The phrase “edible arrangement” tends to conjure images of whimsical fruit bouquets and kitschy commercials. Gillian Rozynek decided to play with this concept and make it her own by creating charcuterie bouquets. Rozynek, a Cape Cod native, marketing and psychology major, and Boston College Class of 2020 graduate, already has her own business fresh out of college, at only 22 years old. She is the founder of Kured Inc, a Cape Cod based, edible arrangement, e-commerce business that offers charcuterie bouquets of all sizes.
Rozynek was first inspired with this idea while studying abroad in Madrid, Spain during her junior year of college. “Day after day in the city, I noticed how people gathered in the afternoons and bonded over a charcuterie board and a glass of wine. I loved this method of slowing down and enjoying life with loved ones.” She wanted to bring that feeling back to our fast-paced, workaholic American culture, and now makes charcuterie bouquets and delivers them to homes all over Cape Cod with the help of a trusted friend and a supportive neighbor.
Kured Inc’s mission is to “foster relationships, bonds, conversation, and good times between friends and family by sharing a charcuterie bouquet.” Through her idea, Rozynek also wishes to “revive the gift-giving and edible arrangement business,” which has grown stale and littered with tired and predictable fruit baskets.
Kured Inc’s launch story began in April 2020 when Rozynek entered the Strakosch Venture Competition with her business idea and made it all the way to the semi-finals. One of the judges took a particular liking to Rozynek’s pitch, contacted her through LinkedIn, and helped her get involved with the SSC Accelerator Program, which provides seed money and mentorship to startups. With the program’s help and her own personal savings, Rozynek was able to turn her vision into a reality.
Rozynek creates her charcuterie bouquets with the help of an iGourmet wholesale account, through which she purchases her cured meats, and a loyal relationship with the North Falmouth Cheese Shop in Cape Cod, where she acquires her cheese and crackers, in support of local businesses. She builds the bouquets in a commercial kitchen and hand delivers them all over Cape Cod. Kured Inc. has partnered with a digital marketing agency that helped the young business with branding and marketing, including social media ad campaigns to increase traffic on its website.
Rozynek admits that there have been professional and personal challenges in launching her own business and becoming a young, woman entrepreneur. Professionally, she has faced the challenge of balancing finances and choosing where to direct money such as choosing between prioritizing materials or marketing. “Owning my own business also comes with the challenge of wearing many hats,” she adds, “I have to wear the legal hat, financial hat, production hat, and many others.” Personally, Rozynek fights to be taken seriously and achieve legitimacy as a young business owner. “There are some who view me and my business and simply think, ‘Oh that’s cute,’ but I am fully dedicated to continuing giving my business legs and proving its worth.”
As for navigating a new business in a COVID-19 world, Roznek says, “I completed a Food Service Certification to keep customers comfortable and reassured of my caution during the pandemic. I also adapted the product to COVID-19 by creating a downsized option, which is a small charcuterie bouquet that is enough for one or two people.”
Despite challenges, launching her own business has proven incredibly rewarding for Rozynek. She feels as if she has grown immensely from a business knowledge standpoint, calling this experience, “my own version of getting an MBA.” Her hard work and devotion have proved fruitful as her business is now profitable. Apart from business success and growth, Rozynek has found her relationships with customers to be the most fulfilling. “I love making customers happy and seeing them love the bouquets and come back for more.”
Rozynek excitedly shares her short-term and long-term goals for Kured Inc, “In the short run, I want to keep expanding geographically and achieve the three Rs of customer satisfaction: Returns, Repeats, and Referrals. I want to run a customer-centric business. In the long run, I aspire to be the next Edible Arrangements, except a charcuterie version. There is no clear-cut market leader right now, and I strive to eventually be at the top.”
To the young, aspiring entrepreneur, Rozynek says, “Just go for it! It is risky, but I encourage you to do it, especially at a young age. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain as starting your own business will push you to grow, lead you to new opportunities, and advance your aspirations. There is no right way to turn your vision into a reality, just dive in.”