When she was in college, Mackenzie Barth started a publication about food. We got to sit down and talk with her about how a simple campus club spiraled into a national network for college-aged food lovers, and what it’s like running that community full-time.
What is Spoon University and why is it awesome?
Mackenzie Barth: Spoon University is a community of passionate people that create things together, like content, videos, events, and even food itself. It’s awesome because it’s powered by a group of smart, enthusiastic college students who put in hard work because they love to share their thoughts with the world and inspire other people.
What about Spoon University do you think made it such a hit with college students and young people? Any speculation as to why there has never been something like Spoon University before?
MB: I think it’s resonated with this audience because food has become such an important aspect of people’s lives recently and there has been no outlet for it for this demographic. With the surge of technology and social media, people now have a lot more access to information about food, so it’s become a hot topic for young people in a way that it hadn’t before. Traditional food media companies have content that appeals to moms and an older generation and haven’t been able to keep up with college students and young people suddenly caring about food. We were able to create a space that allows for the conversation to develop naturally, from within the community. It’s a bottoms-up approach instead of top-down, which I think our generation prefers anyway.
Spoon University has been growing and expanding so much over the past couple years. What advice do you have for other women who want to grow and fund a project they’re passionate about?
MB: I would encourage anyone that’s passionate about an idea to try it out while you’re young and don’t have as much to risk. The older you get and the more responsibility you have, the harder and harder it becomes to take that leap of faith into your own project. Even if you’re experimenting on the side of a full time job, start now.
What are your hopes for your future and the future of Spoon University?
MB: I love how Spoon brings people together through a common love for food, so my hope is that we can continue to do that for more college students across the country, and eventually for people outside of college too, in the post-grad real world and maybe someday even in high schools.
What has been one of your biggest challenges since starting Spoon University, and how did you overcome it?
MB: One of the biggest challenges for Spoon, and I think any new company really, is finding the right people to join the team. You have to find equally motivated, passionate, competent people that share your vision for the company and are ready to dive right in to get to work. It’s a constant work in progress, but I’m really proud of the amazing team that we’ve built so far.
What’s a weird food combination that you swear by?
MB: Pretzels and cream cheese.
Do you have any advice for young girls interested in online publishing?
MB: To get as much real-world experience as you can while you’re young. Start a blog, freelance for some websites, or join Spoon!
How can people get involved with Spoon University?
All photos courtesy of Mackenzie Barth.