14 Nov Tenant Spotlight: Whimsicle Pops
Whimsicle Pops is a gourmet popsicle business led by a husband and wife team dedicated to produce pops that boast unique flavors and promote healthy eating. Their popsicles are made from fresh organic fruits, vegetables, and other natural ingredients customizable to fit the desires of our customers.
Whimsicle is much more than the pops they produce. We sat down with Salim Whimsicle (Weldon) at his production studio in our Maken South Studios and talked fruit, health, and future.
Tell us about the Whimsicle journey
My wife and co-owner, Tonae, and I grew up with water ice. Tonae’s grandfather co-ran a water ice company, and I worked at a local water ice shop. While we love our family’s business and product, we wanted to create a healthy ice pop.
We are focused on fighting childhood obesity and diabetes. I’m borderline diabetic and my grandma died from diabetes, and my wife’s grandfather died from cancer. Our health history and the upward trends in childhood obesity and diabetes were a driving force for our focus to create healthy alternatives to sugary products. Our pops are made with fresh organic fruits, vegetables, and natural ingredients.
How have you built up Whimsicle?
Strong community connections and engagement. Our model is a little different. Our focus has not been grocery store distribution and sales. We’ve built strong ties at both the local and national levels. Locally, we collaborate with schools, universities, restaurants, and businesses. Nationally, we work with pro athletes, sports leagues and teams, top organizations, and music industry professional. The reason our reach has grown is because of our brand and the relationships we’ve grown over the years.
We are brand focused and community driven. The only way I’ll work with someone is for them to give back to the community. For example, when I worked with Adidas, I collaborated with their team to donate shoes to local neighborhood kids.
We are focused and directed with our brand and business. While we’re looking at a supermarket strategy, we believe we can affect change more than just sitting on a grocery shelf.
What is the Whimsicle brand?
We fuse fruit, popsicles, art, fashion, and music for healthy eating and community wellbeing.
How do you come up with your flavors?
Our motto is: You crave it. We create it. People were asking about fruit combinations. So, we followed the flavor trends based on research. Our main flavor is Fused Fruit with kiwi, strawberry, pineapple, mango, and grape. In the summer, we’ll add peaches and/or watermelon. We also mix our fruit with yogurt.
We also partner with businesses to create custom flavors. We’ve partnered with Adidas to create a Whimsicle tied to a launch event for a sneaker.
What change are you hoping to make?
We strive for the wellbeing of our community and healthy eating with all of our products. Our focus is on our product and our community. Our message to kids is that they can do anything they put their minds to. The community where you grow up doesn’t determine where you end up.
Take me and my family for example. I was lucky to have my little league football coach as my mentor and prominent male figure in my life. He gave me the spark to connect with people and my community. After I graduated college, I saw two paths I could take. One was the money negative or street money path. The other was money positive. I decided my path forward was money positive.
Whimsicle has given me and my family the opportunity to travel to Africa, Paris, Dubai, and events around the country. To meet people, leaders, athletes, and celebrities most people don’t get the chance to meet. Like the time I attended South by South Lawn at the White House during the Obama years, where I was able to meet national community leaders and inventors. We are working toward providing opportunities for families, children, and communities they may not dream of.
How are you connected with the community?
We meet with kids at the Youth Study Center and talk about the relationships we’ve built and how these relationships have helped build our brand and business. I’ve spoken on multiple local panels about our business. My message: You never know who’s gonna change your life.
What led you to MaKen?
The Mayor’s office suggested MaKen. They knew about the building and thought it’d be a great fit. So far so good. And the location is great. Easy access to transportation routes like 95.
We’re looking to expand our business and reach locally and regionally. We’re looking to buy a food truck and hit all the local and regional festivals. We’re working on creating a sister product for supermarket distribution.