Scaling Up with Frozen Desserts

Nicole Cardone, Co-founder of Fruitful Brands, shares the trials and successes of a frozen dessert CPG startup.

From corporate finance to frozen dessert innovator, this episode explores the journey of Nicole Cardone, co-founder of Fruitful Brands, including Sorbabes and Fudgy Pop. Nicole shares her knowledge of entrepreneurship, sparked by a serendipitous encounter with overripe peaches at a farmers market. With a blend of adventurous spirit and business acumen, she and her co-founder, Chef Deborah Gorman, embarked on a mission to take on the frozen dessert category.

Discover the highs and lows of building a brand from scratch, from selling hand-packed mason jars at local markets to navigating a strategic partnership with a global ice cream manufacturer. Nicole candidly discusses the challenges of scaling a business while maintaining independence, including the pivotal decision to part ways with their corporate partner and weather the storm of COVID-19 disruptions.

In this interview-style podcast with Gary Nowacki, learn how Sorbabes bounced back from adversity, leveraging their experience to launch new brands and expand to nationwide distribution. Nicole offers advice from her hands-on experience into the intricacies of product innovation in the frozen dessert industry and the importance of strategic partnerships in driving growth. Watch this episode to gain entrepreneurial wisdom, actionable advice, and a glimpse into the innovative world of Fruitful Brands.

Watch & Listen Now

Gary Nowacki: Welcome to the podcast, everyone. Today we have an exciting guest, Nicole Cardone, who is Co-Founder of a pretty cool, innovative company called Fruitful Brands. So welcome. Welcome to the podcast, Nicole.

Nicole Cardone: Thanks, Gary. I’m so happy to be here.

Gary Nowacki: Let’s start with the origin story. How did you and your co-founder create this company? You know, what was your inspiration? What was your idea? What was the whole background related to it?

Nicole Cardone: Yeah, well, so it’s a long story, but to sum it up, I was in corporate finance. I was in the investment bank of JP Morgan, and I am from Alaska. Originally, I’m an adventurer and wild at heart, and that was never really going to be, I think, the right path for me. And I always wanted to start something on my own. And I was living in New York City at the time, and I would go to the farmers market and one day one of the farmers, they were closing up and they had at all these overripe peaches that they couldn’t sell, and they couldn’t keep for the next day. So, they just gave me this huge bag of these peaches and they were so juicy and ripe. I didn’t know what to do with all of them. So, I made them into a sorbet. And I’m like a Ben and Jerry’s kind of girl. I like to eat my ice cream with a fork and dig for those nuggets of cookies and chocolate. So, I made a cinnamon streusel and I mixed that into the peach sorbet, and it made it like this frozen peach cobbler.

It was the most amazing dessert ever and I shared it with the other people in my building, my apartment complex at the time and everyone was just blown away and I thought, wow, this is so cool. And I went to the grocery store at one point, and I was craving something similar, and I looked at the selection of these incredible artisanal ice creams, frozen yogurts, non-dairy options, but there wasn’t like sorbet. Just lemon mango raspberry, multiple brands had the exact same flavors. They were just frozen fruit juice, very simple and not really innovative. And at that point I realized that there was an opportunity in the category. And so, because my background was in business, I wasn’t fully confident in my ability to start a food company on my own. So, my mother -in -law got wind of this idea that I had and introduced me to Chef Deborah.

And I met Deborah under the premise that we were going to maybe start this business together. So, we were not friends and had no history together. And today, 12 years later, she’s like a sister. But I think that part of the reason why we’ve been so successful is because there was no emotional baggage when we started. We came on together as professionals. And fortunately, we’re very, very similar in our personality and drive. But also, we have very complimentary skill sets. She has her camp in the business, and I have my camp. Something comes across our desk, we know exactly who it goes to, and that’s helped really manage the workflow throughout the years.

