Cheeky sells a line of paper products exclusively through Target retailers nationwide, but also aims to put food on the plates of families in need. In its first year, Cheeky helped provide 5 million meals through its partner organization Feeding America. CEO and founder PJ Brice discussed Cheeky's mission to assist the hungry, as well as Cheeky's relationship with Target and future plans for expansion, with Business News Daily.
Business News Daily: In a nutshell, what service does your business provide?
PJ Brice: Cheeky is a lifestyle brand helping end hunger with brilliant design. For starters, we make on-trend paper products like plates and napkins exclusively for Target. But that's just the beginning. The best part is what we're doing for hunger. When you buy one pack, Cheeky gives one meal. We're providing people with an easy way to make an impact on a huge problem here in the U.S.
BND: How long have you been in business?
Brice: Cheeky just turned one! We launched in Target in November 2014. In just one year, our business has already hit 5 million meals through our partner Feeding America. Next year we're on track to double that.
BND: Did you start with a formal business plan? If not, how did you lay the groundwork for your business?
Brice: My partners and I have been laying the groundwork for Cheeky for basically our whole careers. Cheeky is built on our relationships with Target. My previous company, Allegro, was named vendor of the year at Target a few times. We saw how uninspired the paper plate aisle was looking across retailers and Target trusted us to give them something better.
BND: How did you finance your endeavors, both initially and as your business grew?
Brice: Cheeky is privately funded.
BND: How much did you invest personally?
Brice: Enough to keep me up at night.
BND: Is your business today what you originally envisioned at the outset or has it changed significantly over time?
Brice: Yes and no. Like any lean start-up we've moved fast and made adjustments. I've always had a really grand vision for what Cheeky will become, but what's changed is which opportunity we're going after first. I wish I could tell you more ... stay tuned.
BND: What are some lessons you’ve learned? Is there anything you would’ve done differently?
Brice: As an entrepreneur I've really learned you can never over-communicate. The more time I spend with our customers, vendors and team, the more in tune we all are. Cheeky has been a collaborative effort and communication has been key.
BND: What were the most important factors that contributed to your success?
Brice: We're working with an amazing team at Target. We're on a bit of a roller coaster. The pace has been insane and they've been a true partner through it all.
BND: What are the next steps you want to take as a business owner? How do you see yourself achieving those goals?
Brice: You'll see us expanding our product offering at Target. I love developing new product lines and donating more meals. But we're putting guardrails up to make sure all our extensions make sense for the brand and core business. We're committed to helping end hunger and never want to lose sight of that.
BND: What is your best advice to someone with a great business idea who is ready to give it a shot?
Brice: Get your wife's blessing. Or husband's. It takes a village.