Journey From the Kitchen
Way back in 2003 at age 55, I had some health issues when the Low Carb and Atkins Diets were the craze. I decided it was time to shed some pounds and would give the low carb diet a try. Although the diet was going well, like everyone on this type of diet, I needed a low carb snack that was, crunchy, salty but most of all delicious enough to keep me from cheating.
My wife found a recipe that she thought would fit the bill about making a "cheese cracker" by frying up some parmesan cheese until it gets good and crispy. After much trial and error and more than a few burnt batches, they finally came out great; not burnt and not chewy. By making healthy changes in the recipe and with the help of my family we found what we like to call the sweet spot. It just worked.
Like many other food entrepreneurs, our friends were the testing ground. After a trip to our local health food store and because my wife was did what she did best, she started up a conversation, with someone that happened to be the owner, about these great low carb cheese crackers my husband makes. She wanted some for her store because there was nothing like it on the market. A cello bag and a label on our computer and the first incarnation what we called the No-Carb Kitchen was born. After great sales in local shops and on the low carb internet stores, we grew out of our kitchen and decided it was time to find a bakery that could handle our growing volume.
It was after the death of Dr. Atkins, when the Low Carb Diet faded off and so with it, our business. We knew that we had something that was incredibly unique as well as a true gourmet item that just happened to be wheat and gluten free. To move forward, we needed a re-boot and in order not be pigeon holed again, we rebranded and became Kitchen Table Bakers a gourmet product with healthy lifestyle benefits. Getting started again, we had little money and developed our own guerilla marketing campaign. We knew if someone would try our product they would buy it. We made a lot of samples and walked the trade shows and the gourmet stores and handed them out to distributor. After a very short time, we had an order for a pallet from a distributor.
The distributor was in Atlanta and we had no budget for travel so we used the tools we had, email, internet, phones and most of all, samples. We also sent some of the reviews that we had from our low carb customers that sounded gourmet. [many phone calls and meetings we accomplished what we needed to]. Even today, we meet most of our retail customers and distributors in person at the trade shows we attend. [It gets to be very costly to travel around the country for presentations and can get just as much accomplished with sending samples, emails and phone calls]. At the beginning [time] we rode [struck at] the low carb boom promoting our product as the only low carb cracker that did not taste like cardboard, and that was a huge incentive for the mostly on line distributor and the low carb stores to carry [and promote] our product. We were always a gourmet product, but now promoted the fact that we were made entirely of high quality Parmesan cheese and belonged in the cheese or specialty departments. We also highlighted that we were Wheat, Gluten and sugar free in order to keep our old customer, but not get pigeon hold as a potential fad item again. Most of all we gave our customers samples to give to their consumers when appropriate. [Our Parmesan Crisps are made of 100% cheese unlike other low carb snack foods that were made with less appealing low carb flour or gluten free flours].
Mind you, we didn't even know what a pallet was! We had a gourmet product with healthy lifestyle benefits and the stores and their customers took to it right away.
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