We had the good fortune of connecting with LaVonda Chapman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi LaVonda, looking back, what do you think was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?
One of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make was whether to quit my job of 7 years or not. I was working full time, running a business full time, running a household full time and still trying to have a life as well. It was extremely taxing & overwhelming mentally, emotionally and physically. It was an extremely difficult decision because in entrepreneurship, you could have a really really good month of sales and the next month subpar sales. At least with my job I knew that i had a set stream of income that i could definitely depend on every two weeks. I decided to go part time instead of totally giving up my employment and it still gets challenging at times working part time and running a business full time but, I make it work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets my gourmet popcorn apart from others is I incorporate dried fruits, nuts, candies, chips and etc into my popcorn and it’s made with love. My passion & driving force isn’t profits & isn’t necessarily popcorn, its people. I love making & seeing people happy and smiling and because of that I make profits.
I am most excited about my future and the world catching onto my product. My company’s slogan is, “Making the world pretty, one pop at a time.” There is so much darkness & ugliness in the world that I want to be a light and create light. People are the most happiest when they are nourishing themselves with something that makes them feel good and taste good.
I got where I am today professionally by trusting, having faith in God, allowing him to lead and direct me and working extremely hard! That can be can extremely difficult at times because
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Downtown Saint Louis has some of the most fun and exciting places to eat, drink and have a good time at. I love staying at the Four Seasons hotel and having breakfast at the Cinder House restaurant followed by a spa day. Ballpark Village isn’t far away and it houses various restaurants including one of my favs, The Drunken Fish. A new edition to Saint Louis is the City Foundry and their Food Hall alone is absolutely AMAZING! Places to hang out at include House of Soul, JC Supper Club, Delmar Loop and the Union Station.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shout out to God. If it wasn’t for him giving me the vision of this business then I wouldn’t have it. I’m not even a die hard popcorn eater so I never would have thought to start a popcorn business. When I decided that i wanted to make some changes in my life I used to pray to him every single day asking him to bless me with supplemental income. I’m a self taught makeup artist so, of course i thought that my answered prayer would be me working in a makeup studio, store or etc. Nope! God gave me the vision of gourmet popcorn and it was so weird to me that i sat on the idea for almost 3 months before even making a move. God is so patient & so lovingly persistent that he wouldn’t let up until I made that move. I would dream about flavors of popcorn, go into a grocery store and put ingredients together in my mind that I thought would taste good & this was a repeated thought process daily! Finally I said, “Ok God this has to be you so, I’m going to make some popcorn and put it out there on social media. If i make some money I make some money but if I don’t it’s ok.’ I launched March 5, 2020 & I made $1000 in two days selling $5 bags of gourmet popcorn! I couldn’t believe it and I’ve been growing ever since.
I want to give recognition to my brother Levarr “Peppy” Brown for always believing in me and having my back. He is the best brother that a sister could ever ask for and I love him so much! He’s a food connoisseur so whenever I come out with a new flavor that’s who i call to give the green light or not.
I want to give recognition to my circle of friends who come to rescue when I’m drowning and swamped orders. No matter what they have going on in their lives they rearrange it and show up for me. Words cant express just how much that means to me so to Nakeisha Finney, Hope Weaver, Kandice Goodman, Lashawn Henderson, Temeka Moore, Myisha McGee and Kelly Anderson thank you all so much I love you!
Last but certainly not least, shout out to my Pretty Popcorn Posse!!! Without you all there would be no Pretty Pop Gourmet Popcorn and you guys make all of the sleepless nights, the stresses, the anxieties, the tears and every other challenge that comes along with running a business worth it! I love yall!!
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