Jovani Prince always knew he was meant for fame, but he never thought it would be from his crackers. The self-proclaimed “Cracker King” has created a following from his gluten-free crackers that can make even those without Celiac believe in the gluten-free movement. However, if it wasn’t for inspiration spurring from his family, the stay-at-home dad wouldn’t be making his hand-crafted artisan crackers today.
Read more from The Cracker King Jovani Prince below:
The spark that inspired the birth of your concept: My mom made these amazing seed crackers. They are the Sunny Seed [cracker] I sell now. She gave them to us for our drive home back to Oakland, CA. We couldn’t stop eating them. We finished the whole bag in a few minutes. I have to say that the spark came from my wife, not me, because it was her idea. I was racking my brain trying to figure out a small business I could start. One night after going over different ideas, my wife told me I should start a food company because all I do is talk about food. She then said, “You should make and sell those crackers your mom made.” And that was the beginning of becoming The Cracker King.
The problem it solves: My crackers give those with celiac, trying to lose weight OR those who feel better on a non-gluten diet, an amazing tasting product that does not taste gluten-free! That truly has been the key to our success!
How you came up with the name: The name The Cracker King came from a character that I originally was going to put on the back of the cracker bag like the Keebler Elf. I even had cartoon drawings made of The Cracker King. He had long dreads, like I use to have, a top hat and vintage clothing. Once again, I was talking to my wife about the business, but this time we were talking about branding. I couldn’t figure out how to tie The Cracker King into the branding of my business. The purpose of this character was to have fun and not take ourselves so seriously like most health food companies. In the middle of this conversation, my wife paused and said, “You should just call it ‘The Cracker King’.” So, I owe it all to her again.
How I became The Cracker King is another story. When I started selling at farmers markets, people called me The Cracker King. Even kids started to call me The Cracker King. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be The Cracker King. I just wanted people to enjoy my product. After weeks of people walking by asking me where my crown was, I decided to get one. It was October 2017, right before Halloween when I walked into a Halloween costume store in Beaverton. After turning a corner and looking down an aisle I saw a crown. It seemed like a stream of light was beaming down on it. I knew that was the crown for me. I picked up the crown and put it on my head and it fit perfectly. At that moment I became The Cracker King.
How you are different than your competition: I hate to say we are better because I feel that everyone has something to offer. Where we are different is that all our products are full of flavor and don’t taste gluten-free. We source most of our ingredients from local companies here in Oregon. We are also different because our brand is all about fun! We don’t take ourselves to seriously.
How you make money: We make money from farmers markets and selling at local stores such as New Seasons.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur: The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that I have control over my own destiny. I can plant a seed and watch it grow!
The biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date: My biggest surprise is how the community has embraced us. The support and love I have been receiving is a blessing.
Your biggest success: My biggest success is not money. It is hearing from my customers that they are so happy I am making a gluten-free product they can enjoy.
A failure story and what you learned: I have many stories that you could say were failures, but I don’t believe in failure. I believe with every setback there is something to learn. Failure or setbacks are not negative but a positive. It means that you are trying and that you are on the right path. We are all human and not perfect. The beauty of being a human being is our flaws. That is what makes us unique, and that is what makes us beautiful!
What keeps you up at night: Worrying about my children is what keeps me up all night. This business is for them not for me. I want to make sure I make the right decisions, so they can have a good start in this world.
The best entrepreneurial advice you have received: The best entrepreneurial advice I got from Famous Amos. Famous Amos is a brand of cookies founded in Los Angeles in 1975 by Wally Amos an African American. The company expanded quickly, selling more than $1 million worth of cookies by its second year. Being an African American male myself I was hoping he could give me some good advice. I sent him an email thinking that he would not respond, but I thought why not at least try. To my surprise, he wrote back to me. He told me to don’t ever give up! He also told me to not use being an African American as an excuse for my failures, but to embrace to who I am.
Your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur: The same advice Wally Amos gave me. Don’t ever give up and believe in yourself! Remember who you are and where you come from!
The #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur: Shoe Dog from Phil Knight. I would recommend this book because it really moved me. I love this book because it shows how he built a dynasty from nothing.
The song that best describes your entrepreneurial journey: Ain’t Nothin But a G Thing by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog 🙂 To be honest, there is no song I can think of. Music moves me at different moments, from classical to reggae and gangster rap.
What wild success looks like: Well, my company will become wildly successful! What it will look like is people across this world eating one of my products with a smile on their face.
Your favorite local business: My favorite local business is Bob’s Red Mill. I love all the flour blends and the other high-quality products they carry.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: I aspired to be a singer, but to be honest, I thought about being a pimp, too 🙂 They seemed to have all the money and women. Thank God I didn’t take that direction.
Is Oregon a good place to start a business? Oregon is an amazing place to start a business. Coming from Oakland, California I have grown to love it here! The people and community have been so supportive. I am so blessed to be here!
Anything else? I would like to say to all of you out there who are starting a new business to just believe. No matter who you are or where you come from you are important. Believe in the stars and you will become one!
The Cracker King: https://thecrackerking.com/
Don’t miss your chance to taste The Cracker King’s crackers at our Food & Beverage Showcase on Tuesday, October 2!