The American dream is changing. Today, young professionals have shown a desire to put corporate jobs on ice to be their own boss of their passions.
At least that’s the dream that Brandon DeCurtins, chief operating officer of King of Pops CLT, the Charlotte ice pop brand, is currently living. DeCurtins left his life as a lawyer to sling fun-flavored treats-on-a-stick with a group of friends and family members on a daily basis.
“We want to make people happy and have a fun time doing it,” DeCurtins said. “It’s one of those businesses a few people started that were initially working with a Fortune 500 businesses.”
DeCurtins practiced law for about five years before he made the switch. While he enjoyed that time, he said he always questioned whether he was “doing the right thing.”
He wanted to wake up every morning and bring smiles to peoples’ faces.
“None of us were really enjoying our day-to-day businesses,” DeCurtins said. “We wanted to do something that there was a sense of happiness in what we were doing.”
And boy, does it make people happy.
King of Pops CLT has received a sizable social media following – the business that started in a kitchen in NoDa now has more than 1,600 Twitter followers, 2,498 Facebook followers and 5,738 Instagram followers. The clientele is “everybody under the sun,” which DeCurtins said has been a fun learning experience.
You won’t find run-of-the-mill strawberry, vanilla and chocolate pops in the King of Pops’ kitchen, however. DeCurtins and his team has dabbled in more than 300 flavors in the past three years. He sells about 10 flavors every week.
One added perk of King of Pops is its commitment to healthy options – or as healthy as one could reasonably expect. The fruit-based pops, for example, boast few ingredients that pack a powerful punch. (Don’t expect the doughnut-and-coffee-flavored pop to be too healthy.) Fruit pops typically range from 40 to 70 calories and 7 to 10 grams of sugar (including fruit sugars), according to DeCurtins, but it’s all uphill with cream-based pops.
Depending on how successful a flavor is and what fruit is in season, flavors can stick around anywhere from a day to a year – there’s no exact science.
But with all the experimentation, there are inevitably a number of flavor flops – a foray into the strawberry pink peppercorn territory, for example, did not end well. While it tasted “fairly decent” in liquid form, DeCurtins said indulgers would be treated to a mouthful of pepper when they bit into the concoction.
That recipe went straight into the trashcan.
But his top sellers are prime, ranging from chocolate sea salt to banana pudding, strawberries and cream and blackberry ginger lemonade. DeCurtins’ favorite is the hibiscus margarita. He says he and his staff get inspired by “pretty much anything,” but garner a lot of inspiration from cocktails in particular.
Right now, DeCurtins is looking into opening an ice pop retail store with a liquor license. He will bring a whole new meaning to happy hour – that strawberry margarita pop may soon become the real deal.
Does DeCurtins regret leaving his gig as an attorney behind? It’s not likely.
“Never in a million years did I think I’d be making (ice pops) for a living. I’m just so happy that the community accepted it.”
If you go
Uptown, you can indulge in a King of Pops creation every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday outside 2 Wells Fargo from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Where else? KoP offers a handy-dandy map at http://charlotte.kingofpops.net/find_us.
Protip: If you go on a windy day, make sure to grab some extra napkins. The pops are prone to some serious drippage that could rain on one’s business-attire parade.