Gary Nowacki: Yeah. Listeners, this is such a common story, you know, and I was going to ask you this and you already answered it. How do you carve out a niche in a very crowded category, frozen desserts? And I think back to so many guests we’ve had over the years. The co-founder of Honest Tea and their origin story was, yeah, you could get iced tea, but in a bottle or a can. But it just didn’t taste very good. And you know, there were multiple options, but they just weren’t very good. They weren’t being very creative with the flavors and so on. You know. Poppi, another beverage company that’s been on, same thing.

Nobody was doing a healthy beverage. No Baked Cookie Dough. If you’re a big fan of cookie dough, you had a couple of options to buy cookie dough products. They were on the store shelves, but they weren’t very good. And this person just blew it out founded this company. So, kudos to you for innovation. And I think that’s one of the biggest themes we see time and time again. Yeah, might be in a crowded category, but if you can really stand out and serve a niche that is not served today, you can be successful on that. So that was the idea. But then, you know, there’s the practicality. I’m sure you and your co-founder and the company, by the way, is about 11, 12, years old at this point in time. Is that right?

Nicole Cardone: Yep, 12 years old this year.

Gary Nowacki: Yea. I’m sure with that great origin story, there were 100 others, “I’m ready to pull my hair out of my head stories.” Being entrepreneurs and co-founders. You know, share some of those that come to mind.

Yeah, so the first year we really wanted to test the market to make sure that people liked this idea that, you know, we could make it and it tasted good. 

Continue reading the transcript:

Nicole Cardone: So, Deborah and I set up shop and we’re selling little hand -packed glass mason jars at a farmer’s market in Brooklyn. And the reviews were rave, and everyone was loving it. So, we decided, well, let’s try to sell this into a couple of stores. So, we went out to Long Island where there were some stores that were like fancy stores in the Hamptons and you know there people would pay $12 for a little glass mason jar of sorbet.

Things started to go really well and we were just pumped on adrenaline you know here we were starting our own business. It’s like what could go wrong right and once we started to realize that we needed to make this in a more professional manner meaning we needed an automated co -packer to make this for us. We couldn’t.

We were making it in the ice cream kitchen of a Brooklyn shop during the red -eye shift. So, we would come in when the ice cream guys left. And actually, at that time, we were just called Gourmet Sorbet. And the ice cream guys were the ones who nicknamed us the Sorbabes, because we would come in at midnight and they’re like, oh, the Sorbabes are here. And we would take over the kitchen in the middle of the night. And while it was exhausting work, and I was pregnant at the time with my first child, it was also actually my second child.

My, you know, Deborah and I just, we pushed through and like I said, it’s exhilarating. You start your business, like what could go wrong? You’re having fun. After a few years of the grind, so you know, I would take my cooler on wheels and I would go up and down the streets of Manhattan and I would knock on every door, every bodega, every grocery store, and I would just sell in the product. And at that point I had enough distribution, and I wasn’t driving around with my truck physically delivering it, you know, on dry ice. We got a distributor.

So that was kind of the beginning. And then from there, it just started to snowball. We got into all these stories, but what we didn’t really prepare for was the food science component of this, because my business partner was a chef. It’s very, very different than manufacturing for a commercial product. There’s a lot of science that goes into making sure a product doesn’t separate on the shelf and can handle a little bit of heat shock because that’s inevitable in distribution. So, you know, there’s a lot of that that we had to look at.

Nicole Cardone: along the way and we probably lost some business because of it because you know if the product wasn’t at its best when the customer was able to get it. So, we had quite a bit of a learning curve at that point and so much more ahead of us but the first three years we went from zero to about a million dollars and because of that we attracted and we actually hadn’t raised any money so let me just be very clear this is probably one of the biggest hurdles that we’ve had in the entire journey and even today is just funding.

So, Deborah and I still own our business 100%. We have no equity investors. And that has been very, very challenging trying to grow within your means, especially in CPG. So, during the first three years, we really just bootstrapped everything. Deborah and I worked our tails off, and we were very, very budget conscious. So, after we hit that sort of milestone of a million in sales, we got a call from one of the largest manufacturers of ice cream in the world, Wells Enterprises.

