Meet the Manly Can
Manly Cans is a family-based business specializing in the gifting world. While running another gifting business for eight years in Springfield, MO Jeni Huelskamp consistently heard customers say that they wished there were more gifting options for the men in their lives.
So, she got to thinking. Thinking led to excitement, and that excitement led to Manly Cans. She scoured high and low to find the coolest cans. She interviewed men to learn more about what they would want in a gift can. And she sought out local vendors for the products she needed.
You might be thinking “There are a million ‘gift basket’ type companies already on the scene. And that’s true. But Manly Cans is set apart because they’re one of the only gift companies that lets customers pick exactly what is added to their packages. After choosing a pre-loaded can customers can customize it – adding additional products that they know their recipient will love.
Offering nationwide shipping, local hand delivery and a pickup location in Springfield, MO, Manly Cans’ mission is to spoil men with cool stuff they actually want in reusable packaging. The possibilities are endless!
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From the Founder
Tell us about the Manly Cans team. Who’s working on the business day-to-day?
Right now it is basically me full-time along with a few seasonal workers that I bring in for the larger orders and busy times. I have hired efactory member Frontier Media to manage social media and Google advertising for our national launch. I’ve also had a lot of help from another efactory member, Beyond Creative when we were rebranding and preparing to launch nationally.
Have you utilized local resources or organizations that serve small businesses?
Yes! I have been meeting with a mentor at the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) for 8 years and I’ve had two SCORE mentors over the years. It is invaluable to have that objective input and the resources they have access to. It’s important to get all the advice you can and ask for mentorship.
I have also had a tremendous amount of support and help from my bank, The Bank of Missouri. I had a different bank in the beginning of my first business and have since learned that a bank makes a huge difference in your business. Pick one wisely.
What has been your greatest success or proudest moment to date?
Honestly, it would be the ongoing amazing and positive responses we get when people learn about our company and products. It is always so encouraging, and they get so excited. You really know you are on to something when people react the way they do to and for us.
What’s on the horizon for Manly Cans in the next 18 months?
We will continue to work on our national launch as an ecommerce business. It is also important for us to continue to gain more awareness of our company locally. We fill a great need in gifting for men and offer same-day deliveries and pickups.
After all, when you need to send a gift to a guy when they are in the hospital or it’s their birthday, what can you do? We fill that need and do it well.
What is your advice for someone looking to start their own business?
It will cost more than you think or plan. Be prepared. Also, decide ahead of time what you want your reputation and character to be. Starting a business is hard and stressful, especially if there are financial pressures.
Be honest, be upfront, do the right thing and follow through. It’s not always easy, but you will sleep better at night.
What’s the best part about being a small business owner in Springfield, MO?
I have loved being able to use many local and Missouri-based products to fill our cans. Networking and getting to know other entrepreneurs has been a blast. They are all so creative and work so hard.