Meet the new “king of pop,” Salim Weldon the co-owner of Whimsicle Gourmet Fruit Pops. The old-fashioned approach to making, selling, and distributing popsicles is a thing of the past. Whimsicle, a gourmet fruit pop business dedicated to selling refreshing, unique, and most importantly, delicious products that are made from fresh organic fruits, vegetables, and other natural ingredients. Whimsicles are a healthy alternative treat for people of all ages to enjoy. The Whimsicle popsicles movement has infused pop culture with popsicles and the growth of the brand has been nothing short of fruitful.
Rolling out had the opportunity to chat with Weldon about his growth in the consumer packaged goods industry, challenges he has faced, and what’s next for the brand.
Why did you decide to produce popsicles and what’s behind the name Whimsicle?
Co-owner Tonae Simon and I decided to make Whimsicle Gourmet Fruit Pops to combat the sugary products that most children face in our community. Creating a healthy alternative to what is available in stores, at fairs and festivals, and children’s events is highly important to us.
Whimsicle is essentially a combination of two words put together. Whim meaning on a whim, and whimsical meaning magic, fairy, or colorful. So we changed the “sical” to “sicle” to associate the word with the popsicle product.
What was your strategy when you first entered your product(s) into the marketplace?
Tonae and I used social media, word of mouth and guerilla marketing to our advantage. We took every opportunity that presented itself to pop up at any events that we felt aligned with the brand. Whimsicles are fun so we make it a point to reach the youth where they are but also provide adults with a gourmet experience at more grown-up events.
How important has leveraging existing and new relationships been to the success of your business?
Very important. Because of a major relationship, I was invited to the White House for an amazing event, and Budweiser purchased Whimsicle Gourmet Fruit Pops for the Made in America Festival due to an existing relationship. I value relationships and align myself with genuine people where there is a mutual understanding that we are here to support each other.
What has been your biggest obstacle as a young entrepreneur in the consumer packaged goods industry?
Not having mentors in the ice-cream industry made the learning curve a bit harder. Through trial and error, we have been able to find a lot of success, but the road has not been easy. I am proud to say that within a big ice-cream and popsicle industry we are making an impact as black entrepreneurs.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect next from Whimsicle?
We are working on something big, and that is all I can say on that front. We are also looking at mass production, which will allow us to distribute our products to school districts nationwide.