Late in December of 2008, we had our bottle and label ready to go. We began calling and emailing our friends to let them know we were open for business. We sold several dozen bottles in the first few days. We thought, “OK, that’s nice, but will they be back or can we move beyond our circle of friends?”
One close friend suggested we offer a free taste test at the local elementary school for the teachers. So we arranged with the principal to offer Teriyaki Chicken and Rice as a free sample to the teachers. We really only planned to generate some interest and then maybe later try and see if anyone was interested in purchasing.
After the first 20 minutes or so, we looked up from serving to notice someone had started a sign up list… WITH ORDERS! We walked out that day with 30 teachers and staff kindly ordering over 40 bottles!
Great! Wait, we only have 28 bottles left! So it was back to the bottle supplier to order more bottles. All in all, some had to briefly wait but we got all the orders filled and by the time the other bottles had arrived, we already had re-orders from the teachers.
During all this, we continued to field inquires and fill orders from friends and friends of friends. It was truly starting to go viral in a small local way.
It was around this time we truly (no pun intended) we got our first big break. It seems that my son played on a soccer team with another child whose dad just happened to work for a large chain of grocery stores. We really didn’t even know what he did for the store at the time. But we chatted about our family Teriyaki Sauce recipe and how we had decided to start selling it. He was interested.
It turns out he was a decision maker at the corporate level. So, we began talking and well, he wanted to test it out for himself. And that’s when it got really interesting.
But we’ll talk more about that in the next post.