And Wells said they saw a diamond in the rough. They see this incredible opportunity and they wanted to license our brand for four years. And they wanted to hire Deborah and me as full -time consultants to work alongside of them to develop the brand within their corporation. So, it was like a dream come true. We thought we’d hit the jackpot. What could go wrong now, right? I mean, we didn’t really understand the challenges at that time of a small brand, small as ours. A million dollars may seem like a lot of money, but not to a billion-dollar company. Especially a company that has a multi -portfolio of brands. So that was going to be our next big challenge, was operating inside this big company.

Gary Nowacki: Yea. And so, you did it. You did before your arrangement. Fast forward, did you renew after those four years, or did you move on?

Nicole Cardone: Yeah, so, so many challenges along the way, but I would say that during the four years, the first, so the first two years are really, I don’t want to. It was kind of like analysis paralysis. You know, Deborah and I were just ready to go. We knew we had everything in line and let this do it. And Wells was saying, no, you know, let’s pull back. Let’s look at the market. Let’s do focus groups. Let’s do market studies. Let’s do more surveys. Let’s do more work. Let’s bring on big advertising companies and really dive into your market position and what you have to say and what you represent and stand for. And let’s work on the formulas. And they were absolutely right. We really needed to get our ducks in a row. We weren’t prepared for the level of growth that they were ready for, or they wanted us to be ready for. So, it was hard for us to spend two years not growing the brand, but just working internally.

And during that time, we lost a lot of distribution and we had to sort of be okay with that and Wells said, look, we’re going to gain it all back, but we have to be prepared. So, after two years, we finally got new packaging and we had improved our recipes, and we were ready to hit the ground running. So, boom, we went out, Deborah and I flew all across the country. We met with just about every retailer you can imagine, Walmart, Kroger, Target, Safeway. I mean, we sat in front of, this is before COVID, right? So, you’re actually going to these meetings. You would fly across the country, you know, all day long for 15 minutes. If you were lucky, sometimes you would have five minutes to present five. So, it was an exhausting year moving into that sales and distribution era. But once we did that, Deborah and I grew from, you know, maybe 1,000 stores to 3,500 stores essentially in a year. So huge, huge growth. And that was in 2000.

Gary Nowacki: So, this is after you’re back on your won away from Wells?

Nicole Cardone: No, no. So, we’re still with Wells. So, this is within the four years. Yeah. Yeah. So again, working with this company was pivotal for us, not just because they provided support, but so much guidance in helping us understand how do you go to market with a product like this in a competitive category? How do you have the right to compete? And understanding how all of that came together and just distribution strategy, really, really important things to understand.

So, we learned all about that. And when we went to market, we were ready, you know, the brand was teed up, ready to go. They opened the floodgates, and we sold it to all these retailers overnight. And then boom, we were everywhere. And it was it was exhilarating. It was so exciting. And that was right before 2020. And our contract was ending in 2020. And Wells made a strategic decision for their business that they were going to purchase one of our big competitors which was Halo Top.

So, all of a sudden, we’re this little tiny brand in this huge portfolio and they brought in a new shiny toy. So, you can imagine the attention that we got after that new shiny toy was onboarded. And you know, we sort of saw the writing on the wall and we sort of knew that we weren’t as big as the other brands in their portfolio, and they just didn’t want to wait another three or four years for that to happen. And at the same time, COVID hit. So, our contract ended November 2020 and it was pretty much the height of COVID. I mean it was a really challenging time. Wells stopped copacking not just for us but for a lot of other brands so they would not continue to manufacture our product and we had nowhere to go.

Gary Nowacki: There was a shortage in capacity specifically for ice cream because one of the plants in New England burned down. So, there was even more – and people wanted to be home eating ice cream. Sorry to interrupt, but it was an unusual situation.

