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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Small Business Snapshot: Mikey's

Small Business Snapshot: Mikey's Credit: Mikey's

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Michael Tierney, CEO and founder of Mikey's, explains how this image represents his business.

Mikey's is a frozen food brand that produces high-quality items made with real ingredients. Everything Mikey's makes is certified gluten-free, non-GMO and certified paleo, and offers an alternative to traditional bakery and grain products, such as English muffins, pizza crust, sliced bread, and a recently-introduced line of decadent muffin tops. 

Recognizing a white space for high-quality, tasty bread products in the packed goods market, I created the Mikey's brand. But as a lifelong foodie, I didn't want to just fill the white space; I wanted to provide a superior product that would fill a void, but that people would also want to eat. At Mikey's we aim to appeal to not only those with food allergies or diet restrictions, but consumers as whole. Our products offer something for everyone, and a big value of ours is offering great taste that you don't have to compromise on.

This photo represents all the hard work put into Mikey's. In this photo I am at a trade show, making sure I was seen by every developer, consumer and buyer attending the event. When I started Mikey's, I finances the business and developed the flagship product all on my own, and within a year, sourced commercial co-packers to manufacture the product and began selling to national retailers. This photo reinforces all the efforts behind making that happen. All the blood, sweat, tears, etc. and late nights at meetings, trade shows, and more that equals our current success.

For us, the biggest challenge is identifying with so many categories. Because we have so many distinct identifiers (gluten-free, soy free, dairy free, grain-free, low-carb, paleo certified, non-GMO, etc.) it can be hard to appeal to every single audience within those identifiers. Even though our efforts are seemingly limitless, it can be hard to find our target audience, and therefore, where we should market our product. Other brands with fewer attributes have a more direct and distinct path, while ours is wide open. I'm not complaining — it's a great problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.

As far as what's next for Mikey's, right now we're focusing on making the products already in distribution that are great, even greater! We also have a new flavor of muffin tops launching – chocolate chip – that we're super excited to share with consumers. You can expect to see those on shelves soon! Our priorities for 2017 also include building brand efficacy and awareness with those that aren't aware of the Mikey's brand. For those retailers that are already carrying Mikey's, it's our goal to improve our awareness within that market, and enhance the velocity in those places and with those consumers.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Fallon Taylor.