Tell me about yourself: My name is Brad Cocklin and I grew up in Michigan in the metro Detroit area. Went to UofD Jesuit and then to Michigan State. Majored in Hospitality Business and moved to NYC to work for a hotel chain. I moved to Chicago for a career change and started working in commercial insurance. Started working with a girl I knew from college there and eventually we began to date! The rest is history!
What type of business do you own and what made you want to do so: I own a snack business called Chunk Nibbles (technically in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) space) that handcrafts a salty & sweet mix. The recipe is originally my Grandma's and, with her permission, I began commercially producing and selling it. I started the business because I found myself working 60-70+ hours a week for someone else and realized two things. 1. If I can work that hard for someone else; I can do the same for myself. 2. I wanted to put my name on something and be proud of it. So I took the leap of faith and pulled my 401k and set out to make it happen.
What keeps you driven: A couple things. Cliché but I love when people doubt me. It fuels my fire to prove them wrong. I am not the smartest person in the room by any means but I will outwork anyone when I put my mind to something. Secondly - my family. My wife is an amazing support system. We are expecting our first child this Summer and I want to build a brand that we can all be proud of. Also My mother works with us everyday making product and she is the head of our quality control! We don't put out anything we wouldn't be proud to put our family name on.
Who or what do you look to for inspiration: I think inspiration goes hand in hand with motivation. There are people I speak to on a regular basis that motivate me. Some people that are within my industry and others I have met on a personal basis. Recently we lost my Grandma, who was the founder/originator of the CN recipe. I wish she could have stuck around and saw us selling her products on HSN (home shopping network) and turning her little recipe into a national brand. Keeping her legacy alive is now something that motivates and inspires me.
What is the future for you and your company: Well, I would say the future looks positive. We have our first national TV spot coming next week. We are continuing to bring on new customers and introduce our product line to new consumers. We have new flavors that will be launching this year. I hope to put together a team that is way more qualified than I am in this space with way more knowledge. I am very happy with where we are heading but there is still a lot of work to do. There is a quote that I was given a while back and I keep it on a sticky note in my office. It helps remind me not to rest on yesterday's wins and to keep striving and pushing for more.
"Success is never owned; it's rented. And rent is due everyday".
Where can we find your brand and products:
You can find our products online at www.chunknibbles.com
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