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Popcorn so good it is prison: Emily O’Brien laid the inspiration for

Popcorn so good it is prison: Emily O’Brien laid the inspiration for

Emily O’Brien discovered her enterprise inspiration from a preferred inmate snack

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Beginning a enterprise isn’t simple. There’ll all the time be challenges and obstacles, however with willpower and perseverance, you may make it a actuality.

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Take the case of Comeback Snacks.

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Emily O’Brien had the added problem of beginning her firm whereas in a federal jail.

O’Brien’s unlikely journey into the popcorn enterprise started in 2018, whereas serving time at Grand Valley Establishment for Girls for drug smuggling. Regardless of being behind bars, she produced a product and networked successfully, producing good phrase of mouth and constructing a profitable enterprise.

Networking and mentorship are important to O’Brien’s enterprise success, and he or she hopes that others can be taught from her entrepreneurial journey, irrespective of the place they’re ranging from.

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Thoughts over matter

Whereas many individuals see incarceration as a setback, O’Brien considered her time in jail as a chance. As she advised Moneywise, she framed it as a sabbatical.

“What holds you again in enterprise isn’t the tools or the surroundings round you, but it surely’s the way you select to react to conditions that you just’re in,” says O’Brien.

O’Brien reworked an impediment into a chance, utilizing her time and assets to construct a profitable model.

Whereas watching the 2018 Tremendous Bowl, O’Brien was having fun with the uniquely flavoured popcorn her fellow inmates had created. Inmates would typically make their very own popcorn flavours with the restricted elements obtainable to them. They’d use the kernels as a “clean canvas” to discover spice and flavour combos.

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Impressed by the distinctive flavours, O’Brien used her community of mates exterior of jail to conduct market analysis on the popcorn business. Ryan Corridor — a pal and now a enterprise accomplice — despatched her data on opponents and helped to research the viability of her enterprise thought. By July she began up her enterprise, initially referred to as Cons & Kernels. With approval from Correctional Service Canada, working Cons & Kernels turned a part of O’Brien’s jail launch plan.

By September, O’Brien held her first out-of-prison enterprise occasion, getting a day-pass to attend. When she was launched from custody in December 2018, O’Brien was able to push her enterprise ahead.

What began as a small enterprise that price lower than $100 is now a line of snacks obtainable in about 700 shops all through Canada, in line with O’Brien.

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The artwork of beginning over

Whereas incarceration is likely to be the bottom time in somebody’s life, O’Brien credit her mindset for pushing her towards progress and success.

“After I bought arrested a lot of what I heard was ‘nicely your life is over’ and ‘how’s it really feel to have hit all-time low?’” says O’Brien.

“There was sufficient to spark my motivation to show them improper.”

Whereas in jail, O’Brien turned to telephone calls and letter writing to kind a community of enterprise connections. By way of the method, she was open and trustworthy about her story and circumstance.

“In order for you your online business to offer you that means and private satisfaction, it has to attach your previous, to your future,” says O’Brien, “irrespective of how troublesome your previous is likely to be.”

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She additionally took the time to learn voraciously and reached out to her idols by way of snail mail. O’Brien felt the strategy was extra private and allowed her to face out extra, being “unconventional, but genuine” as she states on her website. Lawrence Hill responded to her letters and supplied to fulfill upon O’Brien’s launch. So did former “Dragons’ Den” panelist and “The Rich Barber” writer David Chilton.

After studying Chilton’s ebook, O’Brien wrote an article titled “The Comparatively Rich Inmate.” Chilton’s assistant learn the piece, and Chilton reached out to O’Brien. Since then, Chilton has turn into a enterprise mentor.

As an alternative of hiding behind her previous, getting folks speaking about her story helped generate curiosity in her product, which translated into gross sales. And along with her funneling all she makes again into her enterprise, O’Brien advised Moneywise that she nonetheless owns 100 per cent of Comeback Snacks and has been capable of fund her firm with none loans.

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Paying it ahead

Having full management of Comeback Snacks permits O’Brien and Corridor to work with companions and workers of their selecting. Because of this she’s capable of actively assist these in troublesome conditions.

O’Brien additionally actively helps rehabilitation and reintegration packages such because the Renascent Basis and Elizabeth Fry Society.

O’Brien acknowledges that there’s some danger concerned when hiring former inmates. People might have trauma, or have particular struggles that they’re nonetheless overcoming.

Sympathizing with their background and their wants not solely creates a optimistic area for them to re-integrate, but additionally helps them on a private stage.

“There’s a lot of locations that I’ve been capable of ship folks, particularly small eating places and cafes. And even simply connecting them to schooling as nicely has been tremendous necessary.”

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Her firm creates an area the place the crew is ready to be open and trustworthy about their private struggles.

“That truly creates [not] only a sense of therapeutic, however belonging,” says O’Brien.

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For O’Brien, regaining your footing after dealing with a setback comes again to the thought of “emotional revenue.”

“That’s an actual sense of satisfaction and that means that our enterprise helps others contribute to the world, and helps us develop and succeed as individuals simply as a lot as we assist it succeed within the market.”

“Begin with what you could have and assist others do the identical. That’s emotional revenue and that’s how one can be actually wealthy —- with out earnings taxes.”

This text supplies data solely and shouldn’t be construed as recommendation. It’s supplied with out guarantee of any form.

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