Growing Pains & Gains: Making Progress on Fuegorita
Creating a consumer brand from the ground up has been one of the most challenging (and exciting) endeavors of my marketing career. Finally, the opportunity to practice what I preach, for the cobbler's children to get some shoes, and so on. No one said getting a food product to market was easy. Most of the food consultants we've met say it's at minimum a $300K endeavor to get onto store shelves. Even then, we'll be on the hook for the inventory until the time it crosses the scanner. It will take years, not months to get into market. We think the trouble is worth it...here's why.
First, and most importantly, Fuegorita is a good product. For those who like crushed red pepper but find it's never quite spicy enough, we've solved that problem! Our secret formula is the perfect blend of heat and flavor and can be used for cooking and on top of prepared foods. Furthermore, there's currently there is no branded dry pepper product in a sea of hot sauce brands. If you want crushed red pepper at a restaurant what brand do you call for? Answer: Fuegorita!
For all intents and purposes, Fuegorita is still at the starting line. It's only available online, but we have loyal customers and we're making solid progress across the board. In lieu of doing farmers markets, and to further connect this project to my marketing endeavors, we have decided to promote at technology events around LA and have been featured at Youngry, 805 Startups and a pop-up shop at West Elm in Santa Monica. We have also employed the services of UCM Innovative PR, the student run agency at my alma mater, University of Central Missouri.
This year we received our registered trademark, secured our bar codes and have updated our packaging accordingly. We invested in new inventory, solidified our supply chain relationships and have a solid handle on the volume of orders that will be required for us to grow into larger co-packing relationships. We now have prototype bottles for pizza restaurants and are enlisting them in store promotions and feedback on how best to merchandise at pizza shops and other restaurants. Finally, we will be introducing our second product before year's end, demonstrating to retailers that we're not a one-trick pony -- in fact, we have an entire product line planned to make the foods you love hotter.
All that's left now is distribution and marketing -- you know, the easy stuff! ;)