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Crackle Corn goes pop! How this small business went from market stall to airline snack

Posted 4 years ago in Small business by Sophie Lamell
Posted by Sophie Lamell

When it came to her day job, Katherine Yerondais just wasn’t feeling it. A pastry chef by trade, she’d spent the past 12 years whipping up sweet treats for Melbourne’s fanciest fine dining establishments and 5-star hotels. But it wasn’t making her happy anymore. So, she did something about it.

‘Basically, I quit my job in a blaze of glory and told them all to get stuffed,’ Katherine explains. The problem was, she now needed to find herself a solid income. Luckily, her brother had an idea: ‘He thought I should sell my homemade caramel popcorn. I thought he was crazy.’ It turns out he wasn’t – and so, Crackle Caramel Popcorn was born.

Here at Xero, our driving force is helping small businesses like Katherine’s to do beautiful business. Which is why we’re proud sponsors of the Finders Keepers – a sustainably-minded market that features the work of more than 1200 independent makers and designers from across the country.

Taking risks, making with care, and soaring sky-high

A returning Melbourne stall owner and something of a veteran, Katherine says, ‘Finders Keepers is an institution – it’s an absolute gift for brands like mine. This is the ultimate platform to get your business out there and it allows me to teach people that caramel popcorn can be so much better than what they’re buying at the supermarket.’

On the topic of which, she says: ‘I sell the best caramel popcorn ever. It’s super light and crispy, and it’s very much different to anything else out there.’ Why? ‘Because I choose the longer, more technical method of cooking it, which gives a superior finish. It’s all in the tender loving care! I don’t half-arse anything and my popcorn is made with so much joy and love.’

That devotion has paid off. Katherine explains, ‘In my first weekend of trading at markets I earned more money than I did in a week as a pastry chef.’ And people – important ones at that – have taken notice. ‘Somebody bought my popcorn at Finders Keepers and just so happened to give a bag to the lady who’s in charge of catering for Virgin Airlines. From that, I got myself a six-month contract. So Crackle Caramel Popcorn is currently flying above our heads in the air as we speak.’

But running a small business isn’t all easy. Far from it. In a sentiment echoed by Xero’s recent late payments report, Katherine explains, ‘I’m terrible at asking for money. And when you have stock going out but aren’t getting paid until much, much later – it can be totally crippling. Starting Crackle Caramel Popcorn  has been a big lesson that it’s ok to put your hand up for help when you need it.’

And that help comes in many forms: ‘I have a brilliant accountant who really believes in me and in the business – and he got me on to Xero.’ Katherine adds, ‘Now that I’m on it, I’m just like, “What the hell was I waiting for?” I don’t need to stress about income versus expenditure anymore, because I can actually see how much money I’m waiting on to come in. Xero lets me know what the big picture is. In other words, it helps me sleep at night.’

In a show of support for innovative new retail businesses, Xero is the proud sponsor of the Finders Keepers debut stall section. Positioned near the entrance of each event, this is a one time opportunity for freshly formed businesses to showcase their wares. As a champion of startups, we’re here to help these brands learn, grow and inspire, just like Crackle Caramel Popcorn  before them.

When asked whether nabbing an airline deal was the ultimate marker of success for Crackle Caramel Popcorn , Katherine says with a laugh, ‘Oh no, I’ve got a goal to own a tropical island in the Caribbean one day, right next to Richard Branson. So when I’ve retired and I’m sitting pretty with a cocktail in a coconut – then I’ll be truly happy.’

Thankfully, Xero is here to help turn dreamers into doers.

Melburnians, don’t miss the chance to support small business and find yourself a treasure or two at the AW19 Finders Keepers Market at The Royal Exhibition Building on 12 to 14 July. 

It’s official: all Australian business owners are now required to digitally report their payroll information to the ATO through Single Touch Payroll. Join the team behind Finders Keepers in discovering that STP is only a few clicks away with Xero.

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