By Michael Evans
A innovative west side business where customers buy package-free products in bulk is experiencing growth thanks to the drive of entrepreneur Jamaica Trinnaman and a recent, successful Kickstarter campaign.
Hello Bulk Market has been in operation as part of the Square Kitchen “business incubator” building on 750 W. 800 South since spring of 2018. They also sell their products at local Farmers Markets, such as oats, beans, pastas, spices, scents, essential oils, medicinal clays, aloe vera, candies, toothpaste, soaps, beauty supplies, cleaners, and more – including containers suitable for storing and carrying things home.
“This business was born out of common sense,” said Trinnaman, “and it certainly has evolved to something much bigger with tremendous environmental impact. We are all starting to realize that the way we consume goods is no longer working. We no longer keep up with the byproducts of the packaging. The best thing we can do is stop consuming those packaged products.”
Besides the environmental benefits of having zero waste (customers bring their own personal, reusable containers or purchase them at the market), Trinnaman touts other reasons to buy from her market: access to high-quality, fresh products that haven’t been stored for who-knows-how-long, and the ability to buy what you need when you need it.
Trinnaman possesses a rich background of research from her career in the grocery industry to back up her business plans, but she said that she learned so much from other female entrepreneurs.
“They popped into my life,” she said, “and I needed to hear their stories. They carry you, want to help you.” The range of experience from these female mentors ranges from two weeks to three years, or even several generations, for one of the women.
Six of the women from her network of associates and friends gathered their energies and pulled off a very successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised $15,000 towards hiring a team to support Hello Bulk Market’s growth and to eventually move into a new storefront location. The Kickstarter was capped with a final event at Square Kitchen in August that included a silent auction, drinks, and amenities. “Just put good music, a good cause, good alcohol together with Ana Valdemoro’s warm empanadas, and it will be successful,” laughed Trinnaman.
Trinnaman has decided to expand into a new place with a distinct storefront of its own, but for now the market is still operating out of Square Kitchen.
Trinnaman’s steady networking has created a demand for her as a speaker for business groups. She recently spoke at a meet and greet for Health and Wellness entrepreneurs and is speaking at Utah State University in October on a council about mission-driven businesses propelled by positive change.
Trinnaman described the basic steps of starting a new business.
First, after collecting the necessary data and research, she strongly advocated filling out a one-page Business Model Canvas (there are several on the Internet) and developing a Three Year Projection for “conversations with investors.” (These are the “numbers” that can provide comfort during dark days and point to profits when times become good.) “Don’t lose the momentum!” she said.
Then, “when you find a location, start with Zoning at the City and County Building,” said Trinnaman. “Ask for help, and when you get the information you need, they will lead you to the next office across the hall for business licenses and other things.”
The next business model of Hello Bulk Market will also incorporate produce. “It is the perfect bulk food – already in a perfect package,” said Trinnaman, who is also considering a mobile market concept to expand her customer base.
Trinnaman praises the people who help her, and the ever-multiplying customers, who “get” the concept of her business.
“Their energy gives me energy,” she said, gratefully.