined his process further, added new seasoning and vegan options, and connected with a commercial kitchen. Hinton’s Pig Chips was created.
As a professional salesman in his full-time job, Nick had the skills to land large sales at farmers markets and contracts with local breweries and grocery stores. However, with no formal business training, Nick looked for outside financial and operational advice. He was connected with CISBDC, an organization housed at the Indy Chamber’s Entrepreneur Services Division that provides business coaching and resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Like many start-ups, Hinton’s Pig Chips needed help with everything from business and growth plans, to outlets for seeking investments and loans. CISBDC also helped connect him to networking resources such as 1 Million Cups.
“Working with CISBDC has given me the opportunity to work on focusing my vision and the way I approach traversing the business space. It also helped with ensuring I have a realistic expectation of growth and preparedness, while also recognizing my successes as a new entrepreneur.”
1 Million Cups, the weekly event for entrepreneurs, became a regular part of Nick’s new entrepreneurial life. “1MC has not only been a great confidence booster and networking source, but it has also been a place where I've found a wealth of directly implementable and useful information in regard to operations and growth”, says Nick. He pitched his business and growth plans at 1 Million Cups in August 2017 and announced his goals to quit his day job and sell 1,000 units a week by the end of 2018. Two months later, Nick was able to confidently step away from his day job, and expects to hit his sales goal within the first couple months of 2018.
Nick is one of many ambitious entrepreneurs who are activating Indy’s start-up and foodpreneuer scenes by establishing a localized brand—one that is highly rooted in community, quality Hoosier ingredients, and a strong sense of Indiana pride.
“I've found myself a part of an incredible community of doers. That's beyond inspiring from where I'm standing. The diversity of people involved at so many levels of small business operation is a beautiful thing. Even more than that, my faith in this city has been restored, to say the least. I see so many incredible things happening, incredible people making them happen, and all of that showing to the rest of the world what an incredible community we have here in Indianapolis. I find that to be, well, incredible.”
Hinton’s Pig Chips can be found at more than a dozen retail establishments, including Hotel Tango, Oca at Sun King, Indy Downtown Omni Severin, and Good Earth Natural Foods Store. For a full list of locations, or to shop online, visit http://hintonspigchips.com.
To learn more about CISBDC, visit their website. To schedule an appointment with a business coach, call 317.464.2228.