As an entrepreneur, what impact has branding had on your venture’s success so far? How do you approach marketing? With whom do you collaborate to get your message out to your target audience?
Branding has been everything. We package our cookies in a mason jar so they look and taste incredible. We tie a natural ribbon bow around the top so it is has a handmade feel. Our core team of founders did all the branding, logo work and website building.
What entrepreneurial ideas and start-up lessons can advertising professionals apply to creating breakthrough work?
Entrepreneurs are often on the front end of most trends in their perspective fields. They know what customers want and expect, and they figure out how to deliver it in a new way. Advertising can always use a healthy injection of that energy.
Many advertising professionals find themselves interested in entrepreneurship. What advice would you give to someone with marketing skills interested in starting a new venture?
Marketing is half the battle. If you understand that and can deliver it for your new venture, then you're set. Finding a business partner to build and work on internal operations is key. Having a good brand and a solid marketing campaign can be something startup entrepreneurs struggle with.
Thought leaders in marketing regularly reinforce the idea that agencies (and other marketing-oriented organizations, too) should collaborate with startups. Do you agree? Why? How would you like agencies to collaborate with your organization?
Yes, I agree. By having a partnership with local startups, advertising agencies can be on the cutting edge of technology and other trends. Agencies should have a collaboration partnership where the entrepreneur and advertiser can share ideas to help each other.
What is Awesome Cookie Company, and how did you get started in the field?
Awesome Cookie Company is an artisanal cookie company with unique varieties. I began baking a cranberry oatmeal cookie for family gifts and eventually had to make it a company! The demand was constant and I needed to make it worth the effort, so I began a cookie business!
How can individuals in the marketing/advertising industry (i.e. agencies, CMOs) use your product/service to create either more impactful end-results or enhance in-house performance?
Awesome Cookie Company makes a great client gift. From gift baskets to custom packaging, we can create a one-of-a-kind gift for any client.
Our famous cranberry oatmeal cookies will impress even a non-cookie lover. They’re thin, crispy and very flavorful!
What is your view of where Awesome Cookie Company currently stands in the marketplace today? Where do you see your product/service/company in three years? What problem are you solving?
We are a very new company but growing fast. In our first year of business, we helped four advertising and PR firms create unique gifts for their clients.
In three years, Awesome Cookie Company will be in retail locations throughout the Southwest and shipping nationwide, which we currently do. We are solving cost reduction problems, and by growing in popularity, we can easily meet that goal.
Kyle Clayton started as an entrepreneur in 2008 after the recession caused his employer to shut down. Still in college at Arizona State University, Kyle decided to start his own business with a friend,and Jackrabbit Janitorial, an eco-friendly cleaning service, was created while fitting perfectly with Kyle’s school schedule.
In 2010, Kyle finally graduated college with a Bachelors degree in Spanish and a minor in international business. Since his janitorial business was doing so well, Kyle didn’t need to get a ‘real’ job after college. He kept building the business and eventually started Grey Area Consulting — a small business development company that has helped develop and launch 10 other businesses.
In 2012, Kyle and two partners launched Awesome Cookie Company, a baked goods company that specializes in unique, artisanal cookies. Currently shipping nationwide, Kyle is now working on retail locations for his new product. Finally this year, Kyle and a group of business partners started SimpleHome USA, a home automation and energy management company. From controlling your home from an iPad to having a completely smart home, SimpleHome does everything! For the last five years, Kyle has been developing, operating and expanding his businesses throughout Arizona and the Southwest. In February 2013, Kyle was asked to join The Young Entrepreneurs Council or The YEC, an invite-only group of business owners founded by Scott Gerber. Kyle Clayton is a young and upcoming entrepreneur with a solid background in business development and startups. With plenty more ideas on the horizon, who knows what this serial entrepreneur will be doing next.