Centerville High School friends Makenzie Marzluff and Jack Martin never talked business when they played together in the high school orchestra – she played violin and he, cello. In fact, the 2006 graduates ended up going their separate ways– Marzluff to Arizona to attend college closer to her parents and Martin to Ohio University in Athens.
That was until a unique business venture of Marzluff’s brought them together again last year — marketing and selling dessert hummus, a product Marzluff created herself.
“I was born and raised in Dayton,” Martin said. “I graduated from OU with a degree in communications and shortly after graduation I found myself working as a technical recruiter in New York City.”
Marzluff said she had always thought about owning a business. “I was thinking about owning a restaurant or a hair salon,” she said. “But when I was in high school, that option wasn’t really given to me. I just was supposed to go to college and get a stable job.”
She moved to Phoenix and graduated with a degree in nutrition and was encouraged by family and friends to become a doctor.
“I wanted to own my own business and I wanted to see another culture,” Marzluff said. “So I moved to Australia in 2010 and opened a nutrition and Pilate’s center and just learned as I went.”
In 2012, Marzluff sold her business and moved back to Phoenix. She became involved with an organization called “Seed Spot,” which supports budding entrepreneurs and offers education and training.
After some soul searching and a retreat in Sedona, Marzluff said she discovered a purpose for her life. “I launched ‘Delighted by Hummus’ in the spring of 2015,” she said. “It was my fourth entrepreneurial venture.”
Marzluff had been making dessert hummus for friends for some time. They frequently asked for this unique twist on the traditional chickpea dip, (usually made with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic), made with sweeter ingredients like coconut sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate.
“I was in the kitchen, and I suddenly knew what my purpose was,” Marzluff said. “My hobby was to make food and making my hummus for everyone was going to be how I was going to spread my light or my ‘glitter.’”
Marzluff quit her job the next day and launched into the business full time, saying it all made “so much sense. Within a month, we were up and running full time and selling our product at the farmers market in Phoenix.”
Meanwhile, Martin was working on Madison Avenue. “The work was more aggressive than anything I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “My office felt like a trading floor but the environment taught me some amazing business skills.”
Martin decided to learn about computer programming and was a natural. “I dove into the open source community,” he said. “Learning Python, Django, data science and automation engineering with an aggressive business focus.”
With those skills under his belt, Martin found his friend Marzluff on the social media site, Linkedin and said he knew he’d be able to help her right away. “I sent her a message and she agreed that it could be a great match,” he said.
Hearing from her old friend again after so many years was a surprise, and “so random,” but Marzluff said it seemed his skills would be a great asset to her business. “Jack’s really good at what he does,” she said. “So I asked him to come into the business with me.”
Martin’s role in the company is technology and growth while Marzluff remains at the helm and is the creative focus for the business.
Devoted to making a quality product with all natural ingredients, Marzluff said the mission behind the company is to “spread glitter” or light, wherever they go and to inspire others to do the same. The company’s dessert hummus, available in four flavors, is currently sold through national supermarket chain Wegman’s with more retail expansion to come over the next several months.
“It’s been a process figuring out how we could seal the product and maintain integrity without adding preservatives,” Marzluff said. “I wasn’t willing to compromise on ingredients. Our product fits into clean eating perfectly.”
Martin will continue to work closely with Marzluff as the company expands into single serve and snack packs to attract moms with young kids.
“My role is technology and growth,” Martin said. “By using many custom software tools and some awesome hummus, we are easily able to grab Google rankings, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Instagram followers and most importantly, a tremendous network of supportive and health conscious individuals that love dessert hummus.”
For more information about this product: www.Delightedbyhummus.com