If you’ve ever been to the Western Fair Farmers’ Market, you probably know our first #FridayFeature. The Fritter Shop is the first stop that many people make each Saturday while perusing the produce and wares of local vendors. It’s the perfect amount of sugary warmth and Dutch tradition to carry patrons through the crowds, especially on colder winter mornings.
Kelvin van Rijn is one of the friendly faces you’ll see behind the counter and is the brains behind The Fritter Shop. Working in his parents’ bakery for the majority of his life, Kelvin realized the power of the fritter and wanted to put them on the map. He has grown the business through beautiful branding and clever marketing (which so happens to be his background with a diploma from Fanshawe College) but also with the hard work and Dutch tradition of The Fritter Shop’s signature recipe and unique flavours.
We asked Kelvin a few questions that we thought budding entrepreneurs or even fans of his fritters may want to know:
What does your business do?
The Fritter Shop is a speciality dessert shop that brings the sweet excitement of the Dutch New Year’s tradition of fritters to your everyday life. We put a fresh, new spin on what dessert can be.
What do you hope to achieve with your business? What does success look like to you?
I hope to scale this business to multiple locations throughout Ontario and maybe even Canada. People are getting tired of the same old cookies and brownies that Barbara always brings to the meetings or family get-togethers. Fritters are unlike many other desserts because they are the right amount of sweet and with so many flavours, we cater to almost everyone’s needs.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to start their own business?
Usually, I give the advice of ‘just start.’ Which is definitely powerful advice. But with how the business has been running lately I’ve learned an even more important message which is, you need to execute. As an entrepreneur, it is so easy to make yourself feel like you’re doing a lot of work by going to a bunch of meetings and making connections. These are absolutely important aspects of running a business but can often take up way too much of your time. I find the real entrepreneurs are just out there grinding and focusing on what will bring in more income for the business. My advice would be to go out there and make money. Work trade shows, farmer’s markets, bring in online sales, whatever it is that works for your business. But focus on bringing in that income because without it, entrepreneurship can be draining and you’ll easily be unmotivated. Find what you’re passionate about and find the ways that it can bring you income.
What company or invention do you wish was your idea?
I don’t even know the company name but you know those stick figure stickers on the back of cars showing how big your family is? That. Talk about brilliant. Those things take almost no thought, advertise for themselves on people’s cars, cost very little to ship due to their weight and size and probably cost less than 1 cent each to make. I can only imagine the amount of profit whoever invented those has made. Absolutely brilliant.
What’s a Fritter Shop must have?
This is a pretty simple answer. If you come to The Fritter Shop, you must have… A fritter! I don’t like telling people which flavour they should get because everyone has their own preference. That’s what I find so cool about what I’m doing, everyone has their favourite flavour and we aim to make each of those an option within a fritter. If you’ve absolutely never had a fritter I guess I would recommend the apple because that is how we started the business. But trust me, you can’t go wrong.