We had the good fortune of connecting with Afton Shelton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Afton, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Nicks Piks has been wildly successful from the start- and I attribute that to my complete and unwavering belief that we have the best pickles in the world!
I had been searching for my calling for some time, and when a friend Nick brought me some amazing pickles- I has that light bulb moment. I couldn’t get enough!
I decided right then and there- this was it! That day I bought the website name, secured the Instagram and Facebook, and started working on a concept. I am pretty sure I was up until about 4am that morning.
It took some time after that- but once I finally had the recipe and attempted my first batch of pickles- It has been 100% nonstop!
I never let a single thing leave our kitchen without my stamp of approval- which even has included me testing fresh ghost peppers, which was not my favorite day. I would never sell a jar that I wouldn’t devour personally, which shows!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Entrepreneur or, as I call it, a “Pickle-Preneur”.
Even while attending business school at UH (Go Coogs!) I knew I wasn’t destined to sit behind a desk. I have held some pretty awesome positions within the service industry, oil and gas, and more recently in the Beauty/Aesthetics industry. Having a solid foundation of experiences was a huge factor into making the leap into starting my own company. The decision was not easy at all- but I just kept trying to tell myself if it didn’t workout, whats the worst that could happen? There were (and still are) so many challenges! I had no idea what I was getting myself into, it really is so much work. Nicks Piks launched in April, and at that time I was making about 10 jars a time. Currently we try and produce about 60 jars 3 days a week just to keep up with demand. The biggest lesson I have learned (and still learning) is that you can’t do it all! I have been working hard to prioritize, and I am lucky enough to have two amazing women I work with!
The world needs to know about Nicks Piks! We have the best pickles in the world, and they are handcrafted by 3 women who care about every single cucumber, ingredient, jar, and even the lids! I always knew that any business or company I created was going to give back, which is why we donate a percentage of proceeds to dog rescue groups. Our logo is Kilo, who is one of our 3 rescue Bull Terriers. I have seen a lot of terrible things working with rescue groups, so I wanted her face all over everything! Our story is about a neon green haired girl making the best pickles and helping rescue dogs- oh, and also having a ton of fun doing it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I take eating out very seriously! I am a huge lover of fresh oysters.. so I love Brassiere 19, La Lucha, and Liberty Kitchen Oysterette! As far as casual spots I am an Aladdin’s Mederterranian fan, as well as Good Dog Houston, and Barnaby’s cafe. Those Houston staples like Ninfas on Navigation and The Breakfast Klub are essentials too! I love to take people riding bikes on the paths through the Bayou at night, which is such a cool experience! The Heights Merchantile Farmers Market is incredible as well.
Gabriel Medina & Annie Hoshiko of Click Virtual Food Hall have helped me with this venture from the beginning! I couldn’t answer this question without mentioning them!
My photographer is none other than Gary Griffin, who in my opinion, is the best food and beverage photographer in the world!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Nicks Piks wouldn’t be here without Nick- a close friend of ours who made some pickles in his spare time and brought them to us. I couldn’t get enough of them- and I knew we were onto something big, which is why I decided to name the company after him! My husband Eric is my #1 Fan and supporter too! Nicks Piks is basically a 3 woman show: Myself, my best friend Megan, and my brilliant assistant Lily, and we wouldn’t function without them! We also donate a percentage of proceeds to dog rescue groups, as we have THREE rescue Bull Terriers! Our logo features Kilo, who was our first Bullie & also our “Chief Barketing Officer”.