Local Business

Success is in the bag for popcorn maker

  • Bags to go: only a portion of a day’s work for Wanneeka Saunders of Glam Pop (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
  • Professional look: Wanneeka Saunders with the machine she normally uses to pop and bag her popcorn. She’s hoping to have it fixed soon (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
  • Keeping busy: Wanneeka Saunders bagging up popcorn by hand (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

When Wanneeka Saunders first started making popcorn for her mother and her mother’s workmates, she was making ten bags a week on average.

It was a way to make a few extra dollars while she worked as a full time customer service representative for BTC.

“When I was made redundant, I thought I might as well put this money to use and do something with it,” she said.

Today, Glam Pop has grown into a successful, full-time enterprise.

At a minimum, Ms Saunders now turns out 700 bags a day for grocery stores, gas stations and other outlets across the island.

“I didn’t think it would get so big,” the Sandys resident said.

She started off popping on her stove in her kitchen, but when demand started to rise she knew she had to up her game.

“That is when I looked online for different poppers, and then I looked for one you could use with your own bag,” she said.

She walled off a section of her house to dedicate to popcorn making, and put a popping and bagging machine in there.

She admitted that while the business is called Glam Pop, there’s nothing glamorous about the popcorn-making process itself.

“It’s hard work,” Ms Saunders said.

She starts popping at 5.30am and usually finishes in late afternoon. The kitchen is hot when the popcorn is popping, and every surface gets coated with popcorn yeast. She has to wear a surgical mask to prevent herself from breathing it in all the time.

“It’s not fun,” she said.

But she loves how appreciative some customers can be.

This Christmas she had the flu and couldn’t pop. Social media lit up with people demanding to know where Glam Pop was. When they found out she was sick, many people sent well wishes and encouragement.

She has a waiting list of companies that would like to sell Glam Pop.

“I can’t really take on anyone else,” Ms Saunders said. “I never expected it to do so well.”

One of her challenges is equipment. Right now her popping machine is down so she’s forced to bag and zip by hand.

“I have an uncle who is an engineer who fixes the machine for me,” she said. “But when it went down before the holiday, he was actually overseas. If he can’t come on a weekend he won’t get here, because he works crazy hours as well. I am hoping he will come this weekend to fix it. I was speaking to people overseas. They were trying to help me fix it but it just wasn’t working.”

Eventually she’d like to invest in better equipment, and maybe hire some staff, and finally be able to take on more clients.

“I don’t think the business is quite there yet,” she said. “Once it is there, I will definitely take on staff.”

She offers three flavours of popcorn, sea salt, yeast and yeast sugar, but would like to offer two more flavours as well.

“But to do that I need to take two days off from popping,” she said. “I will have to get some taste testers together to make sure it is perfect before I start selling it.”

These days she doesn’t eat much popcorn herself.

“I am actually a little turned off by it, now,” she said. “I will eat it once in a while when I really want some. I had half of a big bag the other night.”

And she said she really hasn’t been impacted by the sugar tax, despite offering a yeast sugar flavour.

Glam Pop is a lot of work, but she said she’s proud of it.

“I didn’t expect it to be where it is,” she said.

For more information see Glam Pop on Facebook under @glampopbda, call 332-1132 or e-mail glampop79@gmail.com