Nicole Cardone: You’re absolutely right that it was incredibly challenging. And when I think about all the challenges that we faced in this business, and I kind of rushed through the first four years, but you know, it was hard. Nothing prepared us for what we were going to go through in 2021. We had 12 SKUs. We were in 3 ,500 stores and we were being serviced out of trucks that were owned by Wells. So, we didn’t even own the distribution.

So we were given this brand back, with all this distribution that we couldn’t service, we didn’t even have a manufacturer, much less the working capital to produce the product to service the stores. It was an absolute disaster. Deborah and I had to close out 99 % of our distribution. We found one co -packer, they started to onboard us, and then last minute dropped us. So, then we had to find another co -packer, and that co -packer, and this is a very important lesson to learn, and I hope that no other entrepreneur out there has to learn this if you listen to this.

When your gut is telling you that something is not right and you push forward because you just don’t know what other options you have, that could be your downfall. Deborah and I knew that this manufacturer was not as sophisticated as we needed them to be. Our product is not super complicated, but they could not produce it to spec. And instead of knowing that it wasn’t going to work out and walking away before we had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with these guys, we can push because we thought, well, we have to have product. We went through a lot of money and a lot of time with this manufacturer, and they almost completely put us out of business. Deborah and I, during that time, went through so much physical stress that we became physically ill. I mean, I’m not exaggerating when I say, like, my hair was falling out. It was so stressful having this business that we had built with…

Gary Nowacki: And it was COVID!

Nicole Cardone: Yeah, and it was COVID, exactly. I mean, and we had built this business with blood, sweat and tears. And all of a sudden, this one co -packer is going to take us down. I can’t quite explain how challenging that situation was, but we did have a couple of retailers that stood by our side and said they would hold the shelves empty for our product until we were ready. So, by the end of 2021, we were able to bring on another co -packer who Deborah knew in Los Angeles, who was kind of close to her. And we were a little small for them, but they knew what was going on and they wanted to help us out.

So fortunately, we got on with an appropriate packer who knew what they were doing. They made our product, and we started shipping. So, this is 2021 when we finally were able to say, okay, we can make product to spec and ship it out. We went from this huge on the top of the mountain and just came crashing down. So that was 2021 when we started to be able to ship product out. 2022, 2023, just been slowly rebuilding.

What happened was we used to sell pints and we saw that the market was shifting towards novelties. So, we had to skew rationalized because we didn’t have a lot of capital. And so, we said, let’s focus on the top four skews. And those happened to be novelties. So, we let go of our pints, focused on novelties, started to rebuild distribution out of Southern California. We had to keep our distribution close to our manufacturing facility because freight was so expensive. I mean, you remember we’re shipping negative 20, you know, cold chain logistics is, you know, about as expensive as it gets. So, we really focused around strategically growing within our budget, within our means, within our regional locale.

And from there, we said, okay, well, we’re putting all this effort in and what we’re seeing is that working with Wells, we learned that scale is so critical for getting your margins and for really affording a lot of the, just the operational and logistics that you need to run a business, right? So, we realize that we might be doing ourselves a favor by adding another brand to our portfolio. Because you see, when we were at Wells, they had multiple brands in their portfolio. And we would sit in front of that Kroger buyer, and we would give them one, two, three, four, five opportunities to say yes. Now, you don’t ever know what the buyer is looking for. They might see, you know what, this year I think chocolates on trend, next year strawberries are on trend. You don’t know that, but if you give them all these opportunities to say yes, you know, more than likely you’re going to get a hit. So, Deborah and I decided that we had the right co-packer to start with another brand.

So, we decided to launch a new brand called Fudgy Pop. So Sorbabes was our original baby, and it was all focused on indulgent fruit. And then now we decided to launch something that was focused on just chocolate and really going after that classic fudgesicle market that has just sort of been watered down over time. You know, the only options you see out there today are these bulk retailer white label packs, which are really focused on value and not really on taste. And then you have, you know, fudgesicle, they have their sugar free version. Which is, I mean, I love chocolate, I’m not eating Fudgesicle, so we wanted to make something that really competed with that. So, we came out with a one .75-ounce mold, and it’s like a perfect snackable chocolate treat, and we called it Fudgy Pop.

