Mary Schulman Founder of Snikiddy

Entrepreneur Profile: Mary Schulman, founder of Snikiddy, LLC

A snapshot profile of Mary Schulman, Founder of Snikiddy, LLC.

What inspires you daily?

Having a child sure does change your perspective on things. I was always very aware but became increasingly concerned with childhood obesity and diabetes when I was pregnant with my first child. Childhood obesity and diabetes in America continues to rise at an alarming rate. I believed that the poor quality of foods kids were eating, especially snack foods that contained high fructose corn syrup, was a large part of the problem.

So in 2007, I decided to become part of the solution and partnered with my mom, Janet Owings, to create Snikiddy, a company that produces delicious, appealing snacks that promote good health.

This still inspires me today and we are always looking to create great-tasting snack foods that I can feel really good about feeding my own three children.  

What have been the critical factors on your road to success? 

  • Always creating products that taste great. I am a strong believer that if the product does not taste good there’s no point in making it.
  • Surrounding myself with an amazing team. I made my first big team decision hiring our CEO Colin Sankey. I had come from a background in financial sales, but did not have any natural food industry experiences. Colin brought that tremendous experience. Since then we have hired great operations and sales team members.
  • Maintaining a focus on what’s most important for the consumer. At the end of the day, that is who we serve. It’s easy to get wrapped up the supply chain and lose sight of what’s important for long-term brand success.
  • Making decisions from real insights vs. reacting to the ‘flavor of the day.’ We’ve had to be willing to change and adapt, but can’t make decisions based on what somebody heard from a partner yesterday.  

How has the natural products industry (i.e. peers, mentors, community) enabled your success?

The expansion and awareness of eating well in our society seems to have finally become “cool”. When I was a child and had round whole wheat circle bread with real peanut butter on it, it was not the norm. Today you would likely see a child with fresh squeezed veggie juice in their lunch. With the help of grocery stores like Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Wegmans and many others, healthier foods are more readily available. Consumers now demand that this food taste good too. It’s because of all of this (education, awareness, availability and demand) that Snikiddy is successful.  

What do you wish you'd known early on in your business?

It would have been really nice to understand all the challenges the grocery industry brings with it.  You can’t simply put a product on a shelf and expect the consumer to pick it up and buy it because the packaging is interesting. The consumer has to first be aware of the product, educated about the product, enticed to buy the product, taste the product, like the product and then want to buy it again.  All these steps must be completed to make for a successful product and brand.

What's on your iPod right now?

Everything from Radiohead and Arcade Fire to Taylor Swift.

How do you spend your free time?

I love to work out. I am currently very into jump roping. I also love to spend time with my family. We love our after-dinner family walks, hikes, and scooter rides. 

What's a guilty pleasure of yours?

Food... no surprise there. I love to try new restaurants. Not only for the food, but for great service and décor.    

What's a personal pet peeve? 

I can’t stand it when someone says they will do something and doesn’t follow through. Even so simple as "I’ll send you that recipe." I just sort of expect to get it the next day…

Give us an inside scoop on yourself

I still love to do cartwheels. It’s not like I was a gymnast as a child, but I could always do a good cartwheel and handstand and still enjoy it today. I practice with my girls often. 

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