Donut Hole Connoisseur: Q&A with Sydney Brazil of The Hole Thing
With all of the donut shops scattered across central Arkansas, it's easy to get lost in the donut shuffle.
But what about donut holes? You're favorite little breakfast treat is now a hot commodity at Little Rock's first "donut holery," The Hole Thing, run by the very ambitious, very smart 16-year-old Sydney Brazil.
This week, we had a chance to catch up with the young entrepreneur about how her unique business got off the ground, how she chooses the colorful flavors, her biggest inspiration and favorite donut shop in town and a few more interesting tidbits.
Here is what she had to say:
Q: What piqued your interest in starting a cool business like The Hole Thing?
A: I never set out to start a business. It just felt like the right thing to do. I’m part of the Noble Impact program at my school, which teaches the intersection between entrepreneurship and public service. Of course, I had the fourth grade bracelet-making business and I attempted to baby-sit when I still needed a sitter, but owning my own business never appealed to me. Noble exposed me to so many successful people who not only made money following their passions, but also who were doing a public good. I knew that I wanted to do that, I just didn’t know how. I truly believe that teenagers run the world, we just need someone to push us towards our potential. Noble was that for me. Without the class and the people, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Q: What makes your business so unique?
A: Besides my age, I think the concept is totally original. When I originally started, I wanted to ‘give the power back to donut holes.' After working at Dunkin’ Donuts, I realized I had a lot of best practice to do because they served six different types of donut holes. That’s when The Hole Thing shifted. The question became why do you like donut holes? The answer for me was that they were cute and easy to eat on-the-go. Also, I was heartbroken to find out that not all people like donut holes. The CMO had an idea to make biscuit holes. Still a breakfast food, but not as sweet as a donut. After that, the ideas continued to grow and now we make holes for all types of occasions.
Q: How do you pick the different flavors on your menu?
A: There’s not really a system in place for how I pick the flavors. We just sorta go with our gut on stuff. I really like asking people, 'How do you hole?' which essentially means if you could have anything made into a hole, what would it be? I also like to take real foods or desserts that I like and try to go through the process of making it into a hole. It’s all an experiment.
Q: Who has been instrumental in helping you run your business?
A: 'To my parents…You are my biggest fans; I am yours too'- Alana Muller. I’m blessed with extremely supportive parents who have dove 100 percent into this with me. We spend a lot of time laughing together and I think that’s what counts. The CMO (Chief Mom Officer) and the CTT (Chief Taste Tester) are like my best friends in the kitchen. The cool thing is that they have kept me on a level playing field with them. We have mutual respect for one another and they allow me to express my opinions and speak my mind. Kenny, my little brother, is also a big part of The Hole Thing. We refer to him as ‘The Negotiator’ because he loves to make deals. Of course, this is only my in-house team. I like to think that anyone who has been involved with The Hole Thing is part of ‘The Hole Team’. I doesn’t matter if all you’ve done is read a Tweet, every little thing counts and without the support we wouldn’t be where we are. So shout out to all The Hole Team members-- we love you!
Q: You are an inspiration for our students who want to start their own business. Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit and what advice could you give to other students who are interested in starting a business?
A: I don’t know exactly where my entrepreneurial spirit came from, but I believe that we’re all entrepreneurs in our own right. Being an entrepreneur is about having a thirst for knowledge, it’s about wanting to solve problems in a creative way, it’s about late nights and early mornings, facing rejections and running off of coffee. Entrepreneurship is a state-of-mind. Remember to surround yourself with love. Because being an entrepreneur isn’t always glamorous. I know that I’ve laughed just as much as I’ve cried, it’s all about balance.
The best advice I could give to anyone is that you define your own success. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to share it! I want to hear your story. That has been the most rewarding part about owning a business: storytelling.
In the end, just do what you wanna do. You’ll never be happy until you’re doing what you love. And here are the million and one little sayings and quotes that I like to use when I’m stuck:
- 'TI = PI'
- 'Life goes on.'
- 'Everything is temporary.'
- 'Let go and let God.'
- 'Focus and follow through.'
- 'Actually, I can.'
Q: Where can people buy your delicious donut holes?
A: Right now, you can visit The Copper Grill located in downtown Little Rock on 3rd and Cumberland. Starting today (May 30), they will be serving our holes paired with their housemade ice cream almost every night. Right now, I am trying to cater to larger orders, centered around events and parties, but I’m always open to working with people. All you need to do is send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know what’s up!