Planning to set a world record, Matt Sostrom, a Desert Mountain High School senior, knows how to “break the ice.”
The 17-year-old Scottsdale resident, who lives with his parents and younger brother Sam, owns Kahau Kones, which is a shaved ice business he founded in 2018.
He plans to create the “biggest shaved ice ever,” on Jan. 4, 2020 at the Scottsdale Pavilions for a Guinness World Record.
“I’ve learned through all my marketing classes that promotion is key. To better promote my business, I and several other people are planning to break the Guinness World Record for the biggest shaved ice. The current record is 3,426 pounds, and our goal is to make it over 5,000 pounds. The event will be open to the public,” Mr. Sostrom said.
Siraya National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications (Chinese Taipei) in Yujing, Chinese Taipei set the world record on July 8, 2018. They divided and distributed the treat to those present.
Using real cane sugar and other ingredients, Mr. Sostrom enjoys concocting different flavors in front of customers as they order.
As the need arises, he hires staff to help at certain events and does a lot of work with Scottsdale Unified School District elementary schools, he said.
“My best experience is serving everyone, I love hanging with younger kids and giving them shaved ice,” said Mr. Sostrom, who functions under a company motto of “We sell joy through delicious shaved ice.”
In order to qualify for a Guinness World Record, participants register for an account, apply for a specific record to break and make the necessary payments.
There is no money received for record holders or contributions made from the Guinness World Record for achievements documented and verifying the performance in a specific skill or sport, according to published reports.
An official certificate of the achievement is awarded free of charge, however.
Kahau Kones is giving away tickets for the world record attempt on Facebook and Eventbrite. Although tickets are not required to attend the event, it guarantees shaved ice for attendees to receive after the event. Tickets are limited.
Mr. Sostrom offers a taste of what his pursuits have been like:
• Do you have time for hobbies, if so what are they?
My favorite hobby besides running the business is photography, particularly landscape photography
• What are your plans after high school?
I plan to pursue either aviation or business in college. A potential plan of mine is to take a gap year and completely focus on growing Kahau Kones to as big as it can, and then sell it and go on to something new.
• What gave you the idea of wanting to do a shaved ice business?
I wanted to get a job during the summer of 2018 (I turned 16 in February). I realized that I likely could not hold down a job because I was gone for most of the summer traveling. So, I decided to start a business to get some experience before I graduate from high school. During that summer, I slowly pieced together Kahau Kones, and I got my first gig in September 2018.
• What prompted you to want to break a world record for making the biggest shaved ice?
I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself and pursuing wild goals. Breaking a Guinness World Record is definitely a big goal! Also, I’m using it to market the business better because it is very easy to get a crowd at a potential record breaking event!
• Where did you get the idea of glowing/fluorescent shaved ice?
I started doing some night events and I wanted something unique, so I created the world’s first fluorescent shaved ice!
• How profitable is the business?
To date, the business has passed $10,000 in sales, the majority coming during the Fall 2019 semester. I have some ideas, combined with the Kahau Kones World Record Attempt, that should dramatically increase brand awareness during Spring 2020.
• Describe an average day/week for you?
During an average week, I go to school, hang out with friends, find different places to shoot pictures, and work on the business. Lately, this has entailed nailing out details on the Kahau Kones world record attempt, making sure that it’ll go as smoothly of an event as possible.
• What advice do you have for other youths interested in business pursuits?
Definitely try making a business while you’re young. I learned a lot so far: customer service, how to pitch my idea, but mainly how to fail with dignity. I received countless “no’s” before I got my first gig. I’d say it’s better to learn these skills while you’re young, so you’ll be ahead of everyone else when you’re older