The Tasterie Truck, soon to rev up and sell sweets on Boulder's streets, started as a dream.
"One night, I dreamt I'd started a cupcake truck with a friend," owner Shannon Aten says. "The next day, I called her up and said we should make it happen."
Aten was entrenched in New York City's finance industry at that point, doing marketing for a private equity firm. But she couldn't shake the desire to return to her hometown and sell dessert, so she started taking baking classes and interning with a New York City cupcake truck. And though her friend dropped out of the project, she soon landed dessert whiz Nathan Miller, who was once the head pastry chef at The Kitchen before he left last year to pursue more creative projects.
It was time to get serious. Aten quit her job and plunged her savings into a vehicle, making preparations to move home to get her business under way, with Miller doing all the baking and Aten driving around in the truck. But her idea kept evolving: Rather than peddling just cupcakes, which people are less infatuated with, she says she'll harness Miller's pastry-making skills to offer a full line of desserts.
Now, she's looking for financing to put the finishing touches on her plan. Specifically, she turned to a site called Kickstarter, an online community where people make pledges to entrepreneurs so that they can amass the funds they need to launch their projects. Entrepreneurs set a funding goal, and only get the pledged donations if they reach that goal (otherwise, donors get their money back, so they're reassured they're not funding a plan that will never come to fruition). There's incentive for donors, too: business owners promise something in return for the investment, like a free cupcake and T-shirt for a small commitment, or a private afternoonnevent with the truck for a large one.
"It's a great way to promote ourselves, get our name out in the community and raise money for the equipment and get the thing up and running," says Aten, who launched the Kickstarter page for the Tasterie Truck last week. So far, she's raised about 14 percent of her $10,000 goal.
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Even as the last funding dollars fall into place, Aten is polishing plans for her launch.
"We hope to be in the kitchen and delivering orders by March 1," she says. "And if all goes according to plan, the full launch of the truck will happen on March 15."