So now Fudgy Pop is another brand in our portfolio with Sorbabes. And the really cool thing about it is there’s been so many synergies between these two brands. So again, you’re sitting in front of a buyer, you give them two unique opportunities to say yes. Sometimes they’ll take both, sometimes they’ll just take one. But then you also think about distribution. So, it’s really challenging if you’re a new brand to open up all these distribution networks and to get enough velocities going in these new warehouses, to get enough pallet spaces on a truck to make it worthwhile.

Now all of a sudden, we’re shipping multiple brands and all of that just elevates even our purchases for ingredients and supplies you know we’re buying double the amount of sugar double the amount of boxes we have all of our boxes the same size so we can order double triple we’re getting that we’re hitting those velocity numbers and getting better breaks on pricing because of this so Deborah and I really think that the future of Fruitful Brands is to add more brands to this portfolio. You know with almost 13 years of experience in frozen dessert CPG, we’ve learned so much. And if we can take what we’ve learned and apply it to other brands and other products, it’s a win-win.

Gary Nowacki: So, let’s back up to those four fateful years at Wells Blue Bunny. Comment and then a question. First of all, comment. You know you mentioned focus groups and Wells Blue Bunny and how they did everything in a very rigorous methodology. You do know there’s an SNL skit about the Wells Blue Bunny focus group.

Nicole Cardone: No! Are you serious? I have to look this up.

Gary Nowacki: Way. So, you have to look this up. It may not be their funniest ski ever, but it’s pretty funny. 

Nicole Cardone: Oh my gosh, thanks for telling me. I’ll have… Yeah, I will.

Gary Nowacki: But here’s a question. I’m sitting, you know, not knowing 100 things about you and your co-founder and everything you’ve gone through. When I hear that story about how you had the rug pulled out from under you, from my experience, I immediately thought, well, you had one thing going for you which is that and your co-founder did not have to deal with investors.

Nicole Cardone: Yes, yes.

Gary Nowacki: And you know that at that time, what do you think would have happened?

Nicole Cardone: I honestly don’t know. I think it probably, it might have forced us to close our doors. I think Deborah and I being able to make all of our own decisions has helped us stay very nimble and able to pivot as needed and make decisions the way we think are best for the company. Although on the flip side of that, not having investors meant that we didn’t have a pool of resources to help support us through those hard times. And that also provided its own challenges.

Gary Nowacki: Yea, now I can imagine investors saying, well, you went from this level of revenue to losing 99% of it. How quickly can you get back to that level? Oh, you don’t know? You think it might be ten years? You know, we’re out of here, right?

Nicole Cardone: Yeah. Yeah, and I think that’s the challenge today, you know, where with these two brands, what we learned that was so critical at Wells was not only how to operate and how to compete, but when to invest. And that was something that we didn’t understand before. We didn’t even know that we didn’t know about it. And it’s really about creating a platform that is efficient, as efficient as it could be for the size, but proving your market.

And seeing those same store velocities increase, not about growing distribution. It’s in the beginning, you just want your same stores to improve year over year. And you want to make sure that that product coming out of your manufacturer is consistent year over year, consistent, consistent, and that you know your cost of goods, because that’s also a challenge, making sure that the waste is consistent so you always can budget for that.

So now that we’ve spent a couple of years getting to that point with both brands, now is the time that we’re going to be out looking for investment. So, you know, it’s, I think, a very different place to be in than we were in the beginning as sort of fresh sweat behind the ear’s entrepreneurs, you know, like, right, take on the world. I mean, we sort of have seen the good, the bad, the ugly. We’ve been through hell and back and we made a lot of mistakes. I mean, so many mistakes that we made that I will not make again, you know, and I’m sure there’s other things out there that I’ll learn. But at some point, you know, after a decade of doing a very specific thing. I do feel like Deborah, and I are in a really good place today.

