Gourmet snacks are what Jeff and Jennifer Martin do well. The brother and sister duo who founded Pipcorn in 2012 are slowly building a Pipsnacks empire with their unique brand of gourmet popcorn. Earlier this year the entrepreneurs appeared on Shark Tank, heightening their public profile. And with their growing platform, they are amplifying Black businesses.
In February the company launched a Black Founder Spotlight series. Every month the brand features a different Black founder to amplify awareness of other Black-founded brands. “Aligned with Pipcorn’s mission to redefine the meaning of better-for-you snacking by creating products that not only have better-for-you ingredients but are also better for families, shared communities, and the planet, this ongoing initiative emphasizes the importance of recognition beyond just one month to further amplify Black voices across all industries,” says Pipcorn.
Despite Black business owners being the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs, the racial funding gap remains a large problem. Federal Reserve stats show that a little over 80 percent of white business owners receive a percentage of the funding they request from a bank, while 44 percent of Black business owners use their own cash to start their venture. Because of this, marketing and advertising budgets for these companies tend to be less than their white counterparts, which contributes to their bottom line.
Pipcorn’s decision to spotlight Black-owned brands in a spirit of collaboration helps to widen the audience for the heirloom company and those they amplify. In addition to spotlighting brands on their social platform, Pipcorn is also introducing these brands to their followers through special giveaways. Studies show that brand collaborations are beneficial for the increase in market share they produce, the knowledge sharing that comes from it, higher profits, they widen the base of customers and increase brand reach.
Pipcorn’s first spotlight was dedicated to Chris Oates, the founder of Waju, a New York City-based sparkling water brand. Waju is a mission-based company that puts the planet first, sourcing water sustainably from dehydrated fruit. Waju claims to be the only water naturally sourced from 100 percent real fruit. The brand’s mission is to combat a forecasted water deficit, by relieving some of the stress most beverages put on our underground water reserves. Upcoming brands being highlighted include Partake, OH-mazing, and Blk & Bold. Mikaila Ulmer, founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade was their spotlight for March.
Pipcorn is a minority-founded snacking brand that reimagines snacks with their staple ingredient, heirloom corn, to create better-for-you, modern favorites. Crowned as one of the queer Black women founders to watch, co-founder Jen Martin and her brother Jeff built Pipcorn from the ground up in Brooklyn, actively pioneering for more diversity in the natural foods space.