Local entrepreneur creates ready-to-drink 'Jel Shots', partners with Shark Tank investor
MYAKKA CITY - Ashley Zalkin is the Original Jel Shot Co.'s CFO.
“..which stands for Chief Fun Officer," Zalkin said.
She's had that title since it took her hours to make 400 jello shots for her 25th birthday.
“I'm like, 'Why cant I just go buy a prepackaged Jell-O shot? This is ridiculous!'" Zalkin said.
Since that night in 2015, she turned her dreams into reality with the Original Jel Shot Co. Zalkin, who says she comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, put together a business plan with her family and brought the idea to Shark Tank auditions.
“While we were waiting for our callback, Kevin Harrington - he was a shark on the first three seasons, lives in St. Pete," Zalkin said, "He reached out to us, and we ended up making a deal with a shark and his whole team."
Zalkin says it took her and her team four years to get licensing and to perfect the texture and flavor.
“Vegan, gluten free, and there’s no refrigeration needed, which is perfect for any boat and beach time in the Summer,” Zalkin said.
She says she worked three part-time jobs until the shots officially launched last May.
“The alcohol industry has a lot of rules and regulations, a lot of no’s," Zalkin said. "You get beat down a lot."
But she kept moving forward.
“Don’t let anyone stop you," Zalkin said. "This is my dream now, and I can’t imagine doing anything else."
The Original Jel Shots are sold here and at Brewster's Tavern, Evie's, Siesta Key Oyster Bar and , and Smokin' Joes. Zalkin says they’re releasing new flavors soon.