How I started a business with cotton candy and popcorn

Even at university, I realized that I want to do business. The problem was that the parents did not want this at all. In Russia, since 1990, many businessmen were killed, it was like in America during the “Wild West”. And although it was 2008, the parents were afraid of either bankruptcy or murder. Even now the father says that it is better to work for a large company, or in a government organization in a good position. When parents press, and you are only 23 years old, it is not easy to defend your point of view.

How I started a business with cotton candy and popcorn

Officially, I registered with the tax inspectorate on February 15, 2008. The first business was not successful – I bought wagons with cement in the east of the country (Irkutsk, Blagoveshchensk), took them in a warehouse in Izhevsk and sold them at retail. At the end of 2008, the World financial crisis started, triggered by defaults in mortgage loans in the US. Investors withdrew funds from all emerging markets, because of which the economies of the countries collapsed. Construction projects were frozen, no one needed cement. In addition, debtors did not repay their commodity loans, and one businessman took money for the cement wagon and disappeared altogether. Deception in business is always a knife in the back. If you consider that I grew up in a poor family and I had to work hard to earn money, then that case was a hard lesson for me.

How I started a business with cotton candy and popcorn
On a Far East of Russia before loading wagons

Starting a business with carload shipments across Russia, selling 100 tons of cement per month – it was difficult for an entrepreneur without experience in 23 y.o. Therefore, I decided to make the second business very small and simple. By the time I was tired of the pressure from my parents and rented a separate apartment. I continued to study at the university in the last course, I already met my future wife and shared a one bedroom apartment with friends from the university. We were poor but happy. Regularly we had parties, and the neighbors were angry because of it! Summertime we went for shish kebabs or swim to the nearest lakes – I had a small car in which we could fit in five!

How I started a business with cotton candy and popcorn

In summer, it’s very hot in Russia, so sometimes we just skated on a scooter on the night city, making noise all over the street. One day a friend offered me an exchange: he had an old popcorn machine from “Star” company, which he wanted to exchange for my old scooter. I immediately appreciated that the popcorn machine will provide our parties with free salted popcorn – and this is a very good idea for beer!

How I started a business with cotton candy and popcorn

So I had an old popper with a dirty black kettle. This guy gave me a grain, some white butter and said that I can fry with ordinary salt or sugar.
Then I saw many times that customers make popcorn with ordinary sunflower oil and sugar/salt. This is completely wrong and it is the shortest way to kill equipment!

The first launch of the equipment was chic – we made a lot of popcorn, bought a ton of beer and staged a hard party until late at night. In the morning I realized that I would die without water – beer causes thirst, and salted popcorn strengthens it. Each of us ate a lot of popcorn and drank more beer.

How I started a business with cotton candy and popcorn

Over time, I realized that I can make popcorn not only at home but also on major holidays. During the year every city has a lot of events: Children’s Day, Victory Day (WW2), City’s Birthday, Youth Festival, Sabantui, and Gerber national holidays. I remembered that at every holiday many traders sell popcorn, chips, drinks, cotton candy and souvenirs. Why do not I earn some money for the weekend?

Also, trampolines were very popular at that time, so I went to an amusement park where I could order equipment. Yes, in 2009 in the outback of Russia there were no online stores, so it was necessary to look for a seller through friends, make an order and wait for delivery for three weeks! However, when I had a trampoline and a popcorn machine, another question emerged: how can I trade legally during the festival?

How I started a business with cotton candy and popcorn

Unfortunately, I could not find out such information anywhere – then there was no internet, so every time I stuffed bumps. Now it’s much easier to do business. There is the Internet where you can read any information and get the right knowledge. So, that’s why I made this website – now another young guy could earn pocket money and try doing business with simple things.

A little later I will write a continuation of the story. In the meantime, you can write in the comments, which questions interest you most.

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