Gary Nowacki: Yeah. What’s the old saying? That life gives you two things. Success and opportunities to learn, right?

Nicole Cardone: Yes.

Gary Nowacki: So, you got back to a good place with a co-packer you like doing business within California. What’s your current situation? Are you regional? How many stores are you in? Tell us all about that.

Nicole Cardone: Yeah, well I’m excited to say that we’re closing out last year back at the million-dollar mark, which is very exciting. Felt like that was kind of like where, you know, you’ve been able to prove yourself once again. And going into next year, because we felt like we had now seen that proof of success we needed, we are investing back in the company and we’re growing more than twofold going into next, into 2024. So, this, I keep saying next year, but we’re already in 2024. So, we’re seeing probably about 1500 new stores come on board this year. We’re already loading in. I’ve got, I’m looking at 15 POs on my desk right now, which is really exciting.

We purposefully held back on a lot of our growth initiatives this year because we don’t have an investor right now. This is the year we’re probably going to start talking with people, but you know, you really have to be selective. You can’t go into certain retailers that have high slotting. You know, you just, you can’t do it. You can’t overextend yourself because then once you, once you’re in that place and you don’t do well, like, you know, there’s not an opportunity to go back. So, we’re really selective of the way we’re going to market these days and very much looking forward to 2024 and watching Fudgy Pop and Sorbabes both grow across the country.

Gary Nowacki: So, I would assume because of cold-chain issues that you’re in retail stores primarily in the West currently.

Nicole Cardone: So that was how we had started, and we really blanketed the West. So now we have stretched out to the Northeast. And then one retailer, Sprouts, has really brought us all over the country because they’re very fragmented. But most retailers we find are regional, so we try to stay within those regions. But yeah, we’re going to be nationwide this year.

Gary Nowacki: But still one co-packer out in California? So, everything gets shipped everywhere?

Nicole Cardone: That’s right.

Gary Nowacki: Wow.

Nicole Cardone: That’s right. Yeah. So, we have three storage warehouses, one in Texas, one in Indiana, and one in Oregon. And we ship all of our inventory there. And then from there, the distributors pick up or we LTL out to the distribution centers.

Gary Nowacki: Yea. You must think a lot about margins to support all of that. Right? You know, if everybody has to deal with slotting fees and you know, all the things that retailers ding you for but not everybody has to deal with the cold chain costs you have to deal with.

Nicole Cardone: It’s true, and I do think though that it’s to our advantage at this point because we have been doing this so long. We have so many relationships. We understand how it all works. I think it is definitely a barrier to entry for anyone trying to get into this category. So, I think that that keeps us in the running for sure. And I will say that, you know, Deborah and I question all the time the consumer mindset because, you are so often we’ll hear, oh, five dollars for ice cream, you know, but then you see a box of crackers on the shelf for five dollars and you’re like, it’s very, very different getting each of those products produced and to that shelf.

Not to mention when you think about just the real estate in a grocery store. It’s the most expensive real estate those freezer spaces I mean it costs a lot of money for that retailer to keep that going so all of that gets absorbed on the supplier side. And so, I just I find it interesting that you know that is the dynamic that people still expect ice cream to be you know cheap.

Gary Nowacki: So, you’ve shared with our listeners you’re potentially looking for some investors so you can really scale, and you know, have really good nationwide penetration in retail and you mentioned a few things about what the future might hold for your portfolio expansion. Can you share anything more that’s not super secret about, you know, where you’re looking to go over the next couple of years with new products and innovation?

Nicole Cardone: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think that without getting into details, we do have another brand in the works that we’re very excited about. The idea in the portfolio is that you want to make sure that the items are very unique and insulated and don’t compete with each other. They need to be very individual brands. And so, we have another one we’re hoping to launch in 2026. And, you know, and I think that at the end of the day, the value opportunity is I think at the cold chain logistics.

