Felecia Hatcher has been paving her own way since her days as an industrious high school student. Now she's a successful entrepreneur with an unusual business venture. Feverish Gourmet Pops sells gourmet popsicles and empowers youth entrepreneurs. The business has been featured on "The Today Show" and The Cooking Channel. We asked Felecia a few questions about what it takes to be a successful Black woman in an unusual industry.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
You didn't have great grades in high school. How did you secure $100,000 in scholarships?
I learned some very powerful lessons about personal branding as a 17 year old "C" student that was determined to go to college. There are tons of opportunities out there to pay for college even if you don't have the best grades but because we are told that you have to have amazing grades in order to get scholarships we don't apply. Although my GPA wasn't the best (fluctuated between a 2.1-2.7 ) I was not a walking GPA and would not settle for being defined by it. I was horrible in math, but I love to write and I did a lot of community service and those became the attributes about myself that I talked about in essays and scholarship interviews to take the focus off of my grades.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Where did the idea for Feverish Ice Cream come from?
The easy answer is that I am a horrible employee. I started my first business as a freshman in college an educational consulting company that developed college prep programs for organizations. I started Feverish after falling down chasing an ice cream truck in heels and also loosing my marketing job as an experiential marketing manager for Nintendo. I knew that I never wanted to be in a situation again where I felt like someone took something from me. So I created a company with my husband that makes me smile every single day and makes other people smile. Above all that my husband and I wanted to create a company that helps people weather it's the youth programs that we work with on a daily basis or the programs we donate money to. We have the freedom to pursue the initiatives that we are most passionate about that we were not able to do when we worked for corporate america.
You've done many different things over the years. Why is it important to be flexible in your career?
It makes you more marketable and resourceful. As the economy changes the landscape of our job market the more value and expertise your can bring to a company the more "job security" you have. I have never agreed with the singular track that society says we need to stay on, we as humans are far more complex than that. When you are a kid you are supposed to pick that one thing you want to be when you grow up, then in college choose that one major, and then graduate and pick that one career and when you have interest outside of that you have a internal battle that most people never understand how to deal with. It always been very important to me to fulfill the curiosity that I have about everything inside and especially outside of the office.
Selling popsicles sounds like a simple idea. How did you switch it up?
Yeah it is that very simple treat that we all grew up eating. But all we had was the cherry popsicle, orange popsicle or if things got really fancy we got a red, white and blue patriot rocket. With Feverish we like to say it's about time the popsicle grew up! We use all natural and organic ingredients, and produce everything in small batches. We make flavors like Chocolate Salted coconut, Starfruit and Red Stripe Beer, Strawberry Balsamic, Mango and Bourbon, Pineapple Basil, Rice pudding. We have a line of spiked pops for adults which includes beer, wine and liquor. We also create custom flavors for major corporations like Google, Markers Mark, Vitamin Water and Deep Eddy Vodka.
How important is it to you to use your success for good?
I don't know how to do business any other way. I wasn't the best student in high school or heck even college, I didn't start my business with a lot of money. There have been so many friends, family members, coaches and even strangers that have helped me along the way. How could I not reach back? Above all I want to show as many kids and adults as possible that you can achieve any and everything you want as long as you put in the work and dedicated yourself to living your dream.
As a Black woman, what are some obstacles you face in business?
Most of my customers don't look like me and because of that I don't usually look like a business owner to them. So I get the double takes when I say I am the owner, or they talk to my employees and not me. It used to bother me but you can't have an ego when running a business. If there are any limits put on me as a black female entrepreneurs its the limits that I put on myself or the lines that I tell myself that I am not allowed to cross because of my race. I refuse to operate my life or my business like that.
Felecia is an author as well! Check out her book!The C Students Guide to Scholarships: A Creative Guide to finding Scholarships when your grades suck and your parents are broke.
For Harriet is an online community for women of African ancestry. We encourage women, through storytelling and journalism, to engage in candid, revelatory dialogue about the beauty and complexity of Black womanhood. Learn more.