The Journey from Kitchen
So what was the initial motivator that got the product out of the Kitchen? " I am the kind of gal that once I make a decision I move into action and jump in with both feet. I started reading books, asking questions and doing research to find out what I needed to do to manufacture my sauce. I even attended the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco where I walked the aisles talking to any and everyone who would talk to me about the industry. Now someone in their right mind may have been scared to take the risk but not me. Fear became my motivation. The fear of not pursuing my passion was greater than the fear not being successful." She also knew that the "little of this and a pinch of that method" was not going to work in a real a manufacturing facility.
On to the Shelf
I was curious about her Strategies and Tactics that worked in getting on the shelf and some tips on creating a Retail Trade shelf strategy.
As I mentioned before, my previous careers prepared me well. I learned the value of connecting with the people I do business with by immersing myself completely in the trade. It is not enough to have a good product. You have to build a brand by being in front of the buyer and consumer all the time."
Starting small and local is key to starting a small specialty food business and Robin did just that by calling on small gourmet and specialty markets in the Charleston area first and then and then branching out from there. She was capturing shelf space by catering to the local foods movement.
She established a strategy to position Slather Brand Foods locally, regionally, nationally, and then internationally. Local foods are hot: just look at chains like Whole Foods and Earthfare that are capturing market share by aggressively seeking out local products. So much so that the Whole Foods Local Producer Program helps local firms startup and grow through targeted loans. Check to see if you have retailers that have a local producer program or retailers focuses on the local foods movement
To raise awareness with specialty retailers she exhibited at the 2010 Summer Fancy Food Show. "That is where Slather Brand Foods really gained momentum and received validation how good our product really is. Not only did we get a lot of positive feedback on the product, our package design really caught the attention of the buyers."