Not just that, but I also think in operations as well and sales because you’re meeting with these buyers and a lot of times the frozen buyers also represent frozen pizzas, frozen breakfasts, other frozen desserts like pies and things. So, you have a buyer who’s captive in your meeting and you can sell them whatever you have at the time. So, I think that being able to operate in these cold chain platforms and then having the relationships with the right buyers is really going to be our ticket to success over the years.

Gary Nowacki: Land and expand in your category. Right? Is a safer way to grow and a more efficient way to grow. That’s excellent. Since you are such an innovative company. Going back to your story about the overripe peaches at the farmers market and coming up with an idea to put baked goods in there. A lot of our listeners are, you know, professional innovators. Either they’re entrepreneurs with a new idea or they were in the R&D department at a larger company. What words of wisdom would you give to these folks?

Nicole Cardone: Yes. So, it’s a bit of a conundrum because you hear all the time, you need to be innovative, you need to come up with something new. But the fact is, is that you are always constrained by what the industry currently has. So, you can’t change the shape of a pint. Even if you were to go out and get a custom mold, the machinery isn’t set up for that, right? So, it’s like you really can’t be too creative unless you have a really good manufacturer on your side who’s willing to tweak and invest in capital equipment to make your idea come to life.

And that is also challenging because if you haven’t proven this innovative product in the market, how can you trust the huge CapEx investment you’re going to need from a manufacturer is going to be worth it. So, it is definitely challenging to innovate. I will say that with sorbet in particular, because it is a water -based product, it doesn’t perform the same way that fatty ice cream does. So, whether you have it like in a cone or different things like that, I mean, it’s just, it gets soggy. So, there’s a lot of things about your individual specific product that might not perform the way you would expect it to perform, right? So, I think there’s just so many challenges along the way and it’s all very specific to the innovation.

Gary Nowacki: So, before we go into wrap up Nicole. Any final words of advice, words of wisdom you want to give, you know, to the broader folds out there listening who are food and CPG professionals. Maybe aspiring entrepreneurs. What would you tell them?

Nicole Cardone: Oh gosh, I would say that you need to follow your dreams. And I think that oftentimes you should not listen to the naysayers. 80 % of the time, they’re not right and they just don’t understand. But then there are some people who are giving you very good sound advice and just make sure that you’re able to really listen to people and know when someone is telling you something that maybe you should heed their advice or their warning. It’s really, really important that you listen to your gut because you will know deep down if something isn’t right, and you just keep pushing and pushing because you’re tenacious and you have to win because if you do that, it can really take you down. I speak from experience and fortunately I was able to barely get out of a situation like that, but I think everyone needs to listen to their gut a little more and if you’re not in tune with it try to tune in because it really you know it’s a special it’s a special voice that knows a lot.

Gary Nowacki: It’s good advice and it’s with entrepreneurs, there’s this very difficult balance where you’ve got to have this courage, an absolute belief, but you also have to stop and listen and pause along the way. And frequently you’ve got to pivot too. So, it’s yes, tough. It’s really tough. So, kudos to you and your co-founder for all the great success that you’ve had.

Nicole Cardone: Thank you, Gary. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and your community about my experience. And I really do hope that I can inspire other people going through this to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and that other people go through this. And while they may seem successful, I can say from experience that I’ve spoken to so many brand owners that I really admire. And I think they’re super successful. And they all tell me they still don’t feel like they can exhale. So, you know, just keep at it and try to enjoy the journey.

Gary Nowacki: Yea, absolutely. So, I want to thank our guest today, Nicole Cardone, who is co-founder of Fruitful Brands. Among their products are Sorbabes and Fudgy Pop. And stay tuned. Apparently, some exciting new products on the horizon as well. So, thank you for being on the podcast, Nicole.

Nicole Cardone: My pleasure, thank you for having me.

This podcast is produced for informational purposes and does not constitute any scientific, legal, or medical advice.

The views and opinions expressed by guests of this podcast are those of the guest alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and positions of the host or any other entity or organization. Listeners are encouraged to listen with an open mind and form opinions of their own.

This podcast originally aired on February 27, 2024.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This