At a time when businesses are struggling due to the ongoing pandemic, Nic King decided to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams -- ultimately creating the first black-owned cereal.
King, is the founder of Proud Puffs cereal, a vegan, gluten-free chocolate-flavored cereal that comes in the shape of a raised fist. The entrepreneur from Darien, Connecticut took a chance by starting a small business during a world-wide health crisis, social unrest, and unemployment.
However, this isn't King's first foray into the business world. King previously attempted to launch a clothing line. However, this didn't go as planned. But, the minor hiccup did not stop his entrepreneurial spirit, and with time he decided to launch his cereal brand.
"I left my corporate job of 12 years, and I like to call it 'divine inspiration,'" King said. "The idea came out of nowhere. It was Godsent. I had a lot of time on my hands, and usually, in this world, we're so busy, that we don't have time to do things. But, because of the pandemic, I was able to do months of research, realizing there were no Black-owned cereal companies. It was then I had set on the idea of wanting to make not only a healthy product but a cultural impact."
Part of the cultural impact he wanted to showcase were his family values and traditions, so, he decided to put his family on the cereal box.
"I've always been about legacy, generational wealth, and I wanted to do something that meant something to me. Putting my family on there just made sense. I wanted little Black and Brown kids to see a box that represented them. I want people to know representation matters," King said.
Since launching the cereal, King has been receiving an overwhelming number of presale orders, which start shipping out April 1, thanks through his promotion on social media. But, there are still some hurdles he has to overcome -- with the biggest one being mass production and putting his cereal on the grocery shelves.
"I've been reaching out to these brands, but I haven't received any feedback. I guess it's because I'm the new guy in town. So, I understand that. But, I'm focusing on [my] brand, just building with my community," he said.
Because of COVID, and its restrictions, King has had to navigate a different business landscape -- one that has adapted to the pandemic.
"There's a lot of systems that come to play. I have to get tested first before I can go to the office or the distribution facility. It's definitely slowed down a bit, forcing me to go online a lot more. But, I've been building, and cultivating what I need to do organically to make the business rise," he said.
King's drive runs so deep that he is already working on future ideas.
"We are definitely working on more cereal concepts, working with our food scientist. [We are] actively making sure everything is set up correctly. Most importantly, we're building up the brand. We have the words of an affirmation wordsearch for kids on the back of the box, a sweatshirt line, working on digital coloring books. We have a lot of fun things coming for 2021 and 2022," he said.