Who are the Popcorn Queens?
We’re April and Bonnie Wardlaw, a mother-daughter team from the Washington, DC area that handcrafts our caramel popcorn with the finest ingredients and lots of love.
Popcorn Queens have been in business for just over a year, though our story begins well over a decade ago when Bonnie was a vice-president in a local insurance company. The holidays were approaching and she was looking for a gift for her staff. She decided to create a gift basket that included a video store gift card (yes videos) and handmade caramel popcorn for a personal touch. Well her staff loved it, so she made an extra batch of popcorn for her family who also loved it.
This repeated for a few years and then I (April) was hired to work at my Mom’s company. When the holidays rolled around, I witnessed first hand how much everyone in her office went crazy for her popcorn. I told her way back then, that she should sell it but my Mom’s entrepreneurial spirit hadn’t kicked in. Yet.
It wasn’t until just a few years ago, when MY entrepreneurial journey started that my Mom realized that maybe I’d been on to something all those years ago. I’d spent my twenties getting my masters and starting my teaching career. I’d always been a lover of food but it wasn’t until I started working that I came to love cooking. I would find refuge from the classroom in front of the stove. This lead to a cooking blog where I would share my life in the kitchen with the masses. Before I knew it, people were offering me money to cook for them so I thought the next natural step was to start a catering company.
I was invigorated and inspired to begin to do what I loved but I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t do it alone and because my Mom was the one that taught me so much about cooking, I asked her to join me. To this day I have no idea why but she was open to my venture so we named the company A&B Culinary Delights (A&B standing for April & Bonnie). I thought we were headed toward a prosperous future as caterers until that fateful night when Mom added her caramel popcorn to a cocktail party menu we were working on. Our client loved the idea of incorporating the popcorn and the rest, as they say, is history!
After this party I got more inquires about the popcorn then I did the food. We even got a rather large order on the spot so the next thing we knew we were figuring out pricing and packaging for the popcorn. Then we had a ball creating our line of flavors that now includes 9 different varieties of caramel popcorn. In September 2013, we let the catering company go, launched Popcorn Queens and have been busy making caramel popcorn ever since.
We get asked a lot what it’s like to be mother and daughter working together. Usually I say it has it’s moments but clearly it was love for and belief in one another, as well as our product, that got us here and THAT’s what keeps us going.