There’s no business like the food business, and Gaye Sandoz has been doing it for over 37 years. She is a chef by trade (and for Tony Chachere’s), took Cajun Injector on QVC, published her own cookbook, launched a kitchen product line, and kickstarted the first two food incubators in Louisiana (Edible Enterprises & LSU’s Food Incubator). If there’s anyone who knows how to get your food product on the shelf, it’s her. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet her and she has helped me get my salad dressing on the shelf in 30 days (your mileage may vary). Continue reading Gaye Sandoz, The Shelf Jeannie (The DOcast)
First of all, I would like to thank every-single person that showed up to the launch party. This is the first time I’ve every done anything like this and it means a lot that you came out.
Secondly, I want to thank two special women that has helped me make all of this possible. My wife, Kate, who has put up with me during all this madness of launching a food business and has been extremely supportive. I also want to thank Gaye Sandoz with Editable Enterprise (an incubator for food entrepreneurs.) She helped me develop the dressing so that it could be on store shelves and has been extremely resourceful.
You know, I never thought a bottle of dressing could have made it this far, this is pretty amazing and I’m having a lot of fun.
Guerrilla Marketing — Undressing for honks
Being that I’m bootstrapping this project, I needed to find a way to tell the town about this salad dressing. So, the day before the launch, I made huge 15′ banner that said:
“A local favorite, undressed. The best salad dressing this town has ever made. Honk if you want some.”
I then tied the banner to a catwalk/road above the interstate (I10 westbound, past College Drive [map]), during rush hour, and undressed — waving my shirt in the air. At 8am, that spot on the interstate is a 4-lane moving parking lot. I know this, because I use to work downtown Baton Rouge and I was stuck in it every morning.
Using a counter, I split tested my waving techniques to see which would get more honks. Waving my shirt in the air or twirling it above my head. Well, it turns out that twirling it gets more honks, 2 to 1.
Here’s the results:
- 118 honks
- A ton of waves
- 3 peopled yelled at me from their car
- 2 birds (the finger)
- 1 cop, made me take it down an hour later
- 1 article by 225 Magazine featuring the dressing (which lead to several orders)
Lessons learned: No one wants to hold a banner over the interstate and take off their clothes at 7 in the morning. For favors. Here’s a craigslist ad I put out to get some more recruits.
Here’s the banner:
The launch party
The launch party was more of a goal than the party. I picked this day a year ago and said: “This, is when it will be in stores.” Once I marked it in the calendar and made an impractical checklist, it went from nothing but a recipe on paper to having it bottled in a month. I even left my day-job (which I work with them as a contractor) two weeks before the launch so I could put all my time and energy into making it happen.
Ok, it was also a hell of a party. Even though we had our own corner in a wine bar, we walked around talking to other groups about the dressing and letting them try it.
- Hats off to the great people at Blend for let us have it there
- My wife’s grandmother for the beautiful painting for our event
- Alan and Celeste for tossing salad
- Our close friends to helping us setup and take down
- To Wendy Overton, for writing a wonderful blog post about starting up
- And the taxi driver who drove us through Taco Bell at 4am
Here’s a few photos from the launch party:
The dressing will be in stores soon.
I ran into a little road-bump last week and the dressing should be on shelves next Friday.
Here’s to finally bottling Sensation salad dressing, cheers!
I’m extremely excited to say that Hanley’s Sensation Salad Dressing is making its début 9/28/12, after two years perfecting a family recipe. Although, my family has been making the dressing for decades. It has become our “house” dressing at every occasion.
One day I was at the grocery store getting ingredients to make our dressing, when I walked past the salad dressing aisle and just stopped. A lightbulb went off. I asked myself, “why isn’t this in stores?” Sensation salad dressing is a classic in southern Louisiana — not only is it a delicious dressing, but the locals know it and love it. Then, I ran back home, made the dressing, and started planning.
Dressing in the making
I became obsessed with the dressing. Our family ate it at least three times a week, every week for over year. I tried different ingredients to make the perfect batch, and even had “salad parties” to taste test batches side-by-side. My daughter would sit on the counter and help taste test as we made the dressing. She liked it so much that she would walk around with a little cup and a spoon eating it like ice cream.
Every time I went to the grocery store, I would wander down the salad dressing aisle and question random people. I would ask “so, have you heard of Sensation salad dressing?”. The usual response was “yes, but can never find it!” At the same time I’m thinking, “not yet!”
Not only did I want to fill the void with the dressing in Louisiana, but I wanted to make an impact if possible. Using locally sourced ingredients and making it as natural as it could be.
Here are a few pictures of the process:
It’s more than just dressing
- It’s local. Bottled in Louisiana, Louisiana Certified, and made with hand-squeezed Louisiana lemons*.
- It’s real. Made of authentic ingredients you’ve heard of — no gums, preservatives, or additives.
- It’s good for business. 5% of proceeds go to Edible Enterprises, an incubator for food entrepreneurs.
- It’s good for the planet. The recyclable glass bottle is better for the planet (and the flavor) than plastic. We also donate to 1% for the Planet to support environmental causes.
- It’s low carb and gluten free.
- It’s pretty damn good!
Free coupon ( Promotion over )
Who doesn’t like free, right? All you need to do is comment on this blog post. Within your comment let me know if you’ve heard of Sensation salad dressing.
If you would like to pre-order a few bottles, or a case (retail only), click the link below. If you live in Baton Rouge, I’ll personally deliver it to your door.
I’m having a launch party at the end of the month and I’ll post details later next week.
UPDATE: The launch party is in full swing, here’s the details:
Also, be on the look out on 9/27/12 @ I10 around College during rush hour ( UPDATE )
I’m really excited about this, I hope you like it.