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.
For updates and store locations, please sign up here or check back on the website at hanleysfoods.com/sensation.
Here’s to finally bottling Sensation salad dressing, cheers!