John Accardi founded CRAVEBOX, a popular snack gift box company, in 2014. He dropped out of a neuroscience PhD program at Georgetown University to pursue starting a business.
“My education and training were in science, I had no prior business experience. I also had very little savings, and no investors, partners, or anyone willing to loan me money,” says Accardi.
CRAVEBOX was bootstrapped and slowly grew from John’s apartment into larger and larger warehouses. The first growth trigger was listing products on Amazon and optimizing the listings to rank at the top of page 1 for important keyword searches like “snack box.” The second wave of growth came from COVID.
Accardi says, “Suddenly everyone was buying snacks and food online since lockdown orders were in place. We couldn’t keep up with the increase in demand.”
Now CRAVEBOX operates out of a 60,000 sqft warehouse space in North Wales, PA with an impressive operation and staff.
We asked John to provide our readers with advice on starting a business. John said, “When you start a new business, you should be frugal with your money. Don’t invest too much money and instead invest a lot of effort. The reason for this is that you will likely need to pivot and change your business frequently in the beginning. You will not get it perfectly correct from the start. So, you want to put a premium on learning and testing small so that you can find your way without risking a lot of money. Once you figure out the path that works, where you’re seeing growth in sales and a healthy profit margin, then you can spend more money to increase production, marketing, etc to scale the business. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they need to invest and risk a lot of money to start a business but I would suggest you spend as little as possible.”
Accardi also talked about the timing of growing a business and how it’s usually a long journey – “Be prepared to have a lot of patience and persistence. When I started CRAVEBOX, I didn’t sell many boxes for the first 3 years and I didn’t make a profit for the first 4 years. If you’re expecting to build a multimillion dollar business in the next 2-3 years, you’re probably going to give up before you get there because you’ll become discouraged. But if you manage your expectations, you will understand that it takes time and you’ll be able to persist. It might take more like 6-10 years to build that multimillion dollar business and that’s ok.”
John looks forward to growing CRAVEBOX in the future. He is very excited about their holiday products – Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.
“I love improving our operation and products to create solid, enjoyable jobs for our employees and excellent products for our customers,” Accardi says.
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