A year and half ago when I first sat down with Jay Ducote, he told me his story of how he got started in the blogging world and rose to be a prominent food blogger in the South. He also mentioned a barbecue sauce that he was working on. Well, he’s kept his word because a couple weeks ago he launched his magnificent Louisiana Barbecue Sauce to retail stores in Baton Rouge. Between managing a popular food blog, radio show, and launching a new product, he also competed on Food Networks Cutthroat Kitchen recently.
I had the pleasure to hangout with Jay at his stylish office in Baton Rouge to talk about his experiences launching his first retail product.
Be sure to get a pen and a pad, his story is jam-packed with ideas and tips to grow your business.
Interview with Jay Ducote
Sponsored by: Hanley’s Foods — Louisiana-inspired, natural, fresh foods. Enter “docast” at checkout for $4 off.
- The first episode with Jay
- The sparking moment of Jay D’s Louisiana barbecue sauce. (3:20)
- “It got to the point where I was so busy at my 9 to 5 job, doing Bite & Booze stuff, that I knew I couldn’t keep doing both.”
- “I wanted to do a Louisiana barbecue sauce, but it didn’t exist…and part of the challenge is that Louisiana isn’t known for barbecue.”
- “It’s an open market, I have a chance to define what Louisiana barbecue sauce is.” (Tweet this)
- Jay’s process of defining a Louisiana barbecue sauce. (11:15)
- “I call it now a gumbo of barbecue sauce styles, just throw em’ all in a pot, and that’s what Louisiana’s all about to some degree.”
- Jay’s reason for choosing a sauce over rub for his launch. (15:45)
- Focusing on one product vs. expanding a line. (17:55)
- “I see where it makes sense, to have visibility, get shelf space, to really get brand recognition, you hit people multiple times…I get that, but for me, I have a signature product. I’m telling you this is Louisiana barbecue sauce.”
- Going from a perfected recipe to manufacturing. (22:00)
- How Jay met his (and our!) co-packer, Panola Pepper. (36:10)
- Jay is doing a video series for Louisiana Culinary Trails.
- Working out all the moving parts of production. (40:10)
- Jay’s original bottle designs. (photo)
- Moving on from production to launching and sales. (44:00)
- “1) I wanted to give them the value of being the only places that have it right away, and 2) I didn’t want to start making sales calls until I had a bottle in my hand to sell.” (a mistake we at Hanley’s Foods have made)
- The worth of demos. (49:40)
- “The pushing and marketing and sales of this barbecue sauce will be done in ways other than in-store demos that I have the ability to do that most people don’t.”
- Jay’s advice on pitching bloggers. (64:15)
- “You pitching yourself is much more valuable than having a PR company do it.” (Tweet this)
- Jay’s booze sample’s shelf. (photo)
- “Keep it simple, give enough, make em’ want more, make the product the first thing they care about, and make it personal.”
- “If you’re a restaurant in Colorado Springs, I don’t need your press release.”
- “Don’t expect anything from anybody. If you email some blogger, send them your product and they never give you any coverage, let it go.”
- “If you think you’ve found a blog you like, look at their Facebook and Twitter account and make sure it matches and they have a decent amount of followers.”
- What’s a book, song, and quote that you love? (76:15)
- What’s next and where can people find you? (86:50)
- Watch out for Jay’s appearance on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, with Alton Brown! He appears in the 8th episode of Season 4, called Ho-Ley Pot. It aired on Sunday, August 10th, however Food Network should release it online sometime soon.
Play the interview
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