Last year Judson Jennings was a recent University of Utah graduate, trying to figure out what to do after school. One day he was goofing around with silverware, when he came up with the idea of “Fork Guy,” bent spoons and forks in the shape of a human. He decided to do some market testing and created pieces to sell at local farmers markets and craft festivals. They sold so well he took them out of state at larger festivals and enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive response throughout the western United States. Judson now wholesales his pieces and is developing distribution channels, taking advantage of his field of study in business administration.
To supplement his bachelor’s degree, Judson attended the Northfront Pro Series sponsored by the Kaysville Small Business Development Center to help him with real-life business practices. Rather than corporate theory, the Pro Series focuses on business ownership and operation, which Judson said is invaluable to his startup. He also enjoys the regular one-on-one consultations provided through SBDC program, and finds them helpful in tailoring the business strategy for his company.
After the first year in business, Forked Up Arts has sold more than 4,000 art pieces to local, regional, national and international markets. Judson is excited about the growth of the company. In the company blog, he wrote, “What a great start to a company! One year ago we had barely gotten registered as a business. I was still in school and unemployed. We are selling to businesses now, and getting more and more product to people. We have a new slogan: ‘Welcome to something different.’ We are different, and are excited about offering new things to people all over the world.”
The Utah SBDC network is comprised of 11 regional centers hosted by Utah colleges and universities. The centers serve entrepreneurs and small businesses across the state. The centers are funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.