An Interview with our Founder, Makenzie Marzluff
Where were you born?
I was born and raised in Dayton, OH on June 15, 1988.
Where do you reside now?
Maui, HI....for which my nervous system thanks me daily :)
How did you come up with the idea for this product? What were your inspirations?
I initially thought of the idea when wanting to make a healthy cookie-dough dip for a Super Bowl party in 2014.
I thought to put chickpeas in the blender along with other ‘upgraded’ sweet ingredients, and voila…dessert hummus was born!
I brought it to the party and everyone truly thought it was cookie dough.
I made it for fun for a year and half, until finally I wondered why no one had launched sweet hummus to the market. Being the curious entrepreneur that I am, I set out to find out why and along the way became the first dessert hummus to national shelves.
When did you decide it was time to go on Shark Tank and try to take your product to a retail level?
To be on Shark Tank was a dream of mine since I was younger, as I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
Within just two months of being in Arizona farmers’ markets (2015), I was already slammed in the kitchen and genuinely needed support, and capital.
I decided to submit an application on Shark Tank’s website, and within 24 hours I heard back from their team with a request to submit a video.
Delighted By was too early-stage to make it through the finals that year (with a few thousand dollars in sales). I applied again in 2016 with $74K in sales, again to be cut towards the end. In 2017, I didn’t want to apply again, however ABC called me to check in on the business. I had $1 million in sales by then, so after a lot of paperwork, casting rounds, pitch practice & preparation, I walked onto the Shark Tank set in June 2017 to present DBH to the sharks.
What is something most people don't know about your journey with Delighted By Hummus?
I started the company on my credit cards...and I lived out of a van for four months trying to get my product into stores. My bed? A long cooler full of dessert hummus, compliments of Costco.
What is your background? What led you to wanting to become an entrepreneur?
When I was young I would watch hours of The Food Network and dream about having my own restaurant or business. My entrepreneurial spirit was naturally there from a young age, as well as my interest in food & health.
While I formally studied nutrition, I always wanted to work for ‘myself.’ In 2010 I moved to Australia and started a nutrition consulting practice, which gave me a lot of on-the-court beginner’s practice to ‘entrepreneurship.’ I opened a Pilates studio in Sydney in 2012, which was really successful. After selling the business I moved back to Arizona (Scottsdale) and applied to be in a business incubator called SEEDSPOT. I graduated in their 2nd cohort for a business venture that never actually came to fruition- however this part of my entrepreneurial journey was key for me to learn what works, what doesn’t, and how I wanted to exist in the world as an entrepreneur much differently than what you learn in traditional business schools. Traditional business plans & financial projections never resonated with me, because I am a dreamer & a visionary. I don’t want to be limited, and I need to believe in miracles in order to experience my dreams coming to life. Delighted By Hummus is the embodiment of this. I’ve never written a business plan for DBH; I’ve raised $1mm in capital from conscious investors who believe in the bigger mission; we nearly tripled our growth in 2018, and expect to do it again in 2019. We now have a full-time virtual team of 9 incredible women, and I am more inspired than ever by what we are doing together.
What are some of your biggest successes with the product line? Do you have any new products in the works?
Some of our biggest successes include accounts such as Target, Publix, Costco and Whole Foods. We are in over 5000 doors and expect to grow this year tremendously in the natural channel, as well as in airports, campuses & convenience stores. We want to provide a healthy, delightful snacking/dessert option to people on the go.
We recently launched our Red Velvet Hummus, which is my favorite to date.
In the Spring we are launching a Key Lime Pie flavor, and later this year will launch our DB Love-Bites...mini heart-shaped, low-sugar, Gluten Free and Vegan ‘dippers’ that can be used with our dessert hummus.
I have more in the works, including a Podcast called ‘Delighted By Life & Business’ where we will interview inspiring founders of America’s favorite brands; my book ‘Spread Your Glitter,’ and our Delightful Living Line- lifestyle products that will bring the energy of delight, intention & connection into the homes of thousands.
What advice for others who want to own their own business?
Trust your inner guidance. Follow your heart. Be Bold. Follow your fear. Take the jump. Break the rules. Believe in miracles. Spread your glitter. Do only what you’re delighted by, in life and in business.
Why do you think your product line has been so successful?
I believe my product has been successful because:
- The product is unique. Being the first to market, while it does have its challenges, certainly has its advantages - people pay attention, including the press. #blessed
- The way I lead Delighted By as an organization. I have trusted my guidance & intuition every step of the way, allowing my bigger mission to fuel me. I have taken risk after risk, and really haven’t taken no for an answer. I have always known that Delighted By would be successful. Even when I had doubts & many moments of fear, I allowed my underlying belief to give me the courage to keep going. I believe that the love we’ve poured into this product & organization is felt, and therefore magnetizes aligned sales and support.
- My incredible support system. Both visible & invisible angels have supported me since Day 1. A special thanks to my investors, mentors, family and friends for believing in me from the beginning- and also my incredible DB team. I have definitely not done this alone.
What is the mission of Delighted By and what inspired that misson?
Read answer here.