Episode 04 heads to Chicago (Da Bears) to talk with Flaming Joe’s Joe Leicht and wife, Robin. This enterprising couple talk about what motivated them to get into the business, what they’ve learned about the hot sauce business, and most importantly, the flaming headdress.
Some of the interview highlights include:
On selling his sauce
When asked how he first started selling his sauces, Joe Leicht says, “Just through friends.. I take a train downtown everyday and there’s…we call them the train friends. It’s kind of weird, but you spend everyday, at least an hour each day, with these people, and through them they’re like a great support group. They’d share it with friends and they’d come in with the orders…and people would say “I need another couple of bottles… almost a groundswell. I still don’t really know the best part of how to sell stuff…I can make a great sauce, but I’m out of my element in the selling part.”
On wearing the flaming headdress
“It (the flaming headdress) has become the alter ego. It’s the whole putting on a super hero costume kind of thing. I become a different person. After the first show, I think I said to CaJohn… “I’m going to have to wear this from now on aren’t I?” He kind of laughed and said “Yep”.”
“People look at me and…I’ve got a flaming head…(they think) it’s got to be the hottest stuff, I don’t want any!…It’s marketing and it gets me
attention, but they think it’s going to be super hot and my products are not like that…hot is easy to do, flavor is not.”
On lessons learned
“..Each step of the way is a new experience. Right away, I learned labels. I thought big, number one, in the beginning, “Oh this is going to sell because everybody loves it. Well, we went out to the Fiery Foods show and now you’re up against 200 booths of product. And yes you have a great product and all your friends like it, but now you’re selling against the world…”
“If you really want to turn product, and you’re in this for the money, get a product that’s used up quicker.”
Update: Since recording this interview, Joe and Robin learned they won 5 Scovie Awards! The Scovies are like the Academy Awards for hot sauce. You can see their list of winning Scovies here.
Links from the show:
Brian Meagher’s blog: HotSauceDaily
Randy Combs on Twitter: ChileRockin
Marilyn Meagher on Twitter: ocmdgirlme
Don’t forget: Flaming Joes offers a flat rate $6 shipping charge. This is a great bargain!