Name: Flora Pringle
Business: Cracked Candy LLC, sugar-free candy
Industry: Food & Beverage
Location: New York, New York, U.S.
Reason for starting: I am British science teacher and moved here from Australia to follow my husband’s job; I initially felt lost in New York with a young baby. I wanted to teach part time (as I had in Sydney) but that doesn’t seem possible in New York and I was only offered full time options. I came across xylitol in some toothpaste and was intrigued so looked it up. I found out it comes from birch tree bark, that our bodies make it and it is in fruits and vegetables. It looks and tastes like sugar but is GOOD for your teeth and safe for diabetics… The scientist in me wanted to find a catch…but I couldn’t! I found out that xylitol has an endothermic reaction in your mouth meaning that it lowers the temperature so it feels cooling. Dentists love it because streptococcus bacteria can’t metabolize it so decay causing bacteria dies off when you eat xylitol. In turn it strengthens teeth, promotes re-enamilization and prevents decay. I had a brain wave – the idea of creating a guilt-free candy was born. For weeks as my baby napped I methodically and scientifically tested flavors and quantities to find the right formulas. Cracked Candy has allowed me to combine my skills and passions: science, food, health and family.
Throughout my whole life I have been groomed to feel validated by academic and professional achievement. Whether I like it or not, I am a woman that needs to work. When one door closes, look for another door. Running my own business is exhausting but allows me to be flexible and present for my son.
How do you define success? Making enough money to pay for rent, food, wine and a holiday twice a year!
Biggest Success: My son. Is that a cheesy answer? Okay well going from having an idea to having a product stocked in 50 stores across America in 12 months feels like a big success.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Keeping costs down while quality up. I have addressed this by employing the help of Brooklyn Community Services – they provide opportunities for people with disabilities. I use their commercial kitchen to cook the candy with the help of individuals under their care; they then smash and package up Cracked Candy providing more work for people who would not otherwise have it. They are non-for-profit which means that it is economical for me whilst I can also support my local community.
Related: Don’t Let Your Mind Hold You Back
Who is your most important role model? Baroness Susan Greenfield. She is currently working on a cure for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and is one of the world’s leading experts in the male dominated field of brain science. She went to my school and university and I remember her giving a talk to my year group whilst wearing a hot pink above the knee skirt. She has always ‘marched to the beat of [her] own drum’, is utterly fascinating and completely inspiring not just because of what she has achieved but also because of her attitude and personal strength.
Edited by The Story Exchange