So, today, I thought I would do a follow up to my applesauce article. I figured that since I got the ball rolling with a”tasting” of what it was like to work for myself and, more specifically in the food business, that now I’d elaborate a little on some of the different aspects of the biz that I enjoyed. These are going to be parts of the business that match well with my character on different levels. Things like working the food tastings, cooking, working with the creative people that developed our logo, etc.. Just for kicks and, because it’s one of those parts I liked the most and therefore th area where I have some of the most important memories, was doing what we called the”food tastings”.
Fundamentally, this would involve me having to begin by visiting with other companies that I thought could be compatible with ours, such as gourmet shops or gift basket companies, and approaching the owners with the idea of them carrying our product line in their establishment. Now, this may seem like an easy thing to do, but, bear in mind that 1) they’ve never heard of me or my business, and 2) they risk their reputation if a product they bring in turns out to be a bad reflection on them. I mean, what if I had some dumb, lame flavor combination like sardine and marshmallow applesauce?
Sure, they might work in a niche market (a VERY niche market), but, when you get down and dirty they just are not that appealing. So, generally, here is how I would approach them. I would bring in some samples for them to taste. This is good. This gives them something tangible with which to operate. To begin with, they can feel and examine the jars. Are they something unique and attractive or another sort of”mason” jar with a different homemade label shot off of an inkjet printer using a logo that your came up with on napkin at Pizza Hut? Is the logo fresh and different, eye catching and draw the attention of the customer by standing out? Go into any local orchard or gift basket shop and look around at how similar many of the goods are on the shelves.
The whole”made at home next to grandpa’s still” look is really getting worn and tired and business owners want and gladly welcome items that are”new”,”unique” and”new” rather than only in the products name. Bear in mind, in our case, we targeted gourmet and gift basket lines and therefore there was a real need to justify price and their final markup. Big deal! My grandma (or mother or uncle or fill-in-the-blank) makes GREAT applesauce. Why should I pay $xx for something I get for free or cheap?” That’s one reason you don’t find a plain applesauce in our lineup. Who would like to compare with nana? So we knew we needed a different angle and devised flavor combinations. Once we convinced the owner we had something new/unique we let them taste the product to judge as to whether they liked the quality, feel and taste.
IF we got this much we then brought up the concept of doing a tasting for their clients. This accomplished a few things. It helped draw customers from the door. There is nothing like the smell of fresh cooked applesauce to get people interested. Second, it gave customers the chance to sample something new and possibly even book (come on now, Pineapple/Banana?) . Third, customers got the opportunity to speak and interact with the products creator/owner. This worked marvels and took some of the mystique out of the new addition to the shops line. Complete with tales of some GREAT customer interactions.