The power of social media is at an all-time high these days, especially if you're trying to promote or start a business. One valley mother did just that by launching an idea on Facebook -- and the rest is history.
Jennifer Cucci had no idea her side business making cake pops would turn into a full-time job in less than a year.
"I made them for my son's birthday party. I was making them for my telecom business clients. I would deliver them to my clients and before I even got back into the car, they were calling me, asking where did you get these cake pops, I want to order them. They were ordering, their clients were ordering, before I knew it, I was making thousands and there was no way I could keep up with the demand," she said.
She researched online looking for a tool to help make rolling the cake pops easier and faster. Her search came up short, so she went and made a prototype of her own. It was when she realized this might be helpful to many others. The only thing holding her back was the money to get it manufactured.
"I was at the manufacturers and he told me that it was going to be $45,000 to produce my tool for mass production," said Jennifer.
The question was how does she get $45,000? Sure, there were small business loans, or home equity lines of credit, but neither of those were an option at the time.
"After a lot of thought, I decided to go the pre-sale route. So just like you would buy a book pre-sale, I decided we would pre-sale the easy rollers," said Jennifer.
She used Facebook and her web site to promote and sell it.
"I created a PayPal account and from there I posted it on Facebook and a YouTube video of me using it and they just started sharing it and my thousand or so fans I had started telling their friends, hey buy one on pre-sale because if they don't hit their number, I'm not getting mine either," explained Jennifer.
In just 90 days, Jennifer reached her $45,000 goal, got the rollers manufactured and shipped out. Today, the tool is helping everyone from professional bakers around the world to everyday moms.
Take any rolling pin and roll the dough. Next, place the dough into the tool, put the cover on, close it once and lift it off. Remove the excess and lay the strips of dough the opposite direction.
To finish, insert your stick, dip in chocolate and decorate -- voila! Dozens and dozens of cake pops done in half the time!
"I can make up to $500 an hour.. of course I use it all the time, but $500 an hour is pretty good for a small little tool that you don't have to plug in," said Jennifer.