Shalonda and Michael Burnside are living proof of the age-old advice: do what you love. As a family, they shared a deep passion for popcorn. So, when the time came to embark on a new venture, they knew exactly what it would be.
Michael, currently immersed in the world of corporate finance for a real estate company, and Shalonda, who had previously delved into business marketing before focusing on being a stay-at-home mom, joined forces to establish Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn. Their motivation was twofold: their shared love for popcorn and a desire to instill entrepreneurship values in their two daughters. The business was born during a time when Shalonda faced challenges reentering the workforce after their first child was born. They decided to break the mold and chart their own path by building a business rooted in their passions, as Michael explains, “We started Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn because of our love for popcorn as a family and a desire to teach our two daughters entrepreneurship. Starting the business came at a time when Sholanda was struggling to reenter the workforce after having our first child. We decided to think outside the box and chart our own path by starting a business based on our passions.”
Naming their business was a family affair. Shalonda reveals, “For our business name, we wanted to incorporate the names of the family members. So, the LIL in LIL Pop are the initials from my nickname and our children’s first names.” With Michael’s background in corporate finance and Sholanda’s expertise in business and marketing, along with their experience working with youth and young adults, where they encouraged entrepreneurship and imparted business principles, they felt confident in their vision and abilities when it came time to launch their business.
To read the full story, click on the cover of the October